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Marathon generates multi-million dollar boost


The Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon is an event big on numbers – and that goes beyond the sold out 9,000 field of entrants across the various events on Saturday 21 November 2015.

The number of most interest to local businesses is the dollar figure returned to the Queenstown economy thanks to the influx of visitors to the region for the event, either as participants or as friends and family of those donning running shoes. And with an incredible 90% of those entered coming from outside the Queenstown Lakes District, the economic benefits to the area are significant.

As reported last week, 14% of the total entrants are international visitors from 39 countries, each bringing with them international tourist dollars and taking home wonderful memories of a stunning region. Of just as much interest though is the 76% of domestic entrants coming from outside the Queenstown region and the impact that they too have on the local economy.

Lagardere Unlimited CEO Dave Beeche says the event has delivered the perfect makeup of entrants to benefit the local and wider community with locals engaged as contractors, suppliers and volunteers. But in particular, it is the hotel, hospitality and tourism sectors who see maximum benefit.

“We expect the local economic benefit for the Queenstown region to be in excess of $8.5 million, with the average length of stay in town being 3 nights for domestic participants and 5 nights for international participants”.

Christchurch is the biggest single contributing city to the entry list, with 2,147 entrants from the Garden City, with Auckland (1,635) not far behind as North Islanders jump at the chance to see some of the south’s best scenery and enjoy what destination Queenstown has to offer pre and post the race itself!

The demographics of entrants are interesting too, with females easily outnumbering males (62% to 38%) with the youngest competitor being 7 and the oldest 91, and with an average age of 38.

Adam Feeley, Chief Executive of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, said the inaugural marathon had created a buzz within the community that was already building up again, ten days out from the start.

“This district is a paradise for runners and has always been a magnet for visitors, so we weren’t surprised that the marathon attracted such strong entries.”

Mr Feeley said the Council was committed to providing support and encouragement to significant events through its events strategy.

“We’re gearing up to give the runners and their supporters a warm welcome next week.”

Beeche says the logistics for such an event with such an influx of participants take some managing, with no stone left unturned and no detail too small to require attention from a 25 strong event team and over 300 Volunteers.

“While there’s obviously a lot of focus on the overall experience, when you drill down to the smallest details it is incredible what is required for an event of this nature. We know for example that we will go through 79,000 paper cups to keep everyone hydrated with 9,252 litres of water and 8,117 litres of Powerade.

“Over 5,000 cable ties are used around the course to help erect signage and branding and we are very conscious of leaving the environment as we found it with 146 extra rubbish bins being brought in, mainly at the event finish line and prize giving area at the Queenstown Recreation Ground.”

Naming rights partner Air New Zealand is contributing to the huge growth in the event, putting on an incredible 22 extra flights domestic flights in the days leading up to, and after, the event to cope with the influx of visitors and themselves having over 200 staff take part.

CLICK HERE for the event schedule


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