2 Jul 2017

Lions' visit boosts capital's hospitality sector

5:20 pm on 2 July 2017

Wellington's hospitality sector is reaping the benefits of last night's test between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions.

Lions fans in Wellington

An estimated 20,000 tourists flew into Wellington yesterday, with restaurants and bars making more in one night than an entire week. Photo: AFP

Yesterday, 22,000 people flew into the capital, and countless more came by car, including 1000 campervans.

Jeremy Smith of Hospitality New Zealand's Wellington branch called it the biggest event in the capital since the quarter finals in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

He estimated that it would have injected millions into the local economy, with both Lions and All Blacks fans spending at pubs, restaurants and other businesses.

"Looking at the bars and the streets and the restaurants last night I'd say 20,000 tourists and 50,000 Wellingtonians came out last night, it was just a fantastic night, so I think most people did a week's worth of turnover last night."

It's estimated that more than $30 million has been pumped into the Wellington region's economy this week.

The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency said the visitors didn't just flock to the city but spent money at restaurants and retailers as far as Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast.

The agency's Derek Fry said that was good news for businesses now and in the long-term.

"Part of the legacy is about creating memories for those who have come to the region and that they're encouraged to come back."

Meanwhile, Wellington Airport said it had its busiest weekend ever with rugby fans visiting the capital.

There were 22,000 passengers travelled through the airport yesterday and 23,000 were on flights today.

Eight chartered flights departed Wellington on time after the game last night full of celebrating Lions' fans.

The airport said flights were departing on time today but travellers were advised to arrive early because there were long queues.

Police and Wellington Free Ambulance said fans were relatively well-behaved at the game - with just one fan needing to be taken to hospital from the stadium.

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