World Cup not a bonanza
Despite the pre- event hype, visitor numbers actually fell during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
That is Wellington hotelier Chris Parkin’s view and Statistics New Zealand’s analysis bears it out.
‘‘Instead of producing a bumper year it produced a pretty average year because the relatively small gains from matches in Wellington were in part affected by normal business staying away in droves,’’ he said.
Mr Parkin owns the Museum Hotel and he said would-be travellers from New Zealand assumed there would be no accommodation available.
The cup attracted about 100,000 visitors to New Zealand during the world cup month.
‘‘ A 100,000 visitors sounds quite impressive but if you even out our annual visitor count, it’s not far short of 200,000 in a month.
‘‘So what we are talking about is half of one month’s travel,’’ Mr Parkin said.
Statistics New Zealand figures support Mr Parkin’s impression. They show rises in international visitors were offset by falls in domestic guest nights, resulting in a net gain of 0.3 per cent for September and a fall of 1.5 per cent for October compared with the previous year.
Wellington City Council spent $1.8 million on Festival of Carnivale content, fan zone costs, security, tournament costs and training venue costs, aiming to achieve an economic benefit of about $45 million.
It also spent $150,000 of commercial ratepayers’ money on a village around the Wharewaka and $ 350,000 for a Rugby World Cup sculpture by Weta Workshop, and $350,000 of general rates on extra street cleaning and $ 37,000 upgrading Newtown Park.
Mr Parkin said there was no dispute that the cup was good for the nation as a whole, particularly as we won.
‘‘ More than just economically, but psychologically it was good for New Zealand,’’ he said.
‘‘ I think we are perhaps starting to recover our confidence on the world stage.
‘‘We are starting to see ourselves do better than other countries in the world. ‘‘The New Zealand dollar is very strong. ‘‘At the end of the day, that’s how the world tends to measure your economic success.’’
However, there were other events ratepayers’ money could be spent on for a better return, he said.
As far as Wellington was concerned the best investment was the World of Wearable Arts because it brings visitors from outside Wellington over a longer period.
‘‘Events we want to fund are ones that occur annually, occur over a longer period of time and result in a steady flow of visitors from outside Wellington.’’
Positively Wellington Tourism chief executive David Perks said the agency also spent $194,000 on cup events, mostly aimed at optimising its economic benefits rather than running it.
Positively Wellington Tourism’s own monitoring of hotel guest nights found a increase of 6 per cent in September 2011 over the previous year followed by a 2 per cent decline in October.
However, there had been a significant shift from domestic travellers to international tourists.
He said events impacted on different areas of the local economy.
The World of Wearable Arts had a strong impact on retail, whereas the Rugby World Cup’s impact was more general.
‘‘No sector would have seen a boom time, but every sector would have seen an increase.’’
It was important to cultivate a spread of events across the whole year, he said.
Disappointed: The Rugby World Cup didn’t bring guests to Chris Parkin’s Museum Hotel.