Auckland has surpassed its visitor expectations for Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) with a 16 per cent increase in visitors from July to October compared to last year.
Statistics New Zealand’s latest International Visitor Arrivals (IVA) data shows that there were 107,000 arrivals to Auckland for the Tournament, which represents 80 per cent of all Rugby World Cup arrivals to New Zealand.
For September and October alone Auckland’s visitor arrivals were up 28 per cent on the same period last year.
The total number of visitors who came to New Zealand for the event was 133,200 against a forecast of 95,000 from July to the end of October.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says this is another great result for the region’s Rugby World Cup 2011 efforts.
“Auckland was buzzing from all the international visitors in our city and the numbers reflect this. This is in addition to the obvious economic benefits of having 100,000 plus visitors in the city over a two month period,” he says.
“I hope that many of our visitors will act as offshore ambassadors, sharing our success with the world and encouraging new and return trips to the region."
As predicted during September and October Auckland welcomed visitors for the event from the traditional Rugby loving countries of Australia (39,437), UK and Ireland (17,563), France (9,867) and South Africa (6,286). There were also 7,356 vistiors from the USA and Argentina.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Manager Tourism, Jason Hill, says the influx of visitors resulted in great sales of tourism activities through Auckland’s i-SITE Visitor Information Centres.
“Throughout the Tournament Auckland’s total combined i-SITE sales spiked, with a 42 per cent increase in sales on the same period last year,” says Mr Hill.
Auckland’s three temporary campervan sites at Westhaven Marina, Alexandra Park and the Waitemata Rugby Club also proved to be a hit, with 5,000 plus nights booked by Rugby-mad visitors.
Mr Hill says the hard work paid off and the reputation benefits will endure.
“The sales results through the i-SITEs were great, but it was the feedback from visitors that really stood out,”
Results from a preliminary visitor survey during the Tournament overwhelmingly showed that visitors felt that Rugby World Cup 2011 in Auckland was a successful event, with 92 per cent of respondents in agreement.
“This impact of word of mouth referrals combined with the positive offshore media exposure will bode well for driving increased visitation,” he says.
ATEED was established by the Auckland Council to improve New Zealand’s economic prosperity by helping lead the successful transformation of Auckland’s economy.