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Positive economic impact of rugby in Dunedin

5 October 2005

Positive economic impact of rugby events in Dunedin

A report released this week has revealed the substantial economic impact of the 2005 DHL Lions Tour held in June and July this year. The tour generated a total GDP impact of $135.2 million, which includes an estimated $123.3 million from international visitors. This is more than twice the international visitor impact generated by the combined America’s Cup defences in 2000 and 2003.

The report focussed on the Auckland and Dunedin regions. The series generated additional revenue of $7.5 million in Dunedin, drawn from 5170 international visitors and 13900 domestic travellers. These figures highlight the value of domestic tourism associated with major rugby events, as 66% of the additional expenditure in Dunedin during the series came from domestic visitors.

Tourism Dunedin CEO Jan Hindson said ‘that the real importance of this GDP figure is that it would not have existed without the Lions game’. The study focussed on visitors to the city only, so the $5.6 million was in effect an outside cash injection to our economy. This revenue would support the equivalent of 145 full-time employees for one year, showing the positive effects on employment of holding such events in Dunedin.

The economic benefits of the Lions Series in Dunedin were felt across many sectors. Food and beverage was the largest area, followed by accommodation, retail spending, visitor attractions, entertainment and domestic transport. While these visitors travelled to Dunedin primarily for rugby, most stayed for 2 to 3 nights, allowing time to enjoy other attractions in the city such as visiting the eco-tourism attractions.

Another benefit for Dunedin was the amount of international media attention attracted by the series. The city gained international recognition from the media coverage of the game, raising the profile of Dunedin as a destination for potential visitors in the future.

‘Overall, the report showed the many positive economic effects created by rugby events in Dunedin on a variety of sectors of the community.’

‘The benefits flow throughout the economy and the economic gains from an injection of nearly $6 million is hugely for a small city of our size’ said Jan Hindson.

The report was jointly commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Auckland, Auckland City Council and Tourism Dunedin. The study was carried out by Covec Limited.


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