Tourism New Zealand has welcomed Rugby New Zealand forecasts that 95,000 international visitors are anticipated to visit New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2011 – 10,000 more than recent estimates.
"After more than four years promoting New Zealand as home of the Rugby World Cup in 2011, it’s great news that so many international rugby fans intend to come to New Zealand for the six-week Tournament," says Chief Executive, Kevin Bowler.
"As well as welcoming the visiting fans, the eyes of the world will be on New Zealand as host of Rugby World Cup 2011, providing an unprecedented opportunity to raise our profile on the global stage as a fantastic visitor destination."
Australians were expected to make up 30,000 of those fans, 10,000 from France, 25,000 from the United Kingdom and Ireland and 10,000 US, Canada and Argentina supporters. International visitors were expected to account for one third of total ticket sales.
Figures released today show ticket sales are on target with 1.08 million tickets, worth $234 million, sold ahead of the September 9 tournament kick-off.
Research carried out in 2010 indicated visitors expected to stay an average 23 days and travel throughout New Zealand – 38,000 of them for the first time.
Total ticket sales are already 10 times higher than the 2005 British and Irish Lions tours; the previous largest event held in New Zealand.