Thursday, September 15, 2011
The cup runneth over
It’s been almost a week since the chaotic start to the Rugby World Cup. On Friday night in Auckland’s waterfront fan zone we saw an estimated 200,000 people squeeze into an area capable of holding 80,000. A reported 370,000 people travelled on public transport over a 20-hour period, well in excess of the 240,000 of a normal weekday.
Closer to home we are seeing a more modest uplift in overnight visitors. Masterton's Mawley Park camping ground reports five cup-related campervans in the past week. Greytown’s Soldiers’ Memorial Park camping ground reports two cup arrivals.
Peter Wilson, General Manager of Destination Wairarapa, explains that this is what we expected. At this early stage in the tournament we would expect to see mainly day visitors popping over from Wellington for our vineyards and country hospitality. To me this sounds like a better grade of tourist than the muck we saw in Auckland’s fan zone.
That’s certainly been our experience so far. There’s a really festive feel to Greytown’s Main Street. Most shops are adorned with flags of all sizes and colours. And the French Baker and Bar Salute, according to my wife, are great places for playing spot the international talent. It’s only going to get better as the tournament progresses.