Well, it’s finally here – the Rugby World Cup 2011 ©. (For legal reasons I’m not really allowed to use the phrase ‘Rugby World Cup 2011’ – and should probably say ‘You Know What 2011’ instead.
Years of waiting and fevered preparation have finally come to fruition with around 80,000 foreign fans expected to arrive at some stage over September / October, to attend matches and to participate in rugby–related tourism activities in our fair land. As I have blogged previously there was much pre RWC2011© hysteria and wild predictions of an economic mini boom for poor old recessed, earthquaked NZ.
The reality is – airlines, hotels, pub bars and restaurants have had a good couple of weeks (in Auckland anyway). But the by-catch for other tourism ventures has been minimal. A friend who knows these things told me that even the brothels haven’t picked up any extra business. For me, wine tour wise, not much at all – but just the odd two-person booking here and there. (If the fans don’t want wine or women, then the Karaoke bars must be going nuts.)
Yet I do wonder how 60,000 fans can attend a rugby match between France and the All Blacks last night – and not one of ‘em feels the urge to head out with Phil to quaff some fine NZ wines a mere 20 minutes from downtown Auckers. It’s not as if I haven’t put in the groundwork with a revamped website, five downtown brochure rack displays, and a local Auckland A-Z visitor guide print advert, in addition to schmoozing all the high end hotel concierges. It’s still five weeks till the Final so we shall see …
The tally so far:
Eleven male Aussies here for the first Ireland/Australia game last Saturday. They had been drinking all night and were 40 minutes late getting the group together. Eleven hung-over and still plastered, unshaven Aussies is not a pretty sight, I can assure you. Still, they rallied and the loud conversation, foul language and sheep-shagging jokes flowed as freely as the wine down their throats - and I emptied them out at their hotel around three p.m., after a trip to a liquor outlet for them to get a few dozen beers for the pre-match hour or two.
Tuesday – a charming 50-ish Japanese couple over here to support their home team, The Cherry Blossoms. In the macho world of rugby, surely they could have come up with something a bit grittier. The Wasabi Warriors? The Flying Fugu Fish?
Sunday (today) - a Japanese mother and daughter also here following their national rugby team.
That’s it! Wish me luck!