Accommodation in Queenstown

We know that Queenstown is a very popular tourist town. It’s beautiful in summer with Lake Wakatipu at the centre. It’s popular in winter with two mountains for skiers. Houses are built on steep hills on one side of the lake and there is no possibility of expansion. Most of the flat area near the airport and on the other side on the lake has reached capacity for housing.

However, the economy depends on tourism, and tourists needs accommodation, usually for a few nights at a time. There are many hotels and motels in Queenstown but they are expensive. The problem is there is very little cheap accommodation for workers in the tourist industry. Hotel workers, ski lift operators, tourist bus drivers do not earn big salaries. Where can they live? Many live in small towns like Cromwell which offer cheaper accommodation but a long commute to work each day. Cromwell is 60 km from Queenstown on a difficult, winding road which takes about 1 and a half hours one way.

Many owners of holiday houses in Queenstown have been renting their homes to Airbnb customers for a few days at a time, rather like a hotel. Now the council has said that people can only rent out their home for 28 days a year. However, people who live in Queenstown and have a spare room, are free to rent it out at any time while they continue to live in their house. The council hopes this will stop owners of holiday houses from renting to short-stay tourists and instead they will choose long-stay workers.

Some big cities around the world do not allow short-term rentals: New York city, Berlin and Barcelona are just three examples. However, Airbnb has become very popular since it started in 2008 when a couple in San Francisco put 2 airbeds in their house and offered cheap accommodation for people attending a conference. Now, 34,000 cities around the world allow Airbnb accommodation.

Vocabulary

• expansion (n) – from the verb to expand, to grow bigger
• capacity (n) – full, no more space
• commute (v) – someone who travels quite a long distance to work each day






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