20 May 2016

Queenstown warned it could become like exclusive Aspen

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:14 pm on 20 May 2016

A delegation of Queenstown community leaders received a shocking warning of what their resort town could become.

Queenstown/Aspen

Queenstown/Aspen Photo: Wiki commons

The Chamber of Commerce delegation visited the Colorado ski resort of Aspen last month.

It's geographically similar to Queenstown, and both are suffering serious housing affordability issues, with those working in the service industries having to live further and further out of town.

Aspen has the largest billionaire count of any valley in the world and can resemble a ghost town as the mansions lie empty for 49 weeks of the year.  

The main industry in Aspen is not tourism but real estate and property development. Those in Aspen openly told the Queenstown delegation that this has killed the sense of community - and they are desperately trying to reverse the trend. 

Queenstown councillor and sustainability researcher Alexa Forbes is among those who made the trip.

She talks to Jesse Mulligan.