Christchurch City Councillors have approved a $275,000 support package for a series of international bowls events to be held in Christchurch between 2013 and 2016, culminating in the World Bowls Championships in 2016
The money will support three lead-up tournaments, and the World Bowls Championships – all of which are expected to generate at least $5.6 million for the local economy. More than 340 players from 28 countries will attend the Championship event alone.
Council Recreation and Sports Unit Manager John Filsell says this presented a fantastic opportunity to showcase Canterbury sport and is an important achievement for the city. Hosting high profile events like this was a strong indicator that we are moving forward following the earthquakes.
“The $275,000 investment represents a small proportion of the $1.6 million cost of staging the events. This is great value for money given the economic return to the city is going to be around $5.6 million.
“A major international event like this will support a visitor industry that, as a result of February’s earthquake, is predicting hard times in the near future. Previous experience shows that participants of the Championships are ‘destination travellers’ in that they will incorporate a travelling holiday in their games participation.”
Bowls NZ won the rights to host the World Championships in Christchurch in 2016, following the huge success of the 2008 tournament, also held in Christchurch.
In the two years following the 2008 event, participation rates in the sport increased by 5.72 per cent, with more than 100,000 kiwis now playing the sport either casually or as club bowlers.
Mr Filsell says the $275,000 funding would come from interest earned from the Capital Endowment Fund, not from rates, and funding will be made across four financial years.
Bowls NZ Chief Executive Kerry Clark says he is thrilled with the support package approved by Christchurch City Council.
“This investment validates the significance of the World Bowls Championships for Christchurch and the excellent planning and leadership undertaken to bring this pinnacle bowls event back to New Zealand.
“We’re committed to playing our part in rebuilding Christchurch and are confident our bowls events will generate a positive economic impact for the Canterbury region.
“As with the 2008 World Bowls Championships, we know that Christchurch will be the perfect host for 2016 and look forward to partnering with Christchurch City Council to ensure this.”