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Visitors embracing RWC 2011 in Auckland

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Visitors embracing RWC 2011 in Auckland

While the results on the field went the way of the Irish last weekend, early visitor survey results from Saturday indicate all Rugby fans, regardless of which team comes out on top, are overwhelmingly positive about Auckland's Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) programme.

Ninety per cent of international and domestic visitors polled in a preliminary pilot survey conducted last Saturday before Ireland played Australia agreed that RWC 2011 in Auckland has so far been successful. None disagreed that the Tournament in Auckland has been a success, with 2 per cent giving a mixed response. Eight per cent didn't know.

The pilot survey was conducted in waterfront areas including Queens Wharf, Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct Harbour, as well as on the Fan Trail.

Open every day during RWC 2011, Auckland's main Fanzone at Queens Wharf has so far been enjoyed by tens of thousands of people, with the highest capacity seen during key matches and on weekends. Last weekend, about 92,000 people visited Queens Wharf between Friday and Sunday.

More than 90 per cent of respondents in the pilot survey were satisfied with Queens Wharf and organisers are keen to incorporate visitor feedback to ensure this high level of satisfaction continues.

The Giant Rugby Ball on Queens Wharf is to extend its opening hours to cater for public demand. More than 16,000 people have visited the ball during its first 10 days of opening on Queens Wharf.

The Giant Rugby Ball has been open from Midday to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday. From this weekend the ball will open from 10am on Saturdays and Sundays. For the last two weeks of the Tournament the ball will open from 10am Tuesday to Sunday. It will remain closed on Mondays for maintenance. School groups wishing to visit the Giant Rugby Ball are asked to book in advance by emailing briana.clarke@aucklandfestival.co.nz.

Auckland's Fan Trail is another success story. Approximately 6000 people walked the trail before last Saturday's Ireland versus Australia clash and a similar number after the match. This followed the Fan Trail's debut on opening night when 4000 people walked it before the Opening Ceremony and match on 9 September and a similar number after the match.

Fans also embraced Auckland's plethora of Airport Arrival and Team Welcome events earlier this month. Cumulative crowds for the city's eight airport events reached more than 13,500, with the largest turnouts for the Pacific Island teams of Tonga and Samoa. Thousands more attended official Team Welcome Ceremonies for five teams, including New Zealand, which pulled a crowd of more than 5500 to Aotea Square on 3 September.

Public training sessions continue to prove popular, particularly with thousands of Australian, Tongan, French and Samoan supporters taking the opportunity to see their heroes in action up close.

Local town centres across the region are also helping people celebrate RWC 2011 in their communities, with hundreds of events and activities taking place as part of Auckland's Adopt-a-second-team programme.

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