Over a million sporting enthusiasts are expected to descend upon Auckland in New Zealand (NZ) in September as the destination plays host to the Rugby World Cup 2011, one of the biggest international events in the sporting calendar.
This year’s competition will be especially intense as thousands of All Black fans spur on their team to win, in the hopes that as the host destination for 2011, this will be the year the NZ team claim their second ever victory (the first being back in 1987).
France, England and Australia pose as steep competition for NZ, who will play their first match on September 9th 2011 against Tonga.
Earlier this year, NZ was in the media spotlight following the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Christchurch, resulting in the death of 181 residents. But in a defiant move, despite speculation and rumors that the games would be moved to Australia, NZ has stood strong as the host destination for the
Rugby World Cup, putting itself on the map as a leading sports tourism destination.
Tourism already plays a significant role in the New Zealand economy and creates many job opportunities.
In 2010, tourism expenditure was $22.4 billion, an increase of 2.1 per cent from the previous year.
International tourism increased by 1.6 per cent to $9.5 billion and contributed 18.2 per cent to NZ’s total exports of goods and services.
Eden Park will host the final of the Rugby World Cup later this year
In recent years the integration of spectator and participation Sport Tourism has seen the sector become the industry’s fastest growing and this ‘rising giant’ is now worth in excess of $600 billion, an astonishing 14 per cent of overall travel & tourism receipts.
The popularity of the Rugby World Cup was illustrated recently with confirmed sales of one million tickets. In conjunction with this huge demand from fans who want to keep up to date with the latest news and developments, a Facebook page was recently set up by the Rugby World Cup organisers, RNZ 2011 Ltd.
With over 1.3 million “likes”, The Rugby World Cup Facebook page has become the biggest social network fan site in NZ, followed closely by the All Blacks fan page, according to reports.
Facebook has been a cost-efficient way to spread an international message about tickets and was an effective forum for the Rugby World Cup organisers to answer questions about the tournament and stimulate fan “banter”.
A recent posting updates fans that the Rugby World Cup 2011 Roadshow is currently touring NZ with an update of locations, photos and videos, building up momentum.
The Facebook fan numbers, which are expected to grow to two million in September, reflect the levels of interest that big sporting events are capable of generating.
Visa recently released findings of a report that illustrated the positive impact of mega-sporting events and the influence they have on tourism spending in the event
The report analysed Visa cardholder spending patterns and revealed a significant increase in expenditure during three recent mega-events: 2010 FIFA
World Cup South Africa, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Beijing 2008 Olympics Games.
These increases in spending gave each host country the chance to shine on the global stage.
“These three events have been catalysts of economic recovery for the host country and nations surrounding it in terms of international tourism spending.” explained Antonio Lucio, Visa’s chief marketing officer
South Africa beat England in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France
World Sport Tourism Congress
For the first time this year, alongside the climax of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the World Sport Tourism Congress will take place on October 10th-14th 2011 on the luxury cruise ship – the P&O Pacific Dawn – and will comprise of four days of inspirational panel debates, leading-edge presentations and priceless networking opportunities, all conducted whilst cruising in style around New
Zealand’s beautiful Bay of Islands.
The fully-inclusive cruise package departs from Queen’s Wharf, Auckland on October 10th, returning on October 14th in time for the Rugby World Cup Semi Finals.
Themed “Sharing the Sport and Tourism Boom”, WSTC presents an opportunity for network and engage with industry’s elite, gain invaluable insights from the world’s leading experts and meet face-to-face with the key Sport Tourism buyers as deals are brokered for future sporting events.
Confirmed speakers include: Jeanine Pires (Minster Special Advisor, Rio 2016 Olympics & former President, Embratur), Geoffrey Lipman (Advisor to Secretary General UNWTO), Campbell Jamieson (Commercial Director, International Cricket Council) and Darren Mee (COO, TUI Travel PLC, Specialist & Activity Sector).
The delegate rate of £950 will include access to all sessions on the WSTC programme, four nights accommodation on board the P&O Pacific Dawn, as well as exclusive VIP receptions and gala dinners, as the ship cruises around New Zealand’s North Island.
Also in New Zealand today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Auckland.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are christchurch.city.mobi, hamilton.nz.city.mobi, and wellington.mobi.
auckland.mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.