Niseko ripe for business
AS Niseko enters a new era of growth, a band of young entrepreneurs are moving in to stake their claim on the resort.
Over the past five years the core resort industries – accommodation, travel arrangements, ski schools and tours – have been hammered out among the early players to arrive.
But now it’s become apparent that as the resort grows there’s a need for a whole range of perimeter services and businesses.
It’s almost a blank canvas where anyone with the ability and gumption to try to start a business in a foreign country can enter a lucrative market with few or no competitors.
Tess Stomski, managing director of Niseko Gourmet which started this season, had been working for an in-home/apartment catering service in a ski resort in France where there were 40 businesses in the same field.
“We came over here for a holiday and realised there wasn’t a single business doing it here,” Stomski said.
“I’m still surprised there’s no one else doing it, although I think give it another year and there will be more.”
Michael Davenport, real estate consultant, translator, advisor and director of Niseko Consulting, said it’s the beginning of a soft industry boom and the early players will have the upper hand.
“It’s really a land of opportunity here at the moment - there’s so much room for so many services,” Davenport said.
“There’s a long way to go but the sooner you get in and establish yourself the better chance you’ve got in the long term – you can be the first in a particular sector. So many businesses will sprout up in the next few years and through natural selection the good ones will come through and should enjoy some pretty successful times. It’s all in the beginning stages at the moment so it’s pretty exciting.”
Niseko Photography founder Aaron Jamieson is another bright young spark who, with co-founder Mathew Hollingsworth, spotted an opportunity and went for it.
“I reckon it’s a perfect time for fun and interesting industries to start adding another element to Niseko,” Jamieson said.
“Accommodation and skiing have been nailed. I think now the focus will move towards interesting activities, alternatives to skiing, and all the fun, interesting things that make a Niseko holiday more than a ski trip.”