English cricket fans are already scoping out accommodation in Tauranga for Bay Oval's first test match.
New Zealand Cricket officially announced Bay Oval as the country's ninth test venue yesterday . In November New Zealand will host England for five T20s and two tests - the first being held in Mount Maunganui.
In February, Bay Oval will host the Black Caps and India in a T20 and an ODI while also hosting the White Ferns and South Africa in a T20.
Bay Oval general manager Kelvin Jones said he was already fielding calls from keen English cricket fans looking for apartment accommodation during the test.
"It's obviously fantastic news for us but certainly for the city too."
Jones said the November and February matches would help extend Tauranga and Mount Maunganui's summer influx. Earlier this year, more than 9000 fans packed out Bay Oval for a sold-out match between the Black Caps and India.
Jones said the local cricket fraternity was ecstatic to capture the matches.
"Personally we are passionate cricket people, and we've always said that 'when we've got a test match, we have made it'. So this is certainly a coup. It's vindication for what we have been doing here."
He said other traditional cricket grounds had missed out in New Zealand Cricket's summer line-up, and the Bay Oval was now part of an exclusive group of test match venues.
"For Tauranga to be in that mix is incredible," he said.
When asked how Bay Oval managed to secure the test match, Jones responded that the key was "just a passionate bunch of people, councils, all of our funders".
"If New Zealand Cricket told us where we needed to improve or show what we can do, we have. It basically got to a point where they couldn't refuse.
"It's like a groundswell really. The more success we've had, the more people have come along with us."
Kris Stamatakos from Tauranga's Colonial Court Motel said having the test match in November "before the mayhem" of summer's peak was great for accommodation providers.
"Overall, I think this is really positive ... It's a great cricket ground, and it's great for the Bay to have games like that. We've proved ourselves from last year with big crowds. Now it will only get better."
Already, Stamatakos had people going to the test match booked in. He said the event could only be a good thing for the city.
"Usually the English love to travel around and support their team. That will be a benefit not just to accommodation providers but to everyone in the city," Stamatakos said.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the games would add to the vitality of the city. The announcement also showed that community and council investment into the lights at Bay Oval was worth it.
Having such high-profile games would provide immeasurable benefits to the city, he said.
"It used to be that people said there's nothing happening in Tauranga, but now there's plenty. It's a place where people want to come," Brownless said.
"I do have a sense of pride when I see images of the Bay Oval with Mauao in the background on TV."
Tourism Bay of Plenty spokeswoman Kath Low said the announcement was fantastic for the region.
"November and February are typically not as busy as December and January, which is beneficial for our economy. Essentially these matches spread the high season out.
"Additional to considerable gain from the spend associated with the teams being based here, there is a large media contingent. The exposure of Tauranga and the region from global broadcasting is worth millions of dollars to the region.
"We look forward to welcoming them here."
New Zealand Cricket's summer in Mount Maunganui
November 29 to December 03 - Blackcaps vs England, 1st test
February 2 - Blackcaps vs India, T20
February 02 - White Ferns vs South Africa, T20
February 11 - Blackcaps vs India, ODI