Boost for Oamaru as cup fans explore

The Spin It Wide campaign helped send plenty of traffic up and down the South Island's right flank this past weekend as Rugby World Cup tourists poured into Oamaru.

Oamaru Information Centre employee Ingrid Ramsay said 663 people came through the doors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday - compared with 483 over the corresponding weekend last September.

Northstar Motel manager Cathy Maaka said restaurant and bar staff were "very busy" tending to the 40 patrons who filled all 16 available rooms.

The guests were "mainly tourists", including an Argentinian travel group who had been among the only guests to book in advance.

"We find with these sorts of things people are spontaneous," Mrs Maaka said.

"I think every food and beverage outlet in Oamaru was busy ... it was great for the town."

Fat Sally's Pub and Restaurant also enjoyed the busy weekend trade.

The establishment hosted numerous Argentinian fans on Friday night before they headed south to see their team play in Dunedin. The kitchen served more than 140 lunches on Saturday - about four times more than usual.

Empire Backpackers manager Wendy Walker said Argentinian, English, Welsh, French and Indian tourists packed the premises on Friday and Saturday nights.

Ms Walker said the custom was "a real bonus" and "very rare for this time of year".

National colours, especially the blue and white stripes of Argentina, were prominent at the inaugural Oamaru Farmers' Market held in the historic precinct on Sunday.

Tracy Kirk of the Top 10 Holiday Park said there was only one more van on site compared to last year.

There had been a rise in units rented to tourists in rental cars, but the number of vans frequenting the site had steadily dropped since the recession, she said.

The Rugby World Cup had meant more people staying at the park, but the Christchurch quakes contributed to "the slowest year we've ever had".


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