Bookings essential as squeeze goes on Timaru

SARAH JARVIS
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2014

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The squeeze is on Timaru's accommodation and the industry predicts it will only get worse.

The "she'll-be-right" attitude towards booking a bed in Timaru could leave some visitors without accommodation.

In the midst of one of the busiest winters on record, South Canterbury Moteliers Association president Maree Winter said people needed to change their mindset.

"People have always thought ‘it's just Timaru, who is going to want to go there? We'll always get a bed in Timaru', but now that's not the case."

Winter said accommodation demands in Timaru were higher than normal due to out of town workers needing somewhere to stay.

"We've had Serious Fraud Office workers, people here for the South Canterbury Finance court case, and out of town port authorities. The town has been busy and we are only going to get busier."

With the South Island Masters Games and South Canterbury Car Club's enduro race meeting overlapping on the weekend of October 18-19, visitors will struggle to find accommodation.

"You only have to throw in one wedding and that can take up half-a-dozen units," Winter said.

Masters Games manager Chris Thomas said all the hotels and motels he had spoken to were booked out and those which weren't had only one room left.

"Some might have a room here or there but there is nothing left in Timaru that will cater for a team," he said.

South Canterbury Car Club president Kevin Pateman said their inquiries had revealed several of the visiting racing teams had already booked, but he didn't know how many more would require accommodation.

Pateman said he could not confirm how many teams would be competing in October but said each would consist of three to five people.

He said the early booking of accommodation was "certainly positive for the region".

"It's a good early sign that these events are bringing money into our local economy."

Winter believed Aoraki Development, Business and Tourism (ADBT) needed to take a more active role.

"Why aren't these problems being solved?" Winter said.

"The ADBT and organisers of these events need to do something about it.

"They should be talking."

ADBT manager Katerina Tiscenko said they always tried to work with event organisers to try to balance out local events.

"We can't force anyone to change their event, we can only do what we can if there is a clash," she said.

"It can be really challenging sometimes."

Tiscenko encouraged event organisers to post their events on ADBT's calendar and always check it.

Winter's advice to anyone who planned on visiting Timaru?

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"Book your accommodation sooner rather than later."

- The Timaru Herald

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