The Southland Times building on Esk Street, purchased by the Invercargill Licensing Trust, has been considered a potential development area for hotel accommodation.
Hospitality leaders said recent and future major events are creating potential for new hotel accommodation in Southland. Members of the Invercargill City Council's Finance and Policy Committee have raised concerns about the availability of accommodation ahead of the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in 2017. Venture Southland enterprise services manager Alistair Adam and tourism leader Warrick Low presented a project and activities report to the committee which said one of the highlights of 2015 was securing the championships for Southland. Low said demand was not limited to either high end or budget accommodation.
"A lot of the people we work with are looking at what Ascot Park do and above. So the challenge isn't really at the low end it's more at the luxury end. Those travelers that regularly do business events are going to be the main business,” Low said.
Demand for hotel accommodation was increasing nationally and there were accommodation options outside the main city, he said. 
"We look at what's happening nationally and the demand for hotel accommodation is going up. I think the industry is changing to deal with it. They've done it before, and they will do it again. Even with Burt Munro, sometimes that means going outside of Invercargill and out to Bluff. But in saying that, evidence suggests the more this happens the more potential there is for development."
Between the Invercargill Licensing Trust and members of the Motel Association of New Zealand, there were just over 500 rooms or units in Invercargill, equating to about 1400 beds. Motels, B&B's, holiday parks and other forms of accommodation added to that total.
Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey said the trust's responsibility was to develop quality accommodation in the city.
"We're positive about the future so we're already making new plans for the future. We are here for the long-haul to serve the Invercargill community, and therefore we're positive about the future. With that in mind, we're already working on the planning feasibility phase of new hotel accommodation. A good example of that is the recent Southland Times site and that's one very positive option for us," Mulvey said.