Measures for Masters

EXTRA measures are being put in place to ensure Naracoorte can cope with an influx of people for the upcoming Masters Games.

With hundreds, if not thousands of visitors coming to town for the games, the organising committee is looking to set up a "home stay" register to house visitors should the designated hotels, caravan park and bed and breakfasts be filled up.

Masters Games coordinator Jan Bittner said she did not want to cause a panic by setting up the register - it was merely a precaution.

"The reality is the accommodation is being taken up," she told the Herald. "We want to put plan B into place in case we need it.

"Accommodation isn't a problem yet, we don't want people to get that impression."

The Naracoorte Visitor Information Centre is the main contact point for accommodation in town.

There are currently 350 beds in accommodation venues around the Naracoorte Lucindale Council area - including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and campsites - which Mrs Bittner estimates will largely be filled up closer to the games.

In a report to Naracoorte Lucindale Council, tourism and venues coordinator Vicki Modistach said the centre was gearing up for a busy period, with the SE Field Days in March and the games in April.

She reported accommodation enquiries were "steady" but at this stage accommodation was still available for that period.

Mrs Bittner told the Herald "well over 200" athletes had already registered for the games, with interest coming from around the State and as far away as Sydney.

While a portion of the visitors come from the local area and the wider SE region - such as Mount Gambier and Bordertown, both within comfortable driving distance - a large percentage will need a place to stay.

It is expected well over 1000 athletes will compete at the games, which Mrs Bittner said could make things interesting regarding accommodation.

"It probably will be tight," she said. "Mainly towards the end (closer to the games) most of the accommodation should be full."

Mrs Bittner said people interested in providing home stay accommodation could sign up to the register via the visitor information centre and from there the process would start.

"We're looking for people if they have any interest to get in touch with the VIC," she said. "They will do the list.

"If they have a spare caravan, spare house, granny flat or even a spare bedroom that'd be useful.

"The VIC will take people's details, including referees that we could contact to determine suitability."

She explained it was not a billet system where people will be placed randomly in the accommodation offered, but merely a means for people to get in touch.

This ensures athletes and visitors to the town only end up staying with people they feel comfortable and happy to stay with over the weekend of the games.

"How the register works is we're putting people into contact with each other," Mrs Bittner said.

"Who they will talk to and then decide if they fit - it's very much up to the individual where they stay."

Mrs Bittner said there were other alternative accommodation spots in the region, with Padthaway and Penola in close enough proximity to Naracoorte.

Last time the town hosted the games, in 2011, there were similar concerns about accommodation which in the end turned out to not be a problem.

People coming to town often had friends and relatives that could house them for the weekend.

Naracoorte Holiday Park operator Marj Sanderson said the register could be a good thing to have on stand-by should people need it.

She said all the park's cabins were booked out for the weekend of April 4-6, with a good number of those bookings being Masters Games athletes - and some of the more serious ones booked as soon as the dates were announced.

"We've got about 100 guests booked between the cabins and powered sites," Mrs Sanderson said.

"We still have the capacity to accept more guests, a lot of the athletes' age demographic do have a they can go to the games wherever they are."

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