Rac­ing into In­ver­cargill

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - JOANNA GRIF­FITHS

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.

ROBYN EDIE

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.

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