Hawke's Bay accommodation providers had a busy weekend as domestic tourists flocked to the region.

Rodney Green, who established the Bluewater Hotel in Ahuriri 20 year ago, said the hotel, which takes about 180 guests, was "chocker" over the weekend, particularly with last-minute bookings.

Green said others he communicated with indicated they were also busy.

"Everything was fully booked," he said.


Black Barn Vineyards manager Francis de Jager said their 17 luxury retreats were "basically full", with close to 100 visitors during the long weekend.

De Jager said the expectation for visitor numbers is changing from week to week but they were not expecting to be that busy over Queen's Birthday weekend.

Since level 2 was announced, there had been "a big flurry of bookings", but there were also last-minute bookings a week or two out.

Porters Boutique Hotel conference and hotel operations supervisor Casey Packer said their 42 rooms were fully booked on Saturday night and near capacity on Sunday.

Bookings throughout the year were starting to pick up but they were still a bit slow at the end of July, she said.

The operators said visitors are coming to the region from the usual areas of Wellington, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and Waikato.

Black Barn Vineyards accommodation was also near full with regular and new visitors staying over the weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland
Black Barn Vineyards accommodation was also near full with regular and new visitors staying over the weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland

Hawke's Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said the weekend was a significant boost to the region's visitor economy, which showed how resilient parts of the industry can be and also "how ready Kiwis are for a New Zealand holiday".

"Our frontline workers are thrilled the industry is coming back to life.


"They say this weekend saw an energy and vibe return to our visitor economy and that's really exciting for them."

But the busy weekend is not an indication of a return to normal, the accommodation operators said.

"That being said, I want to acknowledge there are operators who are still struggling and have obstacles to face, many who will have had a higher reliance on international visitors, events and conferences."

Saxton said some of their hospitality businesses noted social restrictions reducing customer numbers still limited their financial viability but hoped this weekend was "a good sign of things to come".

Sandy Tinetti from Anchorage Motor Lodge said while their 44 rooms were full for two nights over the weekend, it would "never be back to normal".

Art Deco Masonic general manager Rob Poole agreed, saying things have picked up, but June and July are still down on last year.

Bookings over the long weekend had "exceeded expectations".

The Art Deco Masonic Hotel and expressotel have 90 rooms between them which were fully booked Saturday and almost full Sunday.

"It has been driven solely by New Zealanders, which was great, and talking to guests, they are out and about."

Booking levels at the hotels have a positive flow-on effect to other industries, such as hospitality, retail and laundry companies the hotels use, Poole said.