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Rugby World Cup to draw 85,000 visitors

16/12/2010 01:57:02 PM Comments (0)

Rugby World Cup organisers say they are on track to draw 85,000 international visitors and gross $A201 million in ticket sales for the sport's 2011 showpiece in New Zealand.

In an announcement to mark the end of the year, Rugby New Zealand 2011 Ltd chief executive Martin Snedden said key match ticket sales and revenue targets have been met in 2010.

Since the sales program was launched earlier this year, 864,000 tickets have been sold, nearly two-thirds of the overall target of 1.45 million sales across the 48 matches. About 662,000 of those have been sold through RNZ 2011's global public ticket phases.

Ticket sales revenue totals $NZ166 million ($A124.5 million).

"This is a very good position to be in with 267 days to go until kickoff," Snedden said.

"We still have a lot left to do, but event preparations, coupled with ticket sales to date and strong international visitorship projections, mean we are getting ourselves in good shape to host the tournament."

"We are on track to achieve the forecast total ticket sales revenue of $NZ268 million ($A201 million).

(That target) was always going to be a big leap into the unknown given that the biggest grossing event previously in New Zealand's history was the 2005 Lions tour during which the NZRU grossed $NZ24 million from ticket sales.

"We've now achieved seven times that figure. In the end, we'll need to do 11 times that amount to hit budget."

Snedden said the official travel and hospitality program was "tracking strongly", with sales to date exceeding forecasts. Some of the offical agents had already sold out of semi-finals and finals travel packages.

A survey of ticket purchasers had helped RNZ 2011 estimate the number of visitors.

Snedden said at least 55,000 international visitors would come courtesy of the public ticket program while another 30,000 will have signed up to official packages.

"Attracting visitors is a key part of the benefits of staging a Rugby World Cup. It's terrific that 44 per cent of these FIT (free and independent travellers) visitors will be coming to New Zealand for the first time.

"Furthermore, almost half of those surveyed have indicated an intention to arrive before the opening match on September 9 with the average length of FIT stay being 23 days.

"Many intend travelling right around the country. While the bulk of visitors (36,500) expect at some stage to visit Auckland, at least 11,000 say they will also travel down the West Coast of the South Island and 18,000 to Otago and Southland. Regions up and down New Zealand will benefit."

Rugby World Cup Limited managing director Mike Miller, in New Zealand to check on progress at AMI Stadium in Christchurch and the new stadium being built in Dunedin, was confident tournament preparations are on track.

"Stadium Christchurch will be an exceptional rugby World Cup venue and I have no doubt Otago Stadium will not only be ready on time, but will quickly establish itself as one of the finest sporting venues in the world with its innovative design and exceptional spectator experience," Miller said.

"What I am seeing, having made several visits to New Zealand in the past year, is a country that is advanced in its preparations to host a fantastic Rugby World Cup. This Tournament is all about partnership and I am delighted to say that all stakeholders, including the New Zealand government, are geared towards hosting a tournament that New Zealanders and the global rugby family can be proud of."

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