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Tourism boom brings hotels back from brink

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/10/2016 Tina Morrison

New Zealand's booming tourism market is helping lift the fortunes of one of the country's most iconic hotels, the Chateau Tongariro on Mt Ruapehu, with the company that owns it expecting to produce a profit for the first time in five years, and bolster earnings further next year.

The Chateau in Tongariro National Park and the Wairakei Resort in Taupo are owned by global investment company Oriental Holdings, a publicly listed Malaysian company controlled by the Loh family.

The local business, KAH New Zealand, has posted losses the past four years, amounting to a total of $1.9m, according to accounts filed to the Companies Office.

However, that looks set to turn around this year on the back of an uplift in tourism, according to the financial controller for the two hotels, Jerome Dyer.

New Zealand tourism arrivals are at record levels, hitting 3.36 million in the year through August, and pushing national guest nights to their highest ever levels, boosting the accommodation sector.

Dyer said both properties had seen increases in the last 18 months as more free independent travellers, known as FITs, stayed at the Chateau, and Wairakei benefited from a huge increase in the number of Chinese tour groups over a longer period.

"We have struggled basically over the last four or five years ever since the GFC back in 2009 - our revenues haven't moved and costs have been increasing every year so it's sort of getting back to a state of where we needed to be to get the owners to reinvest into the property," Dyer said.

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