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Routeburn tourism could suffer after storm closes tracks

The tourism industry near Queenstown could be facing financial strike after the Routeburn Track and others in the area closed due to a storm. 

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The Department of Conservation says it could be months until the damage is repaired. Source: 1 NEWS

The Milford and Routeburn tracks which see thousands of hikers every year closed last week.

It's peak tramping season in Fiordland, but transit buses to the tracks are sitting empty.

The company who runs the buses says it is facing a $250,000 drop in revenue this season.

The Department of Conservation says extensive damage means the tramp will be closed until at least the end of April.

David Gatward-Fergusson, Managing director of Info and Track said it was "fairly devastating.

"The Routeburn is by far and away the biggest part of our transfer business, it must be about 90 percent," he said.

Torrential rain caused slips and landslides in the area.

The accommodation industry is also facing season-long cancellations.

Kinloch Lodge owner Toni Glover said "it does mean we're getting a lot of cancellations.

"We're probably getting between sort of $2000-4000 worth of cancellations a day for forward bookings to the end of the walking season."

The Deparment of Conservation can't give any time lines on repair as they're still assessing the damage.

"Our decision is based around making sure people are safe - it was a huge weather event," Department of Conservation's Aaron Fleming said.