Motels filling up despite Rena oil spill

By Ellen Irvine

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Rena fallout has not affected the traditional demand for New Year's Eve accommodation in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga, with many providers booked out.

Tauranga Motel Association president Lloyd Stone of Bethlehem Motor Inn said bookings for New Year's Eve week were pretty much the same as usual.

"Christmas and New Year is always busy for the motels. There's not a great deal of vacancies at this stage," he said.

There were still rooms available and Mr Stone advised contacting a Motel Association member, which could advise where vacancies existed.

Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park manager Mark Hales said the busy New Year period was booked a year in advance, and this year was no exception. There was a waiting list in case of any last-minute cancellations, he said.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

The park continues to field calls from people hoping to get a booking.

Mr Hales said the park suggested other campgrounds in the Mount Maunganui and Papamoa area which might have a vacancy.

At Papamoa Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, there are no spaces available between the peak period of December 29 and January 5.

General manager Rebecca Crosby said there had been a few inquiries from people still hoping to book in during that time.

In previous years, the park had dealt with people who had not secured accommodation trying to sneak in for showers. "It is a concern. In the past we have had to contend with people trying to jump our fences and use the facilities. We are hoping it doesn't happen this year," she said.

At the top end of the market, the Sebel Trinity Wharf in Tauranga is also expecting to be busy on New Year's Eve, but general manager Gary Dickman said there were still rooms available.

"We do tend to fill up, especially with guests booking in for our New Year's Eve party," he said.

The hotel is hosting a James Bond-themed party "Shaken Not Stirred", with a dress code of "suitable attire for a MI6 operative - tuxedo/suit, cocktail/evening dress".

At the Beaumont Apartments in Mount Maunganui, on-site manager Sue Steward said the New Year period had been fully booked for months: "Rena hasn't altered anything. We got a couple of cancellations the last school holidays but for this summer it's all positive."

Mrs Steward said customers tended to re-book for the following year when they checked out in January. Others booked six months in advance, with the last spaces filled two months ago. The odd cancellation due to personal circumstances was quickly filled by a waiting list.

"The Mount is where people want to be for New Year. Because it's family-oriented with no alcohol, people feel safe down there," she said.

Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Glenn Ormsby said there was still accommodation available in a range of categories, including motels, apartments, hotels and holiday parks.

"It's too early to tell how bookings for 2011 are tracking compared to 2010 but feedback is positive," Mr Ormsby said.

Visitors to the Bay chose a variety of accommodation, including staying with family and friends. "It comes down to personal preference. We are lucky that we have such a wide range of options available in coastal Bay of Plenty."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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