City's exposure to boost tourism
The Rugby World Cup might be over, but Auckland is set to see the benefits for years to come.
A tourism expert says the exposure the city received during the event will see a new generation of international visitors travel here, along with New Zealanders who have a new appreciation for the city.
Fourteen matches were held in the city, including both semi-finals and the final, which meant the city was showcased to the world through international television coverage. The city also featured in special shows on CNN and Al Jazeera, which were broadcast around the world.
Approximately 80,000 people have travelled to New Zealand - mostly to Auckland - for the tournament in the past three months, and they have spent millions in the city. Last weekend alone, an estimated $67m was expected to be spent.
Almost 750,000 tickets were sold to Auckland matches, and The Cloud on Queen's Wharf welcomed over a million visitors.
Mayor Len Brown says the success of the tournament marks Auckland as an "outstanding" major events centre.
"Our citizens are telling us loud and clear that they want Auckland to be an events city, and that is the direction we are going.
"This may be the end of Rugby World Cup 2011 but it is just the beginning of Auckland's time as an international major events destination."
He says Aucklanders embraced the event like no other in its history and had been "fantastic" hosts.
Brown says the development of the city's infrastructure has shown other Kiwis what Auckland has to offer, and thousands of international visitors would also return home talking about New Zealand.
Tourism Research Institute expert Dr Michael Luck says the event puts New Zealand "on the map" and Auckland will see benefits from repeat visitors.
"There will certainly be a new generation of additional tourists coming.
"People who have been here could have kind of an affiliation or a heart for New Zealand already, and they are longing to come back."
Luck compares the success of the tournament to when Auckland hosted the America's Cup.
"Having been down at The Cloud and Wynyard Quarter and Queen St, no-one can tell me there is no economic benefit there.
"It's amazing how many people are here and they're spending money."
He says souvenir, rugby and sports shops are full of visitors spending money.
But he says we should not overlook the benefit from domestic tourism.
"We always think about overseas visitors but generally domestic tourism generates much, much more money than international tourism."
He says with the spread of games across the country many domestic tourists travelled from region to region.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development's destination manager Rachael Dacy says it has received positive feedback about the tournament at visitor centres, fan zones and on Auckland streets.
"Auckland's tourism industry has delivered a warm welcome to international visitors in the true spirit of manaakitanga."
She says Auckland had been showcased to a "huge global television audience".
"This, along with the word-of-mouth recommendations, bodes well to help drive the future of tourism in Auckland."
RUGBY WORLD CUP IN NUMBERS
Almost 750,000 fans attended World Cup matches in the city.
121,141 people walked the fan trail.
More than 550,000 people used public transport to travelled to and from matches.
Almost 20,000 people welcomed teams at the airport, Aotea Square and marae.
13,600 watched teams at public training sessions.
More than 1 million people visited Queen's Wharf.
Regional fan zones hosted 96,480 for the knock-out stages of the tournament.