Wednesday 10 June 2009

Prime Minister to officially open the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

New Zealand Prime Minister the Rt Hon Mr. John Key will officially open the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival by lighting the Contact Energy festival flame at the opening ceremony on June 26.

The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival is a celebration of all things ‘winter’ which has evolved from small beginnings to earn iconic status as the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party.

Festival Director Sally Feinerman says she is thrilled that the Prime Minister will officially open the Festival as guest of honour.

“It’s a fantastic endorsement of the Festival and its value to the region. As both Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism it is only fitting that John Key be the one to get the party started. We hope that he enjoys his time here and can see first hand how we celebrate the town's unique culture and community.”

Thousands of people from around New Zealand and the world head to Queenstown for the annual Festival with the Tourism Research Institute putting the overall cash injection back into the economy at a massive $17.3 million.

The Festival gets underway in style on Friday 26 June at the free American Express Opening Party with a spectacular fireworks display, a performance by New Zealand’s most outstanding percussionists ‘Strike’, live music, mulled wine and plenty of laughs. MC for the evening is funny man Jeremy Corbett.

Festival Background

Since first being staged in 1975 by Queenstowner’s who thought the arrival of snow was a ‘great excuse for a party’, the Festival has evolved to forge a unique identity as New Zealand’s premier celebration of all things winter. Now an iconic event cemented on Queenstown’s calendar it attracts 60,000 attendees and generates a spend of almost $45 million from visitors outside the local area.

Winter Starts Here! From 26 June to 5 July the 2009 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates 35 years of winter fun and festivities with ten days of totally outrageous and uniquely Queenstown events.

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