Racing into Invercargill
Things are about to get a bit busy in Invercargill, and southern businesses couldn’t be happier.
More than 800 athletes aged from 7 to 14 have registered for the 39th Colgate Games which will kick off at Surrey Park tomorrow and run until Sunday.
Organising committee chairwoman Sue Wilson said the event was good for Invercargill’s economy. ’’Families are coming down and making a holiday of it.
‘‘Invercargill is filling up, it’s great.’’
There had been a buzz within the athletics community in the lead up to the event, she said.
‘‘People are excited and want to get on the track to start practising.’’
About 3500 events will be held during the three-day games, which have attracted athletes from as far away as Australia.
The games are about the experience and making friends, rather than winning, Wilson said.
‘‘We want the families that are coming down and staying to take the opportunity to look through the province. The games show how spectacular this area of the country is.’’
Balmoral Lodge Motel relieving manager Neale Price said his business was fully booked for the event. ’’We have 38 rooms and they have been full for a while, at least Friday.’’
Events like the Colgate Games help keep the tourism industry alive in Southland, he said.
‘‘It’s not just good for the motel industry, but for all local businesses in Invercargill.‘‘
Bella Vista Motel assistant manager Kelly Leys said their motel was also busy.
‘‘We only have a couple of rooms left. With the shearing competition next month, it just keeps getting busier and busier which is great.’’
Venture Southland tourism and events manager Warrick Low said summer was a great time for tourism in Southland.
The value in events like the Colgate Games was that it did encourage families to turn the event into a holiday.
‘‘Businesses are seeing a lot of demand. Not everyone is full - there is still space for more tourism. And there is still plenty of opportunity for local businesses to make hay while the sun shines.’’
He hoped more people would make the most of southern-based events and holiday in Southland this summer.
St Pauls Athletics club members Max Tinoai, 9, left, and Hector O’Rourke, 9, train at Surrey Park on Saturday ahead the South Island Colgate Games.