The company behind a $50 million plan to build a gondola on the Remarkables has won plaudits from its main competitor.

Porter Group's proposed 10km gondola from the Remarkables Park Town Centre in Frankton to the Remarkables skifield's base building is ''ambitious'' and deserves to be congratulated, Skyline Enterprises chairman Mark Quickfall says.

That was despite the prospect of competition for the gondola it has operated above Queenstown's CBD for nearly 50 years.''

Competition is a reality, and if Skyline was afraid of it we wouldn't be in business.''
Queenstown was in competition with the rest of the world, and offering visitors more options was good for tourism in the area.

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But the consenting process would be a challenge, and success was not guaranteed, Quickfall said.

The gondola would start by the Porter Group's proposed conference centre and run across and along the Kawarau River before heading up to the ski area.

The company expects to lodge a consent application with the Queenstown Lakes District Council early next year.

Porter Group chairman Alastair Porter said the response since yesterday's announcement had been overwhelmingly positive, and he revealed more details of the plan.

The 9.8km long proposed gondola will be the longest in Australasia if consent is approved.
The 9.8km long proposed gondola will be the longest in Australasia if consent is approved.

The gondola's base station and the convention centre would be sited on a ''gondola events plaza'' that he expected to become the focus of hotel and retail development.

With hotel occupancy rates in central Queenstown running at more than 90 per cent , the new facilities would act as a ''catalyst'' for new hotels, and Porter Group was already in discussions with several operators.

The gondola would have a mid-station where visitors would have the option of getting off. Tourist activities would eventually be developed there, including a farm-visit operation.

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His staff had held ''good, constructive discussions'' about the plan with the Otago Regional Council, the Department of Conservation and Queenstown Lakes District Council in the past few days, Porter said.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden could not be reached for comment, while Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry said in a statement she could not talk about the proposal because Doc had yet to receive an application for a concession.
Doc statutory manager for Central Otago John Roberts said he had attended a briefing on the project with the developers this week.

John Porter, brother of Alastair, of Porter Group.
John Porter, brother of Alastair, of Porter Group.

He confirmed the gondola would require a Doc concession because it extended up into the Rastus Burn Recreation Reserve.

He did not have an opinion on the project's merits.

''We just have to let the process run,'' Roberts said.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the gondola could deliver significant benefits to the region.

The tourism industry was experiencing spectacular growth at the moment but there were constraints on how much growth the region could accommodate.

''We consider new investment a key part of the solution, so it's exciting to see some lateral thinking and new ideas being brought to the table.''

See the Gondola 'masterplan' here: