Aside from disappointing rugby fans of Queenstown, the shift
of the National Rugby Sevens tournament to Rotorua has left
the resort's accommodation and bar owners disheartened.
For the past decade, the national tournament has reeled in
crowds of more than 10,000 over two days, with most of those
flowing into bars, restaurants and accommodation outlets.
Business owners in Queenstown, well aware of this, are
bracing themselves for what may be a noticeable drop in
revenue from January 2014.
On Friday, the New Zealand Rugby Union announced the
competition will shift to Rotorua in 2014 and 2015, after
being held in Queenstown since 2003.
Queenstown will host its final event on January 12-13 next
year. Base Backpackers and Altitude Bar general manager Rich
Deane yesterday said he was disheartened to see the
tournament leave town as it had always delivered big crowds
to both the bar and the lodge.
''It's always been a busy weekend for us. It will be sad to
see it leave.''
Mr Deane said the biggest loss would be felt by bars and
nightclubs as the weekend had traditionally brought one of
the busiest nights of the year - the biggest being New Year's
''You could always tell that town was busy and the nightlife
will be the most affected by it.''
The loss for the backpackers was not entirely clear, he said,
as it was hard to know whether the influx of visitors was
because of the sevens or because it was mid-January.
Queenstown Lakes District Council Holiday Parks general
manager Greg Hartshorne agreed it would be a big loss.
However, the time of year meant the numbers lost in sevens
fans would be made up in summer holidaymakers.
''Of course we will notice it. If anything leaves town, it's
business that is lost for many of us and it is gone
Rotorua has gained a two-year contract, after which the NZRU
will review its success.
Mr Hartshorne said if the tournament had been held in a
shoulder season, such as May or November, the impact would
have been much larger because the lost bookings would be hard
''It's been a good money-earner for Queenstown as a whole.''
Mr Hartshorne said the biggest loss for the resort was the
television coverage, as it was ''free'' advertising for
Local drinking establishment the Pig and Whistle has been one
of the tournament's traditional meeting points at play's end.
General manager Brent Edgerton said the loss would most
definitely affect trade and ''leave a massive hole''.
''It was always a massive weekend for us ... there is nothing
we can do about it.''
The NZRU said the change was made as it wished to ''upscale''
the event ahead of the game being included in the 2016
The new location is an attempt to take the tournament to a
Next year, Queenstown will host six women's sevens team for
the first time.