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Giant Rugby Ball Hosts Thousands in London


3 December 2008
Media Release


Giant Rugby Ball Hosts Thousands in London

Over seven and a half thousand people have visited Tourism New Zealand’s Rugby Ball venue in London and many more have seen New Zealand’s message through media coverage of the event.

The ball will be dismantled today after being installed in the high profile Potterfields Park by the London Tower Bridge for one week.

In that time the venue has been visited by the Queen, Prince Phillip, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key. A number of functions have been hosted there including the International Rugby Board pool draw.

The ball has attracted an even greater audience through media coverage with over two hundred media attending the pool draw alone. As a result of the Rugby Ball installation, stories about New Zealand have been written by most of the London-based daily newspapers including the Telegraph, the Observer and the Times. The ball has also been covered by many international television channels including Sky News and the BBC.

The purpose of the ball was to highlight New Zealand’s trade, immigration and tourism and the fact that New Zealand will host the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and Tourism Chief Executive George Hickton says the event has done its job.

“Putting an inflatable rugby ball up in one of the most visited areas of Central London just had to create attention. Many curious people – particularly with some interest in New Zealand - are drawn to the ball and once they have seen the audio visual show inside they come out talking about booking their ticket.”

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The Rugby Ball was the final activity in the first phase of a new Tourism New Zealand campaign in the UK called “What Do You Say UK?”

“The inflatable rugby ball is edgy, is makes New Zealand stand out and it’s different from the ways other national tourism organisations promote their destinations. Competition is getting more fierce and we have to stay ahead of the game when it comes to promoting our country,” Mr Hickton said.

The IRB’s decision to use the ball as the venue for the Rugby World Cup pool draw provided a strong link to New Zealand as the next host of the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

“New Zealand has promised a stadium of 4 million when we host the 2011 Rugby World Cup and we are well down the track of planning for an event that will be the best New Zealand can deliver for rugby fans,” Mr Hickton said.

ends

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