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Queenstown welcomes $60 million hotel opening amid economic downturn

A major hotel chain is taking a punt in Queenstown by opening a brand-new complex despite the uncertain environment.

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The opening is being seen as a sign of confidence in the tourism hotspot despite the economic uncertainty. Source: 1 NEWS

The $60 million Holiday Inn Express opened its 227 rooms for the first time today just as other hotels are closing theirs.

It is being seen as a sign of confidence in the tourist hotspot, which has seen a downturn because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are in it for the long-term game, and you know we needed to back ourselves, back the industry and back our community,” Jason Sabin, Holiday Inn Express general manager, said.

Despite all the uncertainty, demand is still high in Queenstown, with the hotel hiring 20 people in a town that’s been choked by unemployment.

That decision coming at the height of the first school holiday period after lockdown, with tens of thousands of Kiwis choosing Queenstown as a travel destination.

“I think it shows confidence in Queenstown and confidence in Queenstown's ability to recover from Covid, The industry will continue and we're going to find new ways to do things,” Richard Thomas of Destination Queenstown said.

Mr Sabin says bookings are looking positive amid the school holidays with “some nice long lead stuff” into the new year.