Clock ticks down to world cup
In 72 days an estimated 6000 fans will be in New Zealand for the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC). While the event will not be as big as the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup or the recent British and Irish Lions tour, it will still provide an economic boost, with a report estimating international visitor spending could be about $5 million over the five-week tournament.
The report, commissioned by Rugby League World Cup 2017, says domestic visitor spending was likely to add to that forecast figure. The economic contribution would be dependent on play-off games and NZ hosting a semi-final against England in Auckland, it says.
The event, kicking off on October 27, is co-hosted by NZ, Australia, and Papua New Guinea will also host three pool matches. NZ stages seven of the total 28 games at four venues - Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Wellington.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett believes the event is more likely to bring in $3m.
‘‘That seems low but given the spread of the games and the lower level of interest in league it may be correct,’’ he says.
The 2011 Rugby World Cup brought in $700m, while the 2015 Cricket World Cup grew NZ’s economy by $110m.
NZ Major Events spokeswoman Rebecca Heerdegen says the rugby league tournament is an opportunity to bring the game and tourism to new communities. And it will see the first international test in Hamilton.
‘‘The sectors that tend to benefit the most from major events are in the accommodation and hospitality sectors.
‘‘A comprehensive legacy programme will provide benefits to the rugby league communities, including new training facilities and funding for grass-roots programmes.’’
Nearly 500,000 fans attended the 2013 world cup in England, Wales, France and Ireland, and watched in more than 100 countries. Heerdegen says the 2017 event could attract between 1500 to 6000 visitors to New Zealand, depending on the outcome of pool games.
RLWC general manager Andrea Nelson says while the influx in tourism is good for local businesses, making the event accessible to all and for it to have a lasting legacy on the country are the top priorities.
‘‘Tickets start from just $45 for a family of four.’’