RWC lifts national tourism figures even though Queenstown off the radar

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The Rugby World Cup might have adversely affected Queenstown visitor numbers but caused a surge in New Zealand arrival figures.

Statistics New Zealand data released today (Tuesday) reveal NZ hosted 16.8 per cent more international visitors in October than the same month last year.

Overall RWC visitor numbers, from July through to end of October, were 133,200, as against a forecast 85,000. 

“The RWC helped lift year-end visitor arrivals back into growth (up 2.6 per cent) after a really difficult year,” Tourism NZ chief executive Kevin Bowler says.

“The steady, significant growth in visitors from China (up 22.8 per cent), Malaysia (up 141 per cent) and Singapore (up 99 per cent) round out what was a very good month for inbound international arrivals.”

Bowler cites China Southern’s new Guangzhou-Auckland daily service, Air NZ’s reinstated direct flights between Japan and Christchurch and Korean Airline’s 30 per cent increase in capacity into NZ over the next two months as further reasons for optimism.

Late last month, however, NZ Hotel Council’s Queenstown spokesperson Penny Clark told Mountain Scene the local industry may have suffered its worst October.

The loss of Christchurch RWC games, following February’s huge earthquake, was singled out as a main culprit.

Wholesalers had also found it too hard to sell NZ package tours while the RWC was on, Clark said.