Hamilton plans to open two new hotels as the council continues phasing local motels out of emergency housing. After reported accommodation shortages during significant events such as the sevens and Fieldays, the council has been discussing developing Hamilton’s high-end accommodation for years.

With Hamilton having missed out on hosting major concerts and conferences due to hotel room shortages, Major Paula Southgate stated that Hamilton has the potential to host larger events. She shared that Hamilton has a good stock of Airbnb accommodation, and following the opening of the new motorway, Auckland is only a “skip, hop, and jump” away, which will help.

“The more accommodation, the bigger and better the events we can host,” Southgate said.

The lack of accommodation could be why the HSBC NZ Sevens event didn’t sell out, according to Waikato Motel Association President Narinder Sagoo. Sagoo detailed that in the heart of Central Hamilton, only six motels were taking guests for the Sevens.

However, more than 24,000 people are on the housing register as of September last year, and Hamilton had 720 “households” in emergency housing throughout the city. Streets dotted with motels became known for crime rather than inviting tourists and visitors.

Emergency housing grants were introduced in 2016, providing shelter to those vulnerable on a short-term basis. Unfortunately, tourism has suffered, and Sagoo is concerned about Hamilton’s future events.

Next on Hamilton’s agenda is the February Play-off Tournament ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Hamilton will host five World Cup games with teams from Norway, Sweden, Argentina, costa Rica, Zambia, Vietnam, Switzerland, and Japan in July and August.

Southgate stipulated that Hamilton was chosen for these major events because the organisers decided Hamilton had “sufficient facilities.” Southgate “wasn’t too concerned” about accommodation capacity, but the need for more is certainly a focus.

The major explained that the government has been working to phase out emergency housing, and four motels should return to normal operations within six months. Hamilton City Council has also been granted resource consent for two hotel projects in the CBD: a 100-room hotel on Ward Street and a 69-room hotel on Hood Street.

“Hamilton does miss out on big-ticket concerts and conferences because we simply don’t have enough hotel rooms in the city,” said Deputy Chief Executive Sean Murray, adding that the council is discussing new hotel opportunities for Hamilton.




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