Sports events a boon for beds

JOANNE BENNETT
Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014
manav soni
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
NO ROOM: Manav Soni from the Comfort Hotel Benvenue slides the sign to no vancancy.

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Spare beds in Timaru are like gold dust this weekend, with thousands of out-of-towners zeroing in to attend high-profile sports events.

The South Island Colgate Games for primary school athletes and the major motor racing meeting of the season have accommodation across the region at capacity.

Motel Association President Maree Winter said many motels have been booked a year in advance.

"The town will be doing really well out of this. Not just motel owners, but the spin-off for the whole town is huge."

Owner of Timaru Top Ten Holiday Park Gordon Collister has accommodation reserved for 300 Colgate Games competitors and their supporters.

"The accommodation here was fully booked after they announced Timaru as the 2014 venue on the Sunday night after the Colgate Games last year."

Mr Collister said tent and caravan sites were still available.

Christmas and New Year are traditionally very busy times for moteliers, but the coming weekend is testing the limits, he said.

"It's not often two major events like this happen on the same weekend. The Colgate Games announced Timaru as their venue first, so the motor racing teams were a bit slower to book."

Accommodation booking site wotif.co.nz showed no rooms were available from yesterday.

The first vacancies becoming available were on Sunday night.

Aspen on King manager Wayne Saggers said if people did not plan in advance it was going to be a struggle to find somewhere to stay.

"We've been completely booked for this weekend since before Christmas."

Since then, Mr Saggers said he had turned away about 30 customers, and inquiries were still coming in.

Aoraki Business Development and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said major events such as these brought broad economic benefit to the district.

"The V8s and similar events have been evaluated to bring over $1 million to the region - from accommodation and expenditure, to spending in cafes and restaurants, shopping, enjoying local attractions and activities, supermarkets and petrol stations and with service providers such as taxis."

Mrs Smith was pleased to see accommodation providers busy.

"Hosting major events is something the district does well and it's so exciting to see such an influx of visitors having a great time here."

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- The Timaru Herald

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