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After a turbulent time, three Waitaki District Council companies are optimistic there will be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Tourism Waitaki, Whitestone Contracting and the Omarama Airfield Ltd presented their half year reports 2021-22 to councillors this week.

All three have been impacted in the past three years both by the pandemic and other market forces.

Tourism Waitaki chairman Mike McElhinney said there had been an increasing number of domestic tourists visiting Waitaki which had meant a good half-year result.

Earnings for the first half of the financial year before interest and tax were $82,029, which included funding from both the council and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

General manager Margaret Munro said in her overview the Auckland lockdown had a noticeable impact on tourism spending in the district but that had recovered at the end of the year from November into December. Overall domestic tourism spending had increased from $82 million in 2020 to $98 million in 2021.

While international tourism was set to return and Tourism Waitaki would restart marketing the district in overseas markets, there was still a lot of uncertainty about the return of tourists, she said.

The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony continued to struggle without international tourism, with visitor numbers from June to December 2021 down 57.8% on the same period the year before.

Whitestone Contracting director George Kelcher said it had been a tough six months for the company, with two weeks lost due to the lockdown in September, revenue was at its lowest in five years, costs had increased and staff had been impacted by Covid. The company was also in a rebuilding phase after losing two key roading contracts last year, Mr Kelcher said.

Despite all the uncertainty the company had recorded a profit of $151,000 in the first half of the financial year and had completed some major projects during that time, such as the Oamaru Reservoir and water upgrades at Karitane. During the same time period in the previous financial year the company posted a loss of $146,000.

Omarama Airfield Ltd chairman Clive Geddes said the airfield’s revenue from landings had been impacted by poor spring weather and a decline in recreational flying, both domestic and international, and competition use of the facility.

Despite those issues the airfield had been able to produce a surplus for the first six months largely due to reduced maintenance costs, Mr Geddes said.

Waitaki District Health Services Ltd’s half year report was delayed and would be presented at a future council meeting.