Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where are the foreigners?!

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    it's now evident that Rugby World Cup 2011 is not delivering the anticipated hospitality bonanza

    No shit.

    Still, at least NZ didn't get booted out by Argentina. That would have required an invasion of the Falklands. How much is a secondhand aircraft carrier again?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ngaire BookieMonster,

    We've definitely seen a deluge of camper vans and foreign tourists in our region (Matamata-Piako) and we noticed the same in Coromandel two weekends ago.

    At the foot of Mt Te Aroh… • Since Nov 2009 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ngaire BookieMonster,

    We’ve definitely seen a deluge of camper vans and foreign tourists in our region (Matamata-Piako) and we noticed the same in Coromandel two weekends ago.

    I gather Nelson's been quite lively too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Westhaven is totally chockers with campervans.

    Edit: That was Saturday. A lot were English so that may have changed since then :-). I noticed a lot of French flags there too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Ngaire BookieMonster,

    We've definitely seen a deluge of camper vans and foreign tourists in our region

    Has anyone seen any word on how many instant fines have been issued under the Freedom Camping laws that were pushed through under urgency before all this, or any other measures to suggest how necessary it was?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I think it's an interesting psychological experiment. We were told again and again how many people would swamp our bars and restaurants. It seems now (as a result of that message maybe?) that locals have decided to avoid all those places we were told would be crowded. And perhaps that same message has been communicated to the visitors as well.

    I'm not sure how it could have been done better. Somehow the message that has been heard was "how will we cope with all these people" instead of "this is going to be so much fun lets all join in".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • kiwiyankee,

    I flew out of Wellington to Melbourne the day after the South Africa v Fiji game. There were a heap of South African fans on the plane. So I think there might be some merit to the theory that fans are popping over the ditch between games at least once during their stay. Why wouldn't you when you are down in this part of the world for a long period with a week between each of your team's games?

    Melbourne • Since Mar 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Perhaps they were scared off?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Every weekend morning, Ruby and I make our way to Takapuna Beach. And for the duration of the tournament, the car park has been stuffed full with campervans (as have the streets around the road leading to the beach), and the Takapuna caravan park is chocka. These things, and the fact that there are large amounts of people speaking in foreign tongues (and in the case of the French, always dressed very nattily) strolling along the beach, would suggest that this is where the foreigners are. In campervans. Having a lovely holiday, many of them with their families. Possibly avoiding town. Takapuna is busy, busy, busy – so I suspect that it may be just the CBD and environs that’s suffering.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    it’s now evident that Rugby World Cup 2011 is not delivering the anticipated hospitality bonanza

    And despite a few upbeat retailers, most i know have actually found the RWC has hurt business, sales normally pick up this time of year but it’s not happened.

    And loads of campervans yes, but are those people spending money at places outside supermarkets?

    yes recession and people thinking more carefully before they spend are factors, but it’s pretty bleak out there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Yup - every taxi driver I've spoken to has struggled during RWC with lower customers.

    Also the idiots down at tournament parking removing their evening rates, which used to be $8-14 per evening to a higher than usual casual rate without annoucing it clearly.

    I got stung for $65 for 4-5 hours parking thursday before last after 6pm down by commerce st. Was not impressed, no wonder their carpark was nearly empty (its usually full on a thursday).

    Washington DC • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    There have been upsets, thrills, tension and some really marvellous rugby played.

    Mainly by the other rugby playing countries. god I'm sick & tired of Tew, Henry, richie rich, groiners and the terminally rugby serious.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I've heard such reports from Ponsonby Road and even Kingsland, where restaurants are empty during the week

    One theory I heard, from a Ponsonby retailer friend, rings true.

    Most game attendees are locals, and when they are spending many hundreds - if not thousands - of $ on tickets (something like $20m total per Eden Park game), obviously spending on other things is going to suffer. Unsurprisingly, the first item to be cut back? Restaurant spending.

    it's now evident that Rugby World Cup 2011 is not delivering the anticipated hospitality bonanza

    The idea of a "hospitality bonanza" wasn't so much "anticipated" as "heavily promoted". Frankly, many of us predicted this outcome and were shouted down as "being negative" etc.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to BenWilson,

    Ah so that's what Mr Key was attempting last day of parliament, a haka?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The local pub up here North is a League pub but the Irish Landlord has been showing as much Rugby as he can. It is crowded with locals as is the Cavalier in Ponsonby. Crowded with locals. What I see is the pubs that have always supported the game are getting their usual patronage with any of their foreign mates in the country.Quite a selection of foreign supporters at least. Plus the crowd argy bargy is all in good humour. I reckon because they are sport pubs they have the right mix of extra staff as well as good viewing. Screens every inch of the pub. The game is just surplus, so they keep busy.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I heard them say that accomodation was fully booked in Wellington before the last weekend.

    Thing with campervans is yeah sure, they aren't staying in a motel or hotel but they are still spending a decent whack of money while they are here. They are paying the campervan company, filling up at gas stations, and obviously buying food and rugby tickets amongst other things.

    If people aren't going to restaurants now then maybe there will be a big surge in visits after the RWC. Doesn't hurt some folk to cut down their discretionary spending in these tight economic times when we keep getting told we don't save ;)

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to 3410,

    The idea of a "hospitality bonanza" wasn't so much "anticipated" as "heavily promoted". Frankly, many of us predicted this outcome and were shouted down as "being negative" etc.

    The thing is, that bonanza did happen in 2006, big time. It wasn't at all unreasonable to assume at least a similar degree of business given that there were many more games on.

    And I don't think anyone predicted the extent to which local custom has stayed died away -- this isn't just a bonanza not eventuating, it's a collapse in comparison to normal trading for the time of year. OTOH, (virtually) no one predicted the massive turnout for the opening day in Auckland. The public has responded enthusiastically to the event -- but is staying at home at other times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    heard them say that accomodation was fully booked in Wellington before the last weekend

    Fully booked != Profit bonanza. A hotel that isn't going bust needs to have 70-80% occupancy anyway. So a few nights booked out might mean a 30% or so revenue uplift for those nights - before price gouging of course. But that's destined to fail as people aren't dumb enough or rich enough to pay hundreds of dollars for a $60 room, or thousands for a $250 one.

    And numerous companies and departments have travel bans in place - which is of course stopping people doing productive work, as well as cutting hotel revenues.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to 3410,

    Most game attendees are locals, and when they are spending many hundreds - if not thousands - of $ on tickets (something like $20m total per Eden Park game), obviously spending on other things is going to suffer. Unsurprisingly, the first item to be cut back? Restaurant spending.

    Certainly has been for me. I was glad to go to one game, but the cost of it curtailed about 5 nights out on the town. I was hoping for more mingling with foreigners, but they seem to be mingling mostly with each other. It was bizarre to be launching my boat to take my youngest for his first cruise around the harbor, literally surrounded by carousing campers who paid zero attention to the place they were in, surrounded by the marina and dozens of trailer boaties availing themselves of the beautiful weather, and dozens of charter fishing setups sitting totally idle right in front of them, preferring to drink beer from plastic cups, eat snags from a shabby table, poop in the free public toilet and generally get ready for an event that was at least 8 hours away, by boozing in a parking lot.

    I'd have thought that the chartering business might have caught at least a few of the people there, who would have had to do nothing more than walk 50m as a group, pay some $ and get to see one of the most awesome things about Auckland, the fabulous Gulf. They could have sunk piss the whole time there too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Some of the weekday dearth of business in Kingsland is, I think, being made up for by it being nuts for a couple of hours before game time. Not sure if it's completely making up for it though, it's dead during the week atm.

    OTOH, I'm not entirely convinced that the numbers on opening night were as spectacular as everyone seems to think they are. We had guestimates from the police, the council and the government, none of whom are particularly neutral or have a particularly good history at estimating numbers.Then there were the widely ignored numbers from an actual statistician

    Though it would be rather sad indictment of our party planners if the best they could do was getting the numbers vaguely right on opening night.

    Since May 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The staging of Diwali festivities in Aotea Square was an absolute winner this past weekend, as was the closure of the adjacent stretch of Queen Street for the food stalls. If nothing else, we’ve learned that closing roads for public events isn’t only possible in Auckland – it’s highly desirable.

    i don't want to rain on my Indian friend's parade, but yet another free festival with street food with low to no overheads competing with the cafe/restaurant trade? Can no one else see the problem of trying to operate a full cost comercial business when every bloody weekend there is a free festival on?

    It seems to me that the correct balance between providing tournament only entertainment and the needs of business to turn a buck has not been struck in Auckland. The RWC was sold to local businesses (you know, the ones whose rates and tax are actually subsidising the tournament) as a chance to make some extra coin from locals and tourists alike.

    The government and RWC organisers then proceeded to strip all that extra money from them - and more besides - by setting up dedicated fan zones.It is simply outrageous, the equivalent of allowing a street vendor to set up a subsidised sausage sizzle outside the takeaway bar every Saturday morning in the winter when the ground across the road is packed.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Wellington has been generally filled with glorious happy tourists every weekend. But during the week they travel around and see the country. Most of our cities aren't interesting enough for a trip of seven days (if you don't want to blow all your cash in one go). So the camper vans travel around (as camper vans are want to do).

    Also many are just driving in to town for the game, but are based in Martinborough or up the Kapiti coast. Places that are slightly more "scenic New Zealand". Which is fair enough, that's how we're marketed overseas, so tourists come to see that. And also many of the rugby tourists are here to watch (and play) some rural rugby.

    The big spenders of the Lions Tour aren't around because the money isn't there any more. Where the UK pound bought you so much in '05, now it buys you much less and the tourists don't have a lot to spend up. As one Irish supporter put it after having paid to come a very long way to a very expensive game and then head home: "Twenty thousand miles just lose to fuckin Wales!"

    Bars along the route between the stadium and Courtenay seem to be doing well, though others are suffering.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Hadyn Green,

    The big spenders of the Lions Tour aren't around because the money isn't there any more. Where the UK pound bought you so much in '05, now it buys you much less

    Yeah, good point. The Sterling/Kiwi dollar exchange rate fluctuated around 1:3 for years (including the Lions tour), but was relatively steady. Now it's down to a relatively steady 1:2.

    Better if you're shifting money offshore, but not so great the other way.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Christian Mair,

    As a bar owner in Auckland I can only confirm that the RWC has been a disaster business wise. Most of my colleagues are in the same boat. The locals seem to stay at home and the tourists are not turning up.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Worrying that there has been a 30% drop in business confidence over the last month, and some are trying to blame the RWC.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

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