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British pop musician Ed Sheeran will perform in Dunedin over Easter

Timaru businesses are hoping for a slice of the $34million bonanza predicted to be generated by the Ed Sheeran concerts in Dunedin over Easter.

More than 60,000 visitors are expected to attend the three concerts by the British pop sensation, and it is anticipated many will come through Timaru on the way to the shows.

Aoraki Development operations manager Di Hay said the recently amended policy allowing South Canterbury businesses to open on Easter Sunday provided a good chance for healthy trading.

“It’s a chance to take up the opportunity and Timaru’s well placed as a midway stopping point to do this.”

Dunedin Venues marketing manager Kim Barnes said the economic impact from the three shows was predicted to be at least $34million.

“Ed is bigger than anything we’ve seen so far.”

She said the prediction was based on revenue generated by previous concerts, such as the Fleetwood Mac concert in 2015, which drew an audience of 35,000 and generated $8.9million.

The Dunedin City Council had also allowed trading on Easter Sunday as a result of the expected economic impact of the Ed Sheeran shows.

Ms Hay said while it was up to individual businesses to decide if they would open, the Timaru CBD Society was supporting any businesses wanting to take advantage of the new Easter Sunday trading policy.

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith congratulated the Timaru District Council for adopting the policy.

While she did not know how many businesses would opt to open on Easter Sunday, the expected increase in visitors coming through over the long weekend would help those who did, she said.

“A positive impact should also be felt in Geraldine to enable business owners to service the ever-increasing flow of tourists.”

Ms Hay said hospitality businesses were usually pretty busy at Easter and in addition to the traffic coming through town, there were other events on in the area, including the South Alps Country Music Awards and an in-line skating event, that would mean more people were about town.

“We’ve also been told that some people are choosing to stay in Timaru rather than Dunedin on the way to the Ed Sheeran concerts as they don’t want to pay the hiked-up accommodation prices in Dunedin,” she said.

“It should all add up to a busy weekend in Timaru and retail and hospitality businesses have the chance to reap the benefits of this.”

Ed Sheeran will play at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on March 29, 31 and April 1.