news, local-news,

The Central West’s accommodation sector is set to experience a very different Bathurst 1000 race week this year with vast limitations on regular crowd numbers. With the great race to allow only 4000 spectators a day and camping banned, ticketed spectators will only be allowed entry to watch the race from along Pit Straight, Murray’s Corner and Hell Corner. The restrictions on crowds has, understandably, impacted Bathurst’s hotels and motels as well as those in surrounding areas like Blayney and Orange, with many recording significantly reduced booking numbers. NRMA Bathurst Panorama Holiday Park manager Lauren Shipley said many visitors transferred their bookings to next year’s event under the presumption the race will be allowed to run as normal by then. “We’re probably about a quarter full, it’s not a normal year, that’s for sure,” Ms Shipley said. “A lot of our regular guests are from Western Australia, Victoria and New Zealand, all of which still have strict border measures in place.” “However, since the announcement of the crowd measures for the Bathurst 1000, we have received a few bookings.” The story is much the same at Quality Hotel Bathurst, with manager Luke Newman too noting a “vast majority” of customers pushing their bookings back to next year. “At least 90 per cent of our corporate customers have transferred to 2021,” Mr Newman said. “We do have some regular customers, but they’ve either reduced their numbers or have cancelled altogether.” Mr Newman said the situation is a far cry from previous years, which would normally see rooms booked out well in advance. “Bathurst 1000 visitors would normally have the whole venue booked out for the next year’s race within the month following the previous event,” he said. “We normally open for five-day stays minimum during race week but for this year, it’ll be reduced to one or two-day offerings.” “The other key difference is we always sell rooms in person for race week rather than online, so it’s a completely different ballgame this year.” Bathurst Heritage Motor Inn receptionist Michelle Bawden also noted race weekend was looking “pretty dismal” as far as bookings are concerned. “We’re not even half full at the moment, and normally we’re full well in advance,” Ms Bawden said. “Most regular visitors have pushed their bookings back, and we’re already full for next year.” “We may attract late bookings from visitors who’d normally camp, but it’s hard with a cap on attendance.”