It was raining but the visitors were spending.
It was a wet school holidays but Taupō retailers say they are happy with the number of visitors to the town.
Chateau Tongariro Hotel and Wairakei Resort Taupō marketing manager Ash Palmer said Wairakei Resort experienced a fantastic school holiday period with accommodation occupancy sitting between 90 to 100 per cent for both weeks.
Many people took advantage of GrabOne deals for both hotels that were extended to include the school holidays due to Covid-19. Ash said it was fantastic seeing guests out enjoying the golf course, tennis courts and facilities again after being closed for seven weeks during lockdown.
"Looking forward, we do see significant drop off in guest numbers over the coming months and are really hoping that Taupō locals will be back out supporting the business," said Ash.
Taupō Mini Golf manager Kate Reed said on the good days trade was up on school holidays last year.
"We are a weather dependent activity. It rained most days, clearing at 3pm and being the middle of winter we would think, 'oh well that is that' but then bang and we would be busy till 6pm with people playing in the drizzle," said Kate.
Kate says the mini golf is still busy even though the holidays are over. She says traditionally May and June are the quietest months of the year but estimates this year they are up on last year.
"After lockdown, out of towners were coming to play. They were saying 'we just have to get out of Auckland'."
Lake Furnishings owner Raye Dimock is thrilled with the number of customers that have come through the shops and visited Taupō in the past two weeks. She says a lot of her customers have told her they would have been going overseas for the winter but due to the Covid-19 border closure they were exploring the regions instead.
"They say 'we can't go anywhere else, so here we are!'," said Raye.
Keeping the shop well stocked is proving an issue, with several of her wholesalers experiencing supply chain issues at the border. Stirling Sports owner Ron Edwards says his shop is also experiencing supply issues.
Ron says it was noticeable that big groups of people were shopping together over the school holidays.
"I am amazed at the number of visitors in town that are holidaying domestically instead of going overseas."
Daughter Jayne Edwards asked some of the visitors where they came from, reporting they had got GrabOne deals for accommodation at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel at Whakapapa Village and decided to come to Taupō for a shopping day.
Robert Harris Cafe owner Pat Ngov said more visitors had come through his cafe these holidays compared to the 2019 July school holidays. He said many of the visitors came from Auckland or Wellington and said there seemed to be more family groups this year.
In his opinion the customers were more cautious,
"There was more sharing of food. We even saw coffee shared. What will come next?"
Pat says now the school holidays are over he expects the Covid-19 pandemic to have a negative effect on his business.
"A lot of us think it is going to get worse due to the pandemic. The wage subsidy is going to run out soon. From August onwards we will see the real deal," said Pat.