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Lions test pumps record millions into Wellington

9 December 2005

Lions test pumps record millions into Wellington

The Lions-All Blacks rugby test produced a record financial windfall for the Capital, according to a report completed for Wellington City Council.

The economic impact report, by consultants McDermott Miller, shows visitors coming for the match on July 2 brought with them $23.2 million in extra spending - $15.9 million from international travellers.

The vast majority of overseas visitors said they would like to come back and would recommend Wellington to others.

The gains are a record for city events, eclipsing those from the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2000, which brought in an extra $17 million.

The Lions test created 330 full time equivalent jobs and meant major spending gains for the following sectors:
- accommodation (29 percent)
- restaurants/cafes (28 percent)
- retailing (9 percent)
- other business services (28 percent)

The McDermott Miller report, based on surveys of visitors, also highlights the fact that people said they would come back to the Capital.

Nearly all (98 percent) international visitors rated Wellington as very good or good and 82 percent said they were very likely or likely to return. Nine out of ten said they were likely to recommend the city to family and friends.

Comments from survey respondents talked about Wellington in glowing terms – “atmosphere is fantastic”, “vibrant city”, “scenery beautiful”.

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast says the report shows the Lions tour was fantastic for the city. “It was the biggest party we’ve ever had. People came here from the UK and Ireland in droves, liked what we had to offer and are spreading the word that Wellington is a brilliant holiday destination.”

Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive Tim Cossar says the report shows the value of hosting major events. “Large events, when run well as the Lions game was, create a lasting positive image of the city among visitors that’s worth millions of dollars in advertising.”

While the report did not examine the impact of the British Lions versus Vodafone Wellington Lions game, the gains from that were also significant.

The Council’s Director of Recreation and Events, Derek Fry, says the Lions v Lions match produced greater returns than an international Super 12 clash and would have pulled in as much as $5 million.

ENDS

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