Womad boosts accommodation sector

21:58, Mar 10 2014
tdn womad stand
WOMAD starts on Friday.

Accommodation may be at a premium next weekend, with New Plymouth's hotels and motels 'chocka', but Womad may not be such a big money spinner for other parts of the hospitality industry. 

Womad brought visitors into town and the accommodation sector did extremely well, as did the venues at Womad, Taranaki Hospitality Association president and owner of The Good Home, David Stones said.

''But some of the bars are a little bit leaner over Womad because there is less money to go around and it is quite expensive up at Womad. But we all tend to have good weekend when these events come to town.''

And the weekend after Womad was often quieter than usual because everyone had spent their money at Womad, he said.

''So sometimes what you make up in one weekend, you lose in the next.''

The good weather and the events that had come to town had resulted in a spin off for the hospitality sector, he said. 


But some got more spinoff than others.

''With Americarna, some outlets on the main drag did extremely well and some missed out on that festivity. That's the way it happens.''

Womad was a fantastic event and it's good for all the industries, he said. 

''But we don't get as much spin off as, say, when the Chiefs come to town or the All Blacks. That's when we really have our fantastic exceptional weekends. The Chiefs will be a fantastic weekend for our industry and the restaurants.''

It had been a good summer for the industry, Mr Stones said.

''But the hospitality industry is definitely not creaming it. It's struggling away, but we are certainly doing better than some regions around the country.''

That sentiment was echoed by Taranaki motels association president Fi Evans, who said summer had been busy.

''We've been steady all the way through from October. Things have been picking up a bit. I don't think were out of the woods, but as far as Taranaki goes it's encouraging to know that things are ticking along and picking up a bit.'' 

Leading up to Womad accommodation was pretty ''chocka'', she said.

And people who had had cancellations had filled up again pretty quickly. 

There's a trend that most people book for next year when they leave, she said.

So there was not a lot of extra accommodation around.

Artist Donna O'Donoghue had listed her spare room on the new website www.rentaholic.co.nz, which also featured other people inviting Womad visitors into their homes. 

Ms O'Donoghue was not worried about having strangers in her house, because she had rented her spare room out before to people from out of town who had come to one of her art classes, she said.

''And it's another way of me generating an income.''

At the end of last week she hadn't had any hits, she said.

''It's just an average run of the mill house, nothing flash. And it's priced accordingly."

She thought people would go more upmarket accommodation first.

But most of the accommodation still available was at the other end of the scale.

The race course would be open for camping and there were a few spaces left, Taft chief executive Suzanne Porter said.

There were a few hubs - little huts - available for people who didn't want to bring their own tent. And for those who preferred a bit of comfort while they camped, there were a few glamping tents still available.

At the race course there would also be a few caravans for hire.

Taft chief executive Suzanne Porter said everything was looking good for Womad.

At the TSB Bowl of Brooklands the ''pack in'' had started and elephant sculptures, crafted from willow and woven over steel frames, that were on show during the PowerCo Garden Spectacular, were on the lake and ''looking fantastic.''

Most of the international artists performed at Womad Adelaide yesterday, Ms Porter said.

Moving about 200 artists across the ditch was a big job because of the multiple languages and passports involved.

They will stay in Auckland tonight and bus down to Taranaki tomorrow. 

Womad isn't sold out, but tickets were selling well.

'We're pleased how the tickets have sold, particularly in last three weeks. There's been a good uptake.''

People in Taranaki usually waited until the last moment to buy their tickets, often waiting to hear the weather forecast.

Taranaki Daily News