Accommodation expectations mixed

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JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

While it appears restrictions have eased on accommodation businesses around the country under Alert Level 2, the long-term impact of Covid-19 and the border closure is unknown.

The Clutha Leader spoke to business managers around the district coming to grips with having to change how they do things, and projecting into the future.

“Last April I had just under 750 tourists,” Lake Waihola Holiday Park manager Pete Michelle said.

“This year I had none, which didn’t help much.”

He said in ordinary times Waihola was frequently a place for travellers to rest before carrying on to Dunedin.

“Some of the overseas tourists find it hard to drive around and find a place to put a motorhome in Dunedin. They like staying here.”

Mr Michelle said he often received visitors from Australia, Asia and Europe.

With the New Zealand border to remain closed for the foreseeable future, this would no longer be possible.

He was keen to open back up for domestic travellers as internal travel resumed, but was not optimistic about their numbers, either.

“We often get people coming here saying Queenstown was too busy for them . . . well it will be nice and quiet for them there now.”

For accommodation businesses with multiple streams of income the strain has not been as bad.

Pam Clark is the manager of the White Horse Inn in Milton, and she said running the adjoining Liquorland had eased the pressure.

“We’ve been back at work since Level 3 came in,” Mrs Clark said.

“With the shop we were able to open through click and collect.”

On the main street of Milton, Union St, the inn’s main clientele before lockdown were truck drivers who pulled in for the night.

She expected the same volume to return now Level 2 is in effect.

The Rosebank Lodge in Balclutha is also able to open its doors from today but unable to open Rosie’s Bar due to continuing restrictions on pubs and bars.

General manager Tom Blaikie said early signs of interest from customers were already blooming.

“We are starting to get a lot of phone calls from New Zealand workers and travellers looking to book in. That’s started again this week.”