A New Zealand based travel industry magazine, Traveltrade has questioned New Zealand’s ability to host the Rugby World Cup and has hit out at the high prices tourists have to pay for accommodation, rental cars and flights during the event.
The mag’s editor, Gordon Gillan, used an example of his brother and his friends being quoted $21,000 by travel agents for 23 nights at the tournament. Saying, even though they could afford to pay the charges, they felt ripped-off and wanted to make their own arrangements.
Sounds like there may be some gazumping going on here. “Testing resources” or just being made to pay more?
“However, when the group tried to do so they had multiple problems which included
Gillan’s brother had secured and paid for accommodation, but was later told that it was overbooked.
And while trying to organize a rental car, he was informed it had to be picked up from Christchurch before 5pm – even though his flight did not arrive until 7pm.
“I think basically it’s hard work. It’s obviously testing resources … It’s a lot harder than the normal booking period,” said Gillan.
A flight from Auckland to Wellington in March cost Gillan $99. The same trip for two to see Scotland play a RWC game in September was going to set him back $908.“ source
Whilst New Zealand is good at telling people how good it is it falls short when it comes to delivering on that promise
He felt that while there was a lot of talk about ensuring visitors had a good experience in New Zealand, the people trying to book accommodation, flights and rental cars for the RWC were not getting a positive impression of New Zealand.
“People are paying top dollar for accommodation and flights to secure tickets … the delivery is going to have to be outstanding if people are paying these sorts of prices.”
He also said there was little accommodation available for people who had bought match tickets but were travelling independently…” read more here
Of course the problem has been compounded by the Christchurch earthquakes (the city is still suffering from large afterschocks) and the relocation of the city’s games to other parts of New Zealand.
Even New Zealanders are finding it hard to get to the matches, many South Islanders simply can’t afford the travel and accommodation costs at this late stage. Unfortunately for them the government reneged on their promise in March to provide special travel packages to support to Cantabrians wanting to attend relocated fixtures. All the fans got was their ticket money back.
Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said earlier this month
“there will be no further planning because the commercial travel market still has good value fares to meet demand for travel from Christchurch.”
An almost thousand dollar price tag on a $99 ticket is supposed to be “good value”? Only in New Zealand perhaps.
Is it any wonder that only half of the available tickets have been sold. 919,000 tickets had been sold before the quake, that number dropped to 790,000 after the cancellation of ticket sales for the seven relocated matches. There are a total of 1.65 million tickets still available.
New Zealand has been concentrating for so long on the much hyped fiscal rewards of hosting the RWC that it has lost sight of its obligation to provide a good value for money experience for the games’ fans. Time to get real, stop trying to rake in the bucks. Get a grip on reality and give the fans the value for money they deserve.
Because if New Zealand doesn’t who can blame them if they vote with their wallets, stay home, avoid the NZ winter (why bother getting cold and wet at *party central) and watch it all on television. Local and international supporters alike.
Auckland’s so called Party Central will be an uncovered, open area on the harbourside. A structure called The Cloud will be built but this will be little more than a trade exhibit selling New Zealand to invited guests and visiting VIPs.
The $9.8 million structure will host trade displays for New Zealand industries. Revellers will be left to follow games on big screens outside and brave the cold and often inclement weather, or take refuge in the local bars and clubs. At a price, of course. “Party central” could easily turn into “expensive, damp squib.”
VIP and media functions will also be held on the Cloud’s mezzanine floor, which is already booked for delegates to the Pacific Island Leaders Forum the week before the Cup tournament.
Tourism New Zealand will also open a site to point visitors towards local attractions and other tourism opportunities throughout the country.
Alex Swney, head of the Heart of the City business promotion group in Auckland, said New Zealand had to take the opportunity to promote itself, as well as entertain visitors…” more
But what about looking after the fans. Is this an international sporting event, or a trade show for New Zealand?
Also in today’s NZ News
Read our other RWC 2011 blogs here