Tournament brings net gain to Southland

The winners will be rejoicing when the South Island secondary school netball competition is over and Invercargill's business owners will be sure to join them.

Invercargill hosted 76 teams from around the South Island during the week, with families and supporters in tow.

More than 1000 people were expected to have descended on Invercargill for the duration of the tournament.

Organiser Fiona Ward said about 200 hours had been devoted to organising the event.

It has been well attended, and the influx of netballers and their supporters would have been a boon to the economy, Ward said.

"It's a big boost for business," she said. "There's been people all the time flowing through showing support for these teams. The motels are all absolutely chokka at the moment; they're all booked out."

The finals had been the busiest day for spectators yet, she said.

It did not go unnoticed by the town's cafes - Rain Espresso and Three Bean cafe both said they were "flat out" on finals day.

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sarah Hannan said Invercargill businesses thrived during events like this.

"Events, particularly sporting events, definitely make an impact on the local economy through accommodation, hospitality and retail," she said. "It creates some vitality in town as well."

She said Invercargill had the facilities to accommodate big events.

"It's great to have the stadium back online, which creates more of these opportunities. We get a lot of conferences and events, but we could still attract more."

Kaikoura High School teacher Jos Maines said she was happy with the way the tournament was run.

The girls from her school loved coming down to Invercargill for the competition.

"It's like the school ball, they look forward to coming to the tournament," she said. "It's been really well organised, and this is a top venue." 

The Southland Times