Supporters opt for budget beds

By LAWRENCE GULLERY


Budget and campervan accommodation outlets are proving to be the benefactors of Rugby World Cup visitors looking for thrifty options when it comes to staying in Hawke's Bay.

Hastings and Napier motel associations report lower than expected patronage since the World Cup kicked off three weeks ago while holiday parks and backpackers seem to be the first-choice for visitors during the tournament.

Hastings Motel Association president Paul Cropper said there was a perception motels were putting up prices which may have prompted people to look elsewhere for accommodation.

"But a majority are charging the same rates. Just from speaking to a few people, I think most visitors had stayed in backpacker accommodation and at the Hastings Top-10 Holiday Park.

"I think also it is just a sign of the tough economic side of things, that people are looking for cheaper places to stay and travel."

Napier Motel Association president Tim Stephens said he knew of a number of freedom campers who parked on Marine Parade during the France versus Canada match.

"That doesn't do much for the industry, the camping grounds miss out on those ones."

It was a similar story in Rotorua during the match between Ireland and Russia when about 200 freedom campers parked at sites other than at campgrounds where there was space available.

The Art Deco city had been full during the Canada versus France match and again last night when Japan played Canada.

"Most motels along Marine Parade are nearly full, people have booked for two or three nights, but there are some vacancies on the outskirts of the city," Mr Stephens said.

In comparison the weekends since the tournament started had been "very quiet".

"It's like Kiwis have stopped travelling. We are still getting the corporates through but the expected influx of visitors is not happening."

A bus tour of France rugby supporters, about 450 people, was due in Napier later this week, on its way from Auckland to Wellington for the France versus Tonga match.

"After this week we will totally rely on people travelling between matches," Mr Stephens said.

Hastings Top 10 Holiday Park owners Isobel and Reuben Creswell said the park had high numbers of visitors, mainly campervans rather than those looking to book into cabins.

"We've been out 70 per cent to capacity during both games and most are booking for two or three days," Mrs Creswell said.

She said the park had received "the overflow" from holiday parks in Napier, as most visitors had wanted to stay closer to the game venue McLean Park.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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