Bookings for Napier hotels rise

By Patrick O’Sullivan

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Annie Dundas
Annie Dundas

More than 4000 visitor nights have been booked, thanks to the Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey, says general manager of Tourism Hawke's Bay Annie Dundas.

The international Hawke's Bay Cup competition brought more than 200 people for eight teams, eight school teams were in the Furnware Cup and 16 teams in the Affiliates Tournament.

Ms Dundas declared a conflict of interest - she is a former hockey player.

"I never had flash blue turf in my day - the [Hawke's Bay Regional] Sports Park is looking pretty good and from what I know of the athletes they are pretty pleased."

Ms Dundas said the Festival was a good for spectators.

"These are the teams that are going to Rio [Olympics] where the Black Sticks are an absolute medal chance, so what an amazing thing for us to have on our doorstep - who wouldn't want to watch them?"

"Watching Australia and New Zealand in the final was pretty extraordinary."

She said the Festival had become "a very big event on our calendar".

Summer in Hawke's Bay had events rammed up against each other, but months such as July and August were challenging.

"We are just looking at events ahead, and with things like the marathon in May it is very helpful. May is generally a quiet month so that will build May up and make it a very solid month."

While the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park is in Hastings the majority of teams are choosing Napier hotels.

Claremonte Motor Lodge owner Julie Smith said hockey teams stayed in hotels because they wanted close-at-hand facilities such as restaurants and doctors.

"A lot of them stay in Napier and I suppose a lot of the supporters are staying over there as well," she said.

"I have spoken to three other motels and we've had absolutely no response from the international hockey at all."

Hastings is one of the only cities in New Zealand to not have a hotel, cited as an impediment for using the Hawke's Bay Opera House for conferences before it closed.

The Independent Working Party looking at the potential of the Hawke's Bay Opera House has suggested associated buildings could be used as a hotel and has been in discussion with a Chinese investor.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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