New Zealand is already reaping the benefits of extra Rugby World Cup tourist spending, with Paymark reporting a surge in transactions even before the opening ceremony kicked off.
Paymark head of sales and marketing Paul Whiston said the impact of the Cup on the retail landscape was already evident, with total foreign card spending through the network up 27.4 percent over the weekend compared to the same period last year.
“The buildup started a week out from the opening ceremony, and on the day itself (midday Friday to midday Saturday), an extra $1.3 million flowed through the hospitality merchants linked to our network compared to the same period last year – an effort repeated in the next 24 hours," he said.
For the week ending September 8, spending through the network excluding fuel was just over 10 percent, in comparison to the 6 percent growth rate of the previous week, with Auckland and Northland leading the pre-opening spending surge.
Car rentals over the weekend grew by 46.6 percent year-on-year, and hospitality across the board increased 10.5 percent.
Whiston said the strongest surge was recorded in Southland (up 24.4 percent over the three days), which was most evident on Sunday (32.7 percent).
Spending in Otago was also buoyed to the tune of 17 percent, with Sunday the strongest for sales (up 26.1 percent), while Canterbury’s peak came on Friday at a 27.4 percent (15 percent growth for the weekend – bearing in mind spending last year was affected by the September 2010 earthquake).
In Auckland/Northland, Saturday was the busiest day for the hospitality sector, with total spending hitting $50 million and annual spending growth up by nearly a third.
Some regions, however, experienced lower spending in the hospitality sector, including the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wairarapa and Marlborough.