Expiring work visas and a dearth of international tourists is taking its toll on gyms and fitness centres in Queenstown.
CrossFit Queenstown head coach Stephen Makuta said about 20 per cent of weekly participants in his classes on Gorge Rd used to be from out of town.
"Almost every day there would be two to three drop-ins and in a class of 12 to 14 that's a good percentage. Now it's probably one to five a week, if it is busy."
After lockdown, the gym took an initial hit to regular memberships because of job insecurity, but it returned to nearly full strength in October.
Now the gym is faced with a fresh problem, as the working holidays visa extension comes to an end and some members fly home.
"Our hospitality workers are also getting over-worked and aren't happy, so they are leaving — I had five go home last week," Makuta said.
For him, it is the lack of certainty that is the hardest part, as membership picks up one month and falls the next.
Makuta said CrossFit not only played a role in fitness but tried to foster a community atmosphere that had helped those struggling with their mental health during the pandemic.
"People will know when you're having a bad day because we talk and we've been for lot of coffees."
Queenstown Gym on Shotover St is also missing the tourism traffic but manager Rebecca Bond said New Zealanders were beginning to make up for that.
When Covid-19 struck, the centrally located gym not only lost out on visitors buying daily or weekly passes but also from regular members losing their jobs in the surrounding hotels.
"Our landlords have been absolutely fantastic and I have heard that hasn't been the case for everybody, which I find shocking," Bond said.
She said without that support she was not sure where the gym would be but expected things to improve in the summer months.
Elsewhere, Industrial Fitness has had fluctuating fortunes and manager Rob Horrocks wants to put a focus on connecting with the community.
"We have lost a third of our members and financially we have a hole to fill," he said.
The gym is teaming up with local businesses to offer staff taster sessions, building on the work they had previously done with NZSki's seasonal workers.
Horrocks said there was a clear appetite among those remaining in Queenstown to belong to something and that was why they were putting on things like boot camps and his martial arts classes were doing well.
"Before lockdown people would often joke they hate people, but in lockdown they realised that was rubbish and they craved going to have a chat," he said.
However, he said the stark reality was Queenstown was missing new migrant workers to replace those who had left.