Cup to boost Whanga¯rei’s econ­omy

The Northland Age - - Local News - North­land will also gain from event By Dan­ica MacLean

Bring­ing the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup to the south­ern hemi­sphere for the first time is ex­pected to pro­vide a boost to the Far North’s tra­di­tional tourism off-sea­son.

The tour­na­ment, ex­panded from 23 days to 35 days, will be played in July and Au­gust.

New Zealand won the bid to host the tour­na­ment. It will be hosted in Auck­land and Whanga¯rei, with the fi­nal and pos­si­bly the semi­fi­nals, played at Eden Park, though a quar­ter fi­nal may be played in Whanga¯rei. It is ex­pected to bring mil­lions of dol­lars to Whanga¯rei’s econ­omy, but the rest of North­land is ex­pected to ben­e­fit too.

North­land tourism leader Jeroen Jonge­jans said the tour­na­ment will see vis­i­tors in North­land from as early as May through to the end of the tour­na­ment, “our tra­di­tional off­sea­son”. He said a pos­i­tive about that is the re­gion will have plenty of ca­pac­ity.

“It won’t dis­place any­body else,” he said.

In­stead he said the year will start with its usual peak, drop a bit lower, then peak for the WRWC pe­riod, then go up again for the next sum­mer.

“It’s a real pos­i­tive event for Whanga¯rei and North­land as well, we will all ben­e­fit.”

He said vis­i­tors will spend money on ac­com­mo­da­tion, en­ter­tain­ment and food.

“They’re not go­ing to sit in Whanga¯rei. They’ll be trav­el­ling to the Bay of Is­lands, the Hokianga, the Far North.”

Jonge­jans said the teams will also have recre­ational days when they can ex­plore the re­gion.

He said the chal­lenge is to be ready — to keep enough staff on to be able to de­liver the prod­ucts.

“The in­creases in tourism turnover and job op­por­tu­ni­ties will be quite sig­nif­i­cant.”

In other changes to the tour­na­ment sched­ule, there will be four days be­tween pool games and five to six be­tween knock­out games. Jonge­jans said those days in be­tween would be “ideal for a lit­tle tiki-tour around” and those peo­ple would be stay­ing in North­land.

He said it’s also ideal for peo­ple in Auck­land to travel and ex­plore North­land.

PIC­TURE / MICHAEL CUN­NING­HAM

North­land Women’s team play­ers Amanda Nepia, Chanel Mur­ray, Bron­wyn “Hor­sie” Hames, coach Suzy Daw­son, North­land Rugby Union pres­i­dent Sharon Mor­gan and player Kat Wira-Kohu are cel­e­brat­ing the Women’s Rugby World Cup com­ing to the re­gion.

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