Not content with stealing gold in the women’s rugby sevens, New Zealand stands accused of robbing Australia of visitors during the Commonwealth Games.
Some Gold Coast operators expecting a tourism surge instead saw a 35 per cent drop in trade on the same time last year, while the price of some beachfront hotel rooms was slashed by hundreds of dollars in a bid for bookings.
Organisers have been accused of scaring locals and tourists away with a campaign warning of traffic chaos.
But others have pointed their finger across the pond – blaming Kiwis for a misaligned holiday calendar which may have robbed the event of thousands of extra visitors.
The New Zealand and New South Wales school holidays both started this weekend as the Games finished. Both are major tourist markets for the Gold Coast, delivering a combined 1.2 million visitors a year.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter said this year’s scheduling had “not been kind” to the region, pointing out that the Queensland, NSW and NZ school holidays all coincided last year.
He said the traditionally bumper Easter holidays had been slow, with tourists coming to the event choosing short stays.
While dismissing claims that parts of the Gold Coast had resembled a “ghost town”, Mr Winters said: “This Commonwealth Games has met all the expectations we had, and we set the bar very, very high.
“Notwithstanding that, it’s fair to say there have been some traders who haven’t had their expectations met.”
Mr Winter said hotel occupancy had picked up as the Games progressed, with hotel booking rising to 81 per cent and tourism officials reportedly “very pleased”.
“There was never going to be 100 per cent occupancy,” Mr Winter said, adding that the region’s average annual occupancy rate was 71.6 per cent.