14 Mar 2009

2011 Rugby World Cup boom expected

6:16 am on 14 March 2009

The tourism and business sectors expect an economic boom from the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The schedule for the tournament was announced on Thursday. Thirteen centres from Whangarei to Invercargill will host pool games.

Eden Park, Auckland, will host nine matches including the opening game and the semi-finals and finals.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton says the entire country will benefit.

He estimates about 70,000 visitors will come to New Zealand for the tournament and many will travel to regions that are not hosting games.

Despite the tourism sector being badly hit by the recession, Mr Hickton is confident that it will be in a strong position in two years to reap the financial rewards of the tournament.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce expects all sectors, not just the hospitality industry, will benefit financially.

Chief executive Michael Barnett says Auckland is clearly the hub for the cup, and the city has an opportunity to showcase itself.

The opening match will be at Eden Park on Friday 9 September, when New Zealand will play Tonga.

The International Rugby Board says the final will be held on the weekend of 22-23 October.