Lions gold rush for Tawa homeowners
‘‘Lions fans are known to get the wallets out often.’’
As hotels fill up, Wellington homeowners are cashing in on the squeeze.
Some accommodation providers have been booked out up to six months in advance of the British and Irish Lions’ 10-match tour, which comes to Wellington at the end of June.
One couple listed their Tawa home on Airbnb in December for $1000 a night for three nights, and it was quickly booked by four Lions fans.
Another couple said their home had been booked for about $1500 for two nights.
A room for three with an ensuite, breakfast and transport at Jonathan Cutts’ Wellington home was listed for $299 a night.
He wanted to help look after people here to enjoy themselves, Cutts said, and had rented space as ‘‘a chance to make a bit of extra pocket money’’ in the past.
During the last Lions tour, the closest accommodation left was in Palmerston North, he recalled.
Hospitality New Zealand Wellington president Jeremy Smith said accommodation was ‘‘near capacity’’ for the big week, with 20,000 international fans and a similar number of domestic visitors expected.
Websites booking.com and wotif.com reported on Wednesday that just one Wellington provider still had a bed available for the night of the All Blacks clash.
‘‘Wellington’s geared for it,’’ Smith said. ‘‘ The bars will be packed. We expect it to be really full-on.’’
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) spokesman Simon Perry expected the tour to generate more money than the last Lions tour in 2005, which was estimated to have pumped $23 million into the regional economy.
‘‘Lions fans are known to get the wallets out often, and there will be widespread benefits to businesses throughout the Wellington region,’’ he said. Everything from bars to golf courses and the Southward car museum in Paraparaumu would probably get a cut.
An influx of about 1200 campervans is expected in the city, prompting Wreda to set up temporary sites on the Wellington waterfront, Petone, and Porirua. All have been pre-booked.
Independent travellers are being referred to established camping grounds on the Kapiti Coast and the Hutt Valley.
There was a full house - and a full city too - for the All Blacks’ test against the Lions in 2005.