Early Easter ac­com boost claim dis­puted

Waitaki Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

MARK QUIN­LI­VAN

South Can­ter­bury hol­i­day park op­er­a­tors providers don’t agree with Stats NZ as to why they have been so busy.

Stats NZ fig­ures re­leased on Thurs­day claimed an early Easter helped lift hol­i­day park guest nights by 25 per cent in March 2018 - 180,000 more than the same month last year.

How­ever, Twizel Hol­i­day Park owner Janelle Shaw, while re­veal­ing their oc­cu­pancy rate in March this year was 92 per cent, com­pared to 83 per cent in March last year, said she didn’t think Easter played too much of a part in this.

‘‘No mat­ter what we would have been fully booked,’’ she said.

‘‘I no­ticed it just be­cause you think it should be start­ing to get quiet.’’

Shaw, was ‘‘shocked’’ at how many tourists were still on the road in April, adding that pe­riod had also been ex­cep­tion­ally busy for the park, with oc­cu­pancy rates up seven per cent com­pared to April last year.

‘‘I just didn’t know what was go­ing on,’’ she said.

In the Wai­mate District, Gle­navy’s Waitaki River Mo­tor Camp owner Anne Lo­mas also said it wasn’t just Easter that con­trib­uted to a busy March, but the Ed Sheeran con­certs tak­ing place in Dunedin.

‘‘We didn’t re­ally get any hol­i­day­mak­ers in March be­cause the park was filled with peo­ple go­ing to the con­cert.

‘‘We had an ex­tremely busy March but I think April was about the same as last year.’’

Ti­maru Top 10 Hol­i­day Park owner Gor­don Col­lis­ter said Easter’s al­ways a ‘‘mixed bless­ing’’ de­pend­ing on which month it falls in.

How­ever, he said with Ti­maru not be­ing a first choice hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple, the park is gen­er­ally re­liant on there be­ing events tak­ing place.

He said the Ocea­nia Speed Skat­ing Cham­pi­onships be­ing held dur­ing Easter lifted the parks oc­cu­pancy to 4250 in March, com­pared to 3465 in March last year.

‘‘We were also up eight or nine per cent in April,’’ he said.

‘‘March was look­ing pretty smart any­way with a num­ber of events tak­ing place.

‘‘We’re pretty de­pen­dant on what events are tak­ing place at cer­tain times.’’

A Te­muka Hol­i­day Park spokesman also said they would have been busy any­way, re­gard­less of an early Easter.

‘‘I don’t think Easter made a hell of a lot of dif­fer­ence.

‘‘We were just as busy as we would have been last Easter and the Easter be­fore that.’’

Hospi­tal­ity As­so­ci­a­tion South Can­ter­bury ac­com­mo­da­tion sec­tor chair­man and Av­enue Mo­tor Lodge owner Mark Of­fen said there was events on nearly every week­end in March, and agreed ac­com­mo­da­tion providers in South Can­ter­bury would have been busy re­gard­less.

He said the Rock and Hop and the South Is­land Sec­ondary School’s Athletics were events that con­trib­uted to a busy March in Ti­maru, and events like Maadi Cup Row­ing con­trib­uted to a busy March in Twizel.

‘‘We were go­ing to be busy any­way be­cause of the events that were at­tracted to town in March,’’ he said.

‘‘Those events made it a good time for ac­com­mo­da­tion providers through­out South Can­ter­bury. For me I was also ben­e­fited by the Ed Sheeran con­cert as well.’’

Stats NZ ac­com­mo­da­tion statis­tics man­ager Melissa McKen­zie said warm weather in March may also have been a fac­tor.

To­tal guest nights, in­clud­ing all ac­com­mo­da­tion types, rose eight per cent in March this year com­pared to last year, when Easter fell com­pletely in April.

Hol­i­day parks led the in­crease in guest nights, with New Zealan­ders spend­ing 135,000 more nights in hol­i­day park ac­com­mo­da­tion, and in­ter­na­tional guests spent 52,000 more nights than March last year, Stats NZ fig­ures show.

Col­lis­ter said in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors num­bers in the Ti­maru Top 10 Hol­i­day Park were up about 10 per cent com­pared to March last year.

Gle­navy ex­pe­ri­enced a boost in tourist num­bers in March thanks to the Ed Sheeran con­cert.

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