Towns prepare for 2013 Winter Games
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Queenstown and Wanaka should start preparing themselves for a spectacle like no other when the Winter Games hit the area in August 2013, organisers of the ever-growing event say.
Games chief executive Arthur Klap yesterday said hosting 1000 of the world's best skiers and snowboarders who would be battling for final spots in the Winter Olympics would only be a small part of the overall action.
"We are constantly building the Winter Games brand, and constantly improving its worldwide status, and the people of Queenstown and Wanaka, as hosts of the 2013 event, are vitally important to cementing our place as one of the world's premier winter sporting events," he said.
Organisers were working closely with Tourism New Zealand, Destination Queenstown and Lake Wanaka Tourism on a focused marketing push to attract spectators from Australia, Japan, Korea and China, but also had a very Kiwi focus in mind.
"We've got a series of meetings with Australian travel wholesalers coming up, and Asia is a huge focus, but we also want big numbers of recreational skiers and snowboarders from all around New Zealand to be here and add to the atmosphere as well.
"We're basically looking to fill every hotel, motel and backpackers, and every spare bed in Queenstown, Wanaka and the surrounding areas."
Big-name international corporate sponsors had contacted the Winter Games in regard to sponsorship possibilities, but those still had to be sorted through and finalised, Mr Klap said.
New Zealand television coverage would be handled by MediaWorks, who would run daily coverage on weekdays, plus slightly delayed live coverage on weekends.
ESPN Star would provide major coverage to Asian countries, and other international coverage deals were still to be hammered out.
Big screens set up in Wanaka and Queenstown downtown hubs would broadcast action live from the slopes, and night-time off-piste events would be par for the course throughout the two-week event.
"Opening and closing ceremonies will be held in Queenstown and Wanaka, and there will be entertainment every night.
"Basically, we're going to dress up the towns, and we want everyone to put their best forward for this huge event."
The Queenstown Lakes District Council has pledged to support the Winter Games, helping them reach a high standard. Mayor Vanessa van Uden was already chairwoman of the Winter Games Leverage and Legacy Committee, and communication was already under way with the council's incoming chief executive officer, Adam Feeley, Mr Klap said.
- © Fairfax NZ News