Cricket World Cup boss sees tourism spinoffs

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 22/07/2014

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New Zealand 2015 Cricket World Cup chief executive Therese Walsh is making sure this summer's event and the opportunities around it are on the aviation industry's radar.

Walsh said tens of thousands of tourists were expected to visit New Zealand for the tournament, being co-hosted with Australia and starting on February 14.

"We've had various reports done estimating the number anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000 coming for the Cricket World Cup.

"Ticket sales in terms of internationals are trending much higher than I expected . . . Every country you can possibly imagine is on the list to come and has bought tickets."

Walsh made the comments yesterday before addressing Aviation New Zealand's inaugural Aviation Leadership Summit at Westpac Stadium.

The venue was apt, given that Walsh picks the capital to do well financially out of the tournament.

"From a Wellington perspective, they've probably got one of the best parts of the draw in that they've got England for two games. England play New Zealand [February 20] and the following weekend they're playing Sri Lanka.

"Getting the Barmy Army here is a priceless opportunity."

Wellington would also host a quarterfinal clash, Walsh said.

"If the Black Caps make it through they will be in that game. If not, it will be two other top teams."

Unlike the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which had a strong Pacific flavour, the Cricket World Cup would have more of a focus on the subcontinent, where the game is treated almost as a religion.

"Fans from the subcontinent tend to be quite young and quite wealthy . . . and you need to look at boutique tourism opportunities.

"Harnessing that opportunity, making sure the aviation industry is well presented and well connected to the opportunity, is what is critical."

There will be 49 World Cup matches at 14 venues on 44 days.

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- The Dominion Post

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