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Rubgy World Cup Visitor Survey

24 December 2010
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A recent survey of RWC2011 visitors is hugely useful in helping tourism operators plan for the influx.

The rugby tourists are coming. Of that there is no doubt and while recent research by research company Covec pins down how many are coming, which teams they are following, where they intend to stay and how they will get around the country – it appears a good number have yet to book accommodation and transport.

As RWC2011 CEO Martin Snedden says in his column on page 32 a large percentage of the FITs (approximately 30,000 out of the 85,000) “indicated to us that, as at the time of the survey (early November 2010), they had not yet finalised all of their travel and accommodation arrangements.

“In other words, in blunt terms, their money is already in our bank account but isn’t yet in the accounts of those businesses up and down New Zealand which stand in line to benefit,” says Snedden.

So what are these visitors planning on doing in New Zealand?

In December tournament organisers for Rugby World Cup 2011 confirmed that key match ticket sales and revenue targets have been achieved for 2010 and that international visitors will number 85,000 at least.

Snedden said then that since the ticket sales programmes were launched last year a total of 864,000 tickets had been sold in mid December “taking us to just short of two-thirds of our overall target of around 1.45 million sales across the 48 matches.”

At the same time RNZ 2011 also released the key results of a survey of ticket purchasers carried out by independent research company Covec during November 2010.

Covec had surveyed all of those who had purchased tickets by the end of October 2010 from RNZ 2011 through its global sales process. The response rate was 30 percent, which, they say, provides a strong credible base for analysis.

"The survey results are great news for New Zealand and for our tourism industry. This is reliable evidence that we can expect at least 55,000 international visitors from sales to date in our public ticket programme, in addition to the 30,000 plus visitors who we know will come through packages sold by the Official Travel Agents operating worldwide,” Snedden said.

The Covec survey shows that more than 41,000 of the 55,000 visitors have purchased tickets directly from RNZ2011 while nearly 4,000 won’t attend matches (each ticket holder will be accompanied by 0.1 people who at this stage won’t attend a match).

Another 8,400 have secured tickets through family and friends currently living in New Zealand plus 798 accompanying people who won’t attend matches.

The bits you need to know
Snedden said that 44 percent of these FIT (free and independent travellers) visitors will be coming to New Zealand for the first time and the Covec survey shows that 19 percent of the total visitors are Kiwi expats and 37 percent are repeat visitors.

Almost half of those surveyed have indicated an intention to arrive before the opening match on September 9 with the average length of FIT stay being 23 days.

“Many intend travelling right around the country. While the bulk of visitors (36,500) expect at some stage to visit Auckland, at least 11,000 say they will also travel down the West Coast of the South Island and 18,000 to Otago and Southland. Regions up and down New Zealand will benefit.

“These survey results also auger well for the REAL New Zealand Festival. All of us involved in supporting the Festival preparations have been encouraging visitors to ‘take the long way round’ the country and to really enjoy the host of uniquely New Zealand events that will be happening right across the country so these numbers underline the great opportunity for our regions to really turn it on for visitors.”

Visitor snapshot

  • Expected international visitors from sales: 85,000.
    • Free and independent travellers (FIT): 55,000.
    • Visitors through the Official Travel Programme: 30,000+.
  • Almost 50 percent (FIT) arrive before the opening match.
  • Average length of stay: 23 days.
  • 44 percent will be visiting New Zealand for the first time.
  • Top visitor sources: Australia (29.000); UK incl. Ireland (9,500); France (8,800); South Africa (5,200); USA and Canada(6,900) and other (15,600).
  • 50 percent of domestic ticket purchasers will travel outside their home region at least once.
  • 57 percent of international purchasers and 45 percent of domestic purchasers expect to buy more tickets.

So where will they stay

In total the Covec survey shows that there will be 1,065,243 international visitor nights. Some 30 percent of these visitor nights will be spent in unpaid accommodation(316, 339) with the remaining nights spent in.

  • Campervans ( 22 percent);
  • Hotels (13 percent);
  • Backpackers (8 percent);
  • B&B (8 percent);
  • Motels (6 percent);
  • Rental homes (3 percent);
  • Serviced apartments (3 percent);
  • Luxury lodges (1 percent).

And how will they get around the country?

Covec also says that.-

  • 22,677 visitors intend to hire a car (50 percent) ;
  • Some 18,700 intend to fly domestically (41 percent);
  • 12,111 intend to use the Cook Strait Ferry ( 27 percent);
  • 12,093 intend to hire a campervan ( 26 percent).

And what do they want to do?

The most popular intended activities aside from rugby are.-

  • Food and wine – 66 percent;
  • Socialising - 64 percent;
  • Visiting friends and relatives – 56 percent;
  • Walking and hiking - 47 percent;
  • Historic buildings and sites – 44 percent;
  • Cultural performances or arts – 43 percent;
  • Coastal activities – 41 percent.
  • And finally, 57 percent of international respondents expect to purchase more tickets.

And then there are the domestic travellers

  • Covec says that more than 94,000 New Zealand residents have purchased tickets and 45 percent of them expect to buy more.
  • In turn 50 percent of these ticket holders also expect to make one or more trips outside their own town or city to attend a match. Of these some 36,500 will use a private car (78 percent) and 14,300 intend to use a domestic flight (30 percent). Only 17 percent of those who intend to fly have booked their flights.
  • Accommodation-wise some 46 percent intend to stay with friends and relatives , nearly 15,000 intend to return home the same night while 6,356 (13 percent) intend to stay in a hotel and 5,719 (12 percent) in a motel.

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