Hawke's Bay's busiest month for tourism is determined to go ahead after severe flooding battered Napier on Monday. The ninth annual Food and Wine Classic (FAWC), which is set to continue this weekend, attracts thousands of visitors to the region but the rains have thrown plans of local residents and businesses into disarray.
After being faced with a deluge of queries, Hawkes Bay Tourism has issued a statement saying this weekend's events will be going ahead as planned. This includes events planned for Napier city centre.
"This weekend was expected to be one of the busiest in the spring calendar however we are hearing from visitors who are now unsure whether they should travel or not," said chief executive Hamish Saxton.
There are over 25 FAWC events planned for this weekend, with additional fringe festival and live events scheduled.
The regional tourism board said they were aware of the difficulty faced by locals but going ahead with planned events was the right decision.
"Hawke's Bay's visitor economy is made up of incredibly resilient people. The Napier CBD FAWC Progressive Cocktail Party is still going ahead tonight, with more than a dozen restaurants and cafés taking part," said Saxton.
Napier residents were evacuated after Fire and Emergency New Zealand found 35 houses to be uninhabitable. Flooding and landslides affected over 100 people after almost five months of rainfall was dumped just a few hours on Monday.
The FAWC festival and spring calendar of events have been beset by problems and contingency planning for Covid.
Earlier this year, travel restrictions cancelled headline music acts including a performance by Rod Stewart. However, the remaining programme of November events will take place as planned including the Wildflower Sculpture Festival, the Edible Arts Awards and Hospice Holly Trail.
Saxton says the Hawke's Bay hospitality sector has been working hard to get their cafes and venues in order, inspire of the impacts of the flooding at home.
"They are ready and waiting for visitors to the region," he said.
The 10 day festival is set to conclude this Sunday 15 November. For details and updates to events visit Fawc.co.nz