Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Thousands to descend on city

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Claire Delany and Lesley Finn from Finns. Photograph by Andrew Warner.
Claire Delany and Lesley Finn from Finns. Photograph by Andrew Warner.

Two sporting events will bring thousands of visitors into town this weekend, as Rotorua gears up for the first of four consecutive big weekends.

About 500 players and officials plus supporters will start arriving in town on Friday ahead of the Bayleys National Sevens tournament, while several thousand out-of-towners are expected for the World Invitation Superstock Champs .

Rotorua Stock Car Club secretary Sonja Hickey said they were expecting crowds of 6000 on Friday night, and 8000 on Saturday night.

"Well over half of them would be coming from out of town and, as far as drivers go, two thirds of the field [of 70-odd drivers] are coming from out of town."

Mrs Hickey said the event was expected to have a big impact economically.

Sevens event manager Allison Stewart said there were very few beds left in town for the weekend, with the event expected to give Rotorua a "significant" economic injection. Ms Stewart said Rotorua could definitely expect to see a "big influx" of people - all needing to be fed and watered.

It comes ahead of three consecutive public holidays - Wellington Anniversary followed by (long weekends for locals) Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi weekend.

Destination Rotorua consumer marketing manager Tom Worsp said this summer had been "incredibly positive" for Rotorua.

"We have a fantastic line-up of quality events coinciding with a string of public holidays, and this will only help to bolster what has already been a golden start to 2016."

Rotorua Association of Motels chairwoman Fiona Suurenbroek, who owns Cedarwood Lakeside Motel & Conference Centre, said there were still a few beds around town for Friday night but Saturday looked to be "filling up nicely".

While there was still capacity for Wellington Anniversary weekend, members seemed to be busier for Auckland Anniversary weekend, she said.

"Waitangi is filling up well too with a number of properties already fully booked, it is great that Waitangi Day has been Mondayised as this gives an additional long weekend for guests and visitors which is always beneficial to the accommodation sector."

Holiday Inn Rotorua is hosting the mens' sevens teams and general manager Kent Breeze said the hotel was fully booked.

He said the weekend came after a busy festive season with the hotel having been "heavily booked" since before Christmas.

Meanwhile some Rotorua retailers are getting behind the sevens action, by "adopting" one of the teams.

So far 17 businesses in the CBD have adopted a team, decorating their businesses with bunting, signs and decorations.

Lesley Finn, from Finns, said it was "really nice" to be able to get behind the event.

"You've got to support what is happening locally."

The Sevens - by the numbers:

* 26 teams

* 438 players, coaches and managers

* 63 officials

* 27 ball boys and girls

- Rotorua Daily Post

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