Seventeen million gondola rides, 12 million Luge experiences, 850,000 pints of beer, 350,000 rotisserie chickens, 65 tonnes of coffee beans – these staggering statistics have all been enjoyed by Skyline Queenstown’s millions of domestic and international visitors in the last 50 years.
New Zealand’s most-visited tourist attraction has released a fascinating collection of figures as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in November with ‘Fifty Years of Fun’ competitions and community-focused events.
Skyline Enterprises chairman Mark Quickfall says the 50-year milestone has sparked an interest in the company’s secrets to success – the pioneering tourism operator is now present in four countries; New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Canada, and more than 40 million Luge rides have been completed globally.
“Skyline Queenstown introduced New Zealand’s first gondola system in 1967 and the first gondola travelled up Bob’s Peak in November that year,” he says. “Since then, the company has grown exponentially and what began as a small but ambitious operation has now expanded into a multinational tourism company.”
Skyline Queenstown now employs 240 staff from 32 different countries and remains operational seven days a week, 365days a year. Its gondola has completed more than two million laps and its world-famous Luge now has a capacity of 940riders per hour.
Quickfall attributes Skyline’s success to its dedicated staff over the past 50 years and its commitment to new technology and innovation.
“Continual innovation is crucial – that’s why we are now investing in a new gondola and an upgraded restaurant, as well as being constantly on the lookout for new ideas and new technology. That’s how the business started back in the 1960s and those are still the core principles we operate on today,” he says.
Philanthropy is another core value of the company, which gives back more than $70,000 to the Queenstown community each year through a variety of projects ranging from wilding conifer control to sports sponsorship and funding bee hives at the local primary school.
Sustainability is also an important focus and Skyline Queenstown has received a Qualmark Enviro Gold Award after creating more than 30 initiatives targeted at making its facility a cleaner, greener and more socially cohesive place to work and visit.
Skyline Queenstown Sustainable Development Team chairman and food and beverage manager Pierre Poyet says: “We compacted 23 tonnes of cardboard last year which we sent to Oji Fibre Solutions for recycling. Our new food digester has also exceeded expectations by diverting 3.1 tonnes of food waste away from landfill in its first full month of utilisation.”
The timing of Skyline Queenstown’s 50th anniversary couldn’t be more poignant as it begins a significant $100 millionredevelopment, including a state-of-the-art 10-seat gondola and complex expansion.
“As we nod to the history of Skyline and its achievements over the last 50 years, we’re also looking forward to commencing our redevelopment project to ensure it remains New Zealand’s leading leisure facility for the next 50 years,” adds Quickfall.
Celebratory events include a Kids Go Free morning at Skyline’s top complex from 10am-12noon on November 11 –activities on the day include balloon-making, face painting and $6 Luge rides. There will also be $1 ice-creams available and all children travel up the gondola free of charge for the event.
Skyline Queenstown will also be hosting a special locals’ day on November 18, with 50% off all gondola and Luge rides for Queenstown residents who supply proof of address. Highlights of the day include a fantastic display of Skyline memorabilia and $1 birthday cake in the Market Kitchen.
To top off the celebrations, Skyline Queenstown will be offering 50% off the purchase of all Gondola Annual Pass cards for their birthday month of November – GAP cards entitle the holder to unlimited free gondola rides all year round, as well as exclusive discounts on all Skyline activities, products and restaurants.