With many of Hamilton's major hotels being used for COVID-19 managed isolation facilities and emergency housing, organisers of the country's largest agricultural event have announced a 'campervan village' will be set up this year to help meet accommodation needs for exhibitors.
Last year Fieldays was forced to go completely online due to COVID-19. This year, however, the event is scheduled to be held once again at Mystery Creek, taking place June 16-19.
More than 130,000 people normally attend the event over its four days, and organisers hope the campervan village will go some way to taking pressure off exhibitors, who not only face a lack of accommodation options this year but also price hikes during the event from the places that do exist.
"Without the exhibitors, our customers, Fieldays wouldn’t be the success it is today," says Fieldays event manager Lee Picken.
"That's why it will be great to have convenient and affordable accommodation for them that will allow them to focus on what they do best."
The accommodation solution is a team effort between the NZ National Fieldays Society, the Hamilton City Council and Tourism Holdings Ltd (THL).
The village will be located at Claudelands Oval, with THL providing two-berth and six-berth Britz and Maui campers for the event.
Organisers said the village will be fully serviced, with a breakfast buffet available on-site, including takeaway options.
Bus transfers between the village and Mystery Creek will also be available for exhibitors.
"We've already received high interest so far from Fieldays exhibitors regarding the village, so it shows the dire need for these accommodation options for large events," says Taryn Storey, NZ National Fieldays Society's head of strategy and customer engagement.
"I think there is potential for the same fully-serviced model to be rolled out for future events nationwide."
Jason Dawson, chief executive of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, said Fieldays was vital for boosting the local economy, and in 2019 generated $183 million in sales revenue for Waikato.