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Queenstown Mayor says rumours droves of Aucklanders fleeing to tourist hot spot are 'overcooked'

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult says rumours of droves of Aucklanders fleeing to the Central Otago tourist hot spot seem to be "overcooked".

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Jim Boult told Breakfast that very few flights came into Queenstown on August 13. Source: Breakfast

Mr Boult told TVNZ 1's Breakfast that very few flights came into Queenstown yesterday, and they were all carrying far less than capacity.

He also said people coming to Queenstown were welcome - they'll spend money in the struggling economy.

However, he said Queenstown has continued to struggle since the Covid-19 first lockdown, and with many tourism operators only just changing their operations to "keep their nose above water" in the changed conditions, this week's level two restrictions as "an absolute kick in the guts".

Mr Boult said he's confident that people will come back to Queenstown, but also said that it will be a long time before tourism rebounds to the levels seen last year.

Talking about the coronavirus pandemic Mr Boult says: "I think the whole tourism industry will suffer very, very long term from this."

This afternoon the Government is set to announce whether there'll be a change to the current Covid-19 Alert Level 3 in Auckland and Level 2 across the rest of the country. As it stands they're due to end at midnight.