Sports putting NZ on the map

Friday June 29, 2018 Sam Green

There are lots of reasons to visit New Zealand, but nothing really sells a trip overseas like a friend or family member returning from holiday.


Over the last year, we have had a number of sporting events, bringing fans from around the world to experience New Zealand hospitality. We had the Lions Tour in June and July, the playoff with Peru in November to participate in the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup.  We also hosted a share of the Rugby League World Cup, though attendance was very low. 


With the arrival of these teams, came a number of eager fans, supporting their teams in their endeavours, boosting our tourist spend. It is not surprising that in the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) tourist spending figures the largest growth over the past year has been in the UK, the “Rest of Americas” and the “Rest of Europe”[1]. Spending for tourists from these international regions were up 20 percent on the previous year. From June and July, tourist spending from our European visitors was up by $90 million from June and July in 2016. 



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Unfortunately for New Zealand, all of these events were a little bit disappointing, the Lions managed to pull off a drawn series with the All Blacks after losing to the Blues and Highlanders, New Zealand left the League World cup in the quarter finals. Peru also managed to take a draw in New Zealand, to play a home winner–takes-all match in Lima, and achieving their place in the current FIFA World Cup. 


But with our disappointment, we gave our travelling fans something to shout about, and who better for them to shout to than their friends and family back home?  From all three of these areas, tourism spending has been high in the months following these events. From December, spending from the Rest of Americas region is up 25 percent on the summer of 2016 to 2017, the fastest of all the regions, with an increase in spending of $28.4 million. Similarly, in the six months following the Lions tour, tourist spending for UK residents was up 18 percent on 2016, with tourists from the UK spending an additional $84.  



[1] Due to typically low tourist spending, MBIE does not provide estimates for Peru and Ireland individually.