Cup expected to boost flagging visitor nights

The Rugby World Cup is expected to cause a spike in big-spending international visitors to Dunedin, a report shows.

While international visitor nights to Dunedin increased 1.7% last year from the previous year, they are tipped to increase 5.8% this year due to the September/October tournament.

However, international growth last year was tempered by more than 27,000 fewer domestic visitors to the city, which resulted in an overall drop in visitor nights from 860,649 in 2009 to 838,933 last year.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said the Canterbury earthquake in September had an impact on the domestic market, with Cantabrians the second-highest domestic visitors after people from Otago.

The loss of Pacific Blue direct flights to Auckland also had an impact, he said.

Mr Saxton said the World Cup was expected to lead to an increase in overseas visitors, particularly high-spending English rugby fans.

The Tourism Dunedin half-yearly report notes that for 2010, the city's market share of total visitor nights was 2.6%; of domestic visitor nights, 2.51%; and of international commercial visitor nights, 2.73%.

Cruise-ship passengers were not included in Dunedin visitor nights, but cruise numbers were expected to double this season compared with 2009-10.

Dunedin visitor nights

Commercial visitor nights   2009  —  2010

Domestic:       499,828  —  472,651
International:  360,821  —  366,284
Total:             860,649  —  838,933

SOURCE: Commercial Accommodation Monitor 

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