Lions gold rush for Tawa home­own­ers

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NICOLL AND TALIA SHADWELL

‘‘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.

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

There was a full house - and a full city too - for the All Blacks’ test against the Lions in 2005.

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