They came, they saw, and the All Blacks conquered.
But off the pitch, the 2011 Rugby World Cup was also a
success, proving the country could host major global events,
Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully said yesterday
as he released the report ''The Stadium of Four Million''.
''Feedback shows the Rugby World Cup 2011 exceeded the
expectations of the global rugby community, media, and
The report noted the tournament attracted 133,000
international visitors, far exceeding the pre-tournament
estimates of between 71,000 and 85,000.
The economic impact of the tournament was estimated at $1.73
billion, with the equivalent of 29,990 jobs sustained for a
year, Mr McCully said.
Dunedin hosted four matches at Forsyth Barr Stadium (renamed
as Otago Stadium) during the tournament, with an average
attendance of 25,000.
''The Otago Stadium was one of the region's highlights - and
not just local but around the country. Almost everyone
involved - including journalists and teams - lauded its
atmosphere and design,'' the report said.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
hosting several high-profile matches at Otago Stadium,
including Italy v Ireland and England v Argentina, helped
contribute to the coffers of the city and wider region.
''It is a fantastic endorsement of a facility the city has
provided. It has obviously not been built for the Rugby World
Cup but it is great to get that feedback and it bodes well
for us being able to host significant test matches in the
Otago recorded the second highest increase in electronic
transactions in terms of volume by overseas cards (11%)
behind Auckland (30.6%), but ahead of Canterbury (10.8%),
Wellington (10.4%), and Waikato (7.9%).
While the actual travel patterns of international visitors
were unknown, electronic payment card data indicated Otago
was second (13%) to Auckland (36%) for overall international
visitor days; ahead of Canterbury (11%) Wellington (10%) and
Both Mr McCully and Mr Christie said the report on the
country's Rugby World Cup experience would help New Zealand
prepare for other major events.
However the experience was mixed for some accommodation
Rooms in Auckland, which hosted the semifinals and the final,
were full, while other parts of the country were not as busy,
''particularly in the South Island, such as in Queenstown'',
the report noted.
Across the country, retail, accommodation and restaurant
activity was up 2.2% in the December quarter, which was the
highest quarterly level since records began in 1986.
Some respondents to a survey reported variable results -
while their businesses benefitted from increased
international visitors, domestic tourism was down and the
distance from game venues affected some operators.
The report notes it may have been possible that 20,000
potential international visitors in September and 25,000
visitors in October altered their New Zealand travel plans
due to the RWC tournament.
Another survey cited in the report found the average spending
by international rugby visitors was $3400, compared with an
average of $2400 for all visitors. Australian visitors topped
the list at 55,200, with the UK second with 19,100.