Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Action-packed holiday adds cash and kudos to the Bay

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The ASB Baypark was at near capacity over the weekend. Photo / Andrew Warner
The ASB Baypark was at near capacity over the weekend. Photo / Andrew Warner

The Bay's economy got a multi-million dollar cash injection this Anniversary Weekend after tens of thousands of locals and hordes of visitors took in the action-packed line-up of events.

Kaimai View Motel owner, and Tauranga Motel Association president, Bruce Rutherford said it was a good weekend for members.

"Mostly local motels were full and bookings were slightly ahead of last year, which is pretty good news. I think most of our members would be pretty happy," he said.

The weekend's events included fans packing out the ASB Baypark for the ENZED UIM Jet Sprint World Championship final.

Event director Pip Minnell said the event attracted a near-capacity crowd of about 17,500.

More than 95 per cent of the costs associated with this event would have been spent in the Bay, including using local contractors and suppliers.
Pip Minnell

"It was an incredibly successful weekend and we had an overwhelmingly positive feedback from both the international and Kiwi teams, and our spectators."

Mrs Minnell said it was a hugely expensive event to deliver but the NZ Jet Sprint Association was "rapt" with the turnout and positive feedback.

"More than 95 per cent of the costs associated with this event would have been spent in the Bay, including using local contractors and suppliers," she said.

Mrs Minnell said more than 1000 team supporters and crew members would have also spent money.

Read more: Jetsprint champs good for tourism

It also meant a huge boost to the Bay's profile nationally and internationally, she said.

On The Lawn food, beer, and wine festival at Blake Park saw about 6000 punters pour through the gates to taste the stall holders' latest creations.

Event director Erika Mitchell said the atmosphere was "super positive" and the organisers were happy with the turnout which was up on last year's 5000 attendance.

About 4500 punters also had a flutter at the Interislander Summer Festival of Harness Races, several hundred people participated in the annual Colour Splash at Coronation Park and the Eastern Region Surf Lifesaving Champs also attracted large crowds.

Mount Mainstreet spokesman Peter Melgren said a heavy weekend's trading had been predicted with the huge number of events on around the district.

"But we never take that for granted," he said.

Mr Melgren said he did not have all the figures in yet but early indications were that it had been an extremely busy and profitable weekend for Mount retailers.

Read more: Tying the knot on the track

"We're very happy, particularly given there was so much on around the country," he said

Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said the council had identified two years ago that events were an economic opportunity, hence the increase in resourcing both in supporting local events, and providing some with financial support.

"It's starting to pay off," he said.

Mr Crosby said before investing in any event council was well-briefed on the estimated economic benefits and the amount of city pride it would bring to the city and the region.

"We're very cautious about the events we do actually support. Council was starting to focus on developing its own portfolio of events which were unique to Tauranga rather than trying to replicate what other areas were doing, and supported some through funding," he said.

"There is no question that the boost to our local economy from holding these events would be in the millions in terms of city pride as well as the overall economic returns," he said.

Tourism Bay of Plenty head of marketing Kristin Dunne said events were key to extending the great summer season for the region, and boosting the economy.

"It was a huge weekend in the Bay. I personally attended the Eastern Region Surf Championships and On The Lawn which were fantastic events.

"Tourism Bay of Plenty hosted media from Auckland at those events on Sunday and they were blown away by the vibrancy of Tauranga and the Mount. And just how busy it was - with the cruise ship in also - we really showed the area off as a major events and tourism destination."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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