Bringing the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup to the southern hemisphere for the first time is expected to provide a boost to Northland’s traditional tourism off-season.
The tournament, expanded from 23 days to 35 days, will be played in July and August.
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Last week New Zealand won the bid to host the tournament. It will be hosted in Auckland and Whangārei, with the final and possibly the semifinals, played at Eden Park.
It is expected to bring millions to Whangārei’s economy.
Northland tourism leader Jeroen Jongejans said the tournament will see visitors in Northland from as early as May through to the end of the tournament, “our traditional off-season”.
He said a positive about that is the region will have plenty of capacity.
“It won’t displace anybody else.”
Instead he said the year will start with its usual peak, drop a bit lower, then peak for the WRWC period, then go up again for the next summer.
“It’s a real positive event for Whangārei and Northland as well, we will all benefit.”
He said visitors will spend money on accommodation, entertainment and food.
“They’re not going to sit in Whangārei. They’ll be travelling to the Bay of Islands, the Hokianga.”
Jongejans said the teams will also have recreational days when they can explore the region.
“There’s lots of things on offer and plenty of availability.”
He said the challenge is to be ready – to keep enough staff on to be able to deliver the products.
“The increases in tourism turnover and job opportunities will be quite significant.”
In other changes to the tournament schedule, there will be four days between pool games and five to six between knockout games.
Jongejans said those days in between would be “ideal for a little tiki-tour around” and those people would be staying in Northland.
He said it’s also ideal for people in Auckland to travel and explore Northland.
With the Hundertwasser Art Centre and the $200 million hotel/entertainment precinct development on Riverside Drive expected to be up and running by then, Jongejans said it was “all looking good for our industry”.
The tournament will form part of a busy and buzzing year in Auckland which will include the America’s Cup and the Apec forum, he said.