Last week the Cricket World Cup officially got underway in New Zealand. The event, co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, will be beamed to an international audience spanning 100 countries.
It has been 23 years since we last hosted the Cricket World Cup and this time around there are 14 host cities across the two countries. This is a huge event, and one that will boost tourism and put the spotlight on our corner of the world, as well as providing a fantastic event for cricket fans.
The Government has invested close to $10 million in this tournament. There will be 23 matches over 44 days across seven venues in New Zealand. The opening match between the Black Caps and Sri Lanka was at the recently developed Hagley Oval in Christchurch over the weekend.
The tournament is not only great for cricket fans. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the world, with the global television audience expected to top 1.5 billion people. Tourism is our second biggest export earner and a major employer of New Zealanders. This industry directly employs 4.7 per cent of the New Zealand workforce, and indirectly employs another 3.6 per cent. We know from hosting the Rugby World Cup back in 2011 what a huge boost to the economy hosting major international sports tournaments can have.
During the Rugby World Cup more than 130,000 visitors from over 100 countries came to take part – far exceeding predicted numbers. The Cricket World Cup has the chance to build on this success and continue to grow New Zealand as a destination for major international sporting events. It’s estimated over $40 million will be spent by the 30,000 visitors to New Zealand attending the 2015 Cricket World Cup over the next two months.
With 97 per cent of international visitors recently reported as saying they would be very or quite likely to recommend New Zealand, we expect even more visitors over the coming years.
I hope you all welcome our international visitors and take time out to enjoy the top quality sport on offer.