Ships, a show and students test city

Louise van de Vlierd.
Louise van de Vlierd.
Accommodation is still available in Dunedin this weekend despite an inundation of events set to test the city's resources.

Foremost is the concert by British singer Robbie Williams on Saturday, but concert-goers will just add to the thousands of students and their parents who traditionally arrive in the city to set up for the year.

Add to that Octagonal Day, also on Saturday, featuring a pipe band contest that will attract hundreds of pipers from throughout the South Island, and the influx of Chinese tourists arriving for Chinese New Year, and the city should be bursting at the seams.

Before then, there are three double cruise ship days to deal with.

Dunedin i-Site visitor centre manager Louise van de Vlierd said that beds were still being found in the city, despite it being ''very, very busy around the whole lower South Island''.

''This is normal for February.''

Ms van de Vlierd said it was not uncommon to keep finding beds until the last minute in such situations.

Accommodation ranged from hotel rooms that were ''all of a sudden'' available, to bed and breakfast establishments and motel rooms.

That could be a result of cancellations, or perhaps from people holding back before releasing rooms.

For the visitor centre, there were three double cruise ship days to contend with before the weekend.

''Thank goodness they don't want accommodation.''

Ms van de Vlierd said there were still beds available for Easter weekend when 60,000 visitors are expected for three concerts by Ed Sheeran.

Dunedin Host chairman Deane Agnew said he understood Dunedin was ''pretty booked''.

The head of the industry body for tourism operators said there would always be ''a little bit of wash'' where those who were unable to come cancelled, meaning rooms were still available.

As well, when people's first choice of accommodation was not available, they looked for options further from the city centre.

This week had been slightly busier than usual, which Mr Agnew said was likely to be because parents and students were arriving in the city earlier than the weekend to bypass the accommodation problems caused by the events.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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