Mauro Barsi, ceo Mauro Barsi, ceo

Alexandra Park functions to be placed in hibernation

With the impact of Covid-19 on the Hospitality and Events industries, together with extended physical distancing and the general curtailment of mass gatherings, Alexandra Park has had to re-evaluate the viability of its’ functions business. This is the stark reality shared by many in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Mauro Barsi, ceo, says, “Alexandra Park is a complex, multi-faceted business that comprises; large scale tenancies on land owned by the Auckland Trotting Club Inc, a major harness racing and public events venue, a training tack facility based at Franklin Park in Pukekohe, a TAB, a gaming room a sports bar, and a large- scale functions and events business using on site facilities.” To this end, Barsi says, the ATC Board and executive team have conducted a carefully considered and robust review of the business in the current COVID-19 operating climate, as well as looking as best they can to when and what a post pandemic functions future might look like.

Both the commercial and social uncertainty around how and when large scale, social hospitality and events can return has led the Board to making what Mauro describes as “the toughest of calls,” to place the functions and events part of the business into hibernation. At the heart of this are some “highly valued employees who we will sadly be losing from our business, but our actions now will allow the remaining team to focus on the parts of the business that have a higher chance of recovering more quickly.”

”Our immediate focus is to support our core commitment to employees and the racing industry. We need to ensure a return to racing with a world-class track and services for our human and equine athletes.”

The organisation is optimistic that a return to racing will signal the beginning of a major restart for its business, although it is expected that this will initially take place without spectators. This negates both the need and ability to deliver large scale hospitality experiences Alexandra Park and its guests previously enjoyed. Mauro is however positive that the popular ‘The Alex Bar and Eatery,’ will reopen with a food and beverage offering when the relevant level permits.