New Zealand may not have won the Cricket World Cup, but it seems tourism is winning, as Aussie sports fans travel across the ditch to cheer on their heroes.With the NRL Auckland Nines, ICC Cricket World Cup and BMW New Zealand Golf Open being hosted in New Zealand over the past three months, there has been a huge number of reasons for Australian sports fans to visit.
New figures show over 20,000 additional travellers have made the journey so far in 2015, compared to the same period (Jan-March) last year. March alone showed nearly a 15% increase in arrivals from across the Tasman compared to 2014.*
This figure could increase by a few thousand in the next months with New Zealand hosting further sporting events including the AFL St Kilda vs Carlton Wellington Anzac Day Game and NRL Melbourne Storm vs Dragons on 25th July.
It’s not just the fans that are going over to watch and be part of these major sporting tournaments. Aussie cricketers Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting were photographed playing golf at Queenstown’s stunning Millbrook Resort in a spectacular pro-am round at the New Zealand Open golf championship.
During a recent interview, Ricky Ponting described New Zealand as one of his favourite golfing destinations saying the courses and scenery are ‘a one off – you just don’t see in many parts of the world.’ He also noted it is an ideal holiday to take the whole family on, as there are so many activities to enjoy as well as delicious food and wine.
Commenting on the trend, Tony Saunders, Tourism New Zealand General Manager Australia said everyone knows Aussies love sport and these figures show they don’t just want to watch it on TV, they want to be part of the action and are willing to travel to New Zealand to support their teams.
“We are finding that once fans are in New Zealand they’re also taking part in a variety of experiences and end up doing everything from skiing and cycling to visiting vineyards.
“It’s only a three hour flight from some of the major cities on the East Coast of Australia, so really easy to watch a game, play a round of golf and still be back in time for work on Monday.”
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