Australian fans were among thousands who went home satisfied after watching the Women’s Rugby World Cup matches in Whangārei.
Photo / Mike Dinsdale.
Northland received a big thumbs up from locals and visitors alike for its hosting of the Women’s Rugby World Cup matches and the hospitality on display not long after the international borders reopened.
report prepared by Fresh Info shows 82 per cent of those surveyed online were very satisfied with the RWC2021 experience while 96 per cent of Whangārei residents who attended the games agreed or strongly agreed that hosting such events increased their pride in their district.
Fresh Info used the ticketing database to contact via email ticket buyers for the survey and received 1033 responses from people who attended a match overall in Whangārei.
Among the questions, those surveyed were asked were how much they spent in Whangārei and on what, the type of accommodation they stayed in, and their perception of the district as a place to visit, live and do business in.
Just over 42,000 people attended the 11 matches played over four weekends at the Northland Events Centre (NEC) in Whangārei in October.
The report said 94 per cent of Whangārei residents who watched the games agreed or strongly agreed that hosting the RWC2021 made the district a more enjoyable place to live.
Visitors returned a result of 53 per cent for the same question. However, 71 per cent of visitors said their perception of the district as a place to visit improved after watching the games.
But just 37 per cent of visitors said their experience of attending the event has improved their perception of Whangārei as a place to do business. Fifty-five per cent were neutral.
Fresh Info managing director Shane Vuletich said this was simply because most attendees either did not “do business” as such or didn’t spend enough time in Whangārei to have their perceptions changed.
“It is pretty normal for this question to have a low percentage of agreed responses.”
Whangārei mayor Vince Cocurullo said it was hard to say anything bad about the event, especially when we had fields looking and performing so well, local businesses and tourists giving positive feedback, and young women being such fantastic sporting role models.
“At the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie, with an estimated benefit of over $1 million. There is every possibility this figure could keep growing, as the domestic visitors might continue returning to our district as a result of this event.
“There’s no doubt the Rugby World Cup was a success story for our district and our region. With more than 25,000 people attending one or more of the matches in Whangārei, and nearly 11,000 of those being from outside of our district – what an opportunity to showcase what Northland has to offer.”
The mayor, himself a volunteer at the event, said having pride in your district was what it was all about— everything else was the icing on the cake.
Cocurullo said WDC had a dedicated team that delivered the event, far beyond what would be expected.
“We now have a proven track record and would welcome more national and international events. We also have a local community that strongly supports these events and shows great community spirit welcoming people to our district and to New Zealand. Well done everyone that supported the event.
“As someone who grew up in Whangārei, and I have always known how great Whangārei is, it is really awesome to see statistics like this reinforce my personal view.”
Northland’s gross estimated cost of hosting the games was $10.1m. Of the 10,866 visitors to Northland during the RWC2021, 8768 were domestic and the rest were overseas tourists.