Plane pain over hotel stay

CLAIMS of unreasonable hotel policies during one of Temora’s busiest weekends of the year have left tourists and the mayor disappointed.

Temora Aviation Museum’s Warbirds Downunder 2013 event is estimated to attract up to 12,000 people to the Riverina in November.

Tickets aren’t even on sale yet but self-professed “serious fan” Ben Longden called to arrange accommodation this week.

The Echuca resident said he felt concerned by the fact there was a four-night minimum stay at the Temora Motel and that it could be happening elsewhere.

Mr Longden said he didn’t have an issue with increasing prices during peak periods, but when it was only a one-day event four nights seemed excessive.

“This is an increase of 400 per cent on a single night’s accommodation,” he said.

“I feel like it’s taking advantage of the world’s greatest aviation museum.”

Mr Longden said he was now staying somewhere out of town even though he wanted to support Temora business and has been doing so on regular visits for years.

When contacted about the issue, Temora Motel’s Irene Broad said it was normal for them to put in place a minimum-night stay policy during busy periods.

“This is a common policy found across motels both locally and internationally,” she said in a statement.

“It ensures that customers have a security in their booking as motels can easily book out 12 months in advance during peak periods in town.

“The visitors are therefore benefiting from their security and the town’s overall business and tourism economy is boosted.

“We would like to see tourists staying longer and enjoying the shopping, food, and overall hospitality of Temora.”

Chief executive of Temora Aviation Museum Kenny Love said motels had the right to run their business as they saw fit, but he was disappointed if visitors to the museum were frustrated.

“I only found out about some motels charging a four-night minimum yesterday and I am disappointed it is taking place,” he said.

“It is a select number of motels and it is disappointing because we work very hard to get people to Temora and spend a lot of time and resources advertising and promoting Temora and the Temora Aviation Museum.

“Warbirds Downunder is a very popular event and visitors shouldn’t be discouraged as there are plenty of accommodation options available other than motels such as homestays, B&Bs and plenty of available camping space.”

Temora’s mayor Rick Firman also chose the word “disappointed” to express his feelings about the issue.

“If it was the case we would be extremely disappointed because of all the hard work council has done with tourism,” he said.

“I believe the vast majority would keep their policies the same and be fine.”

Riverina Regional Tourism executive officer Linda Tillman declined to comment on the matter.

Temora Aviation Museum’s Warbirds Downunder 2013 event is expected to draw a large crowd but aircraft enthusiasts already have concerns about accommodation demands.

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