Shortage of beds a possibility

Delays in getting hotels re-opened could leave Christchurch facing a bed shortage when the Cricket World Cup opens in the city in February.

A large influx of visitors is expected in Christchurch for the opening match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which is being played at Hagley Oval on February 14, and for the two pool matches the following weekend.

The city is also hosting four teams, including New Zealand, for warm-up matches in the days leading up to the World Cup opener.

New Zealand Hotel Council regional chairman Bruce Garrett said February was the busiest month of the year for hotels, with occupancy typically running at around 90 per cent, so there was little capacity to absorb the additional demand for beds created by the Cricket World Cup.

The number of hotels operating in the city was fewer than expected by this point in the city's recovery and accommodation was going to be at a premium.

"There's a number of projects on the go that will add another few hundred rooms but they are not going to be ready on time," Garrett said.

Visitors coming to Christchurch in February would probably have to stay in backpackers or motels rather than hotels if they had not yet booked a bed for the night, or fly in just for the day.

The New Zealand head of the Cricket World Cup, Therese Walsh, was not concerned about a lack of accommodation in Christchurch but said it would be "a full house".

She encouraged Kiwis travelling to Christchurch for matches to "take the friends and family approach".

"That will help take the pressure off," Walsh said.

The pressure on accommodation in Christchurch is expected to continue through until early March as the city is also playing host to Te Matatini national kapa haka championships. The festival, on in North Hagley Park from March 4 to 8, is expected to attract 1800 kapa haka performers, 400 volunteers, and 30,000 spectators - many of whom will come from the North Island.

Christchurch City councillor Yani Johanson, who is heading a working party set up to ensure the city is ready for next year's major events, said the council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority were working with event organisers to sort through logistical issues such as where to accommodate visitors and how to make it easy as possible for them to move around the city.

The Press