10 Jul 2017

Lions tour a $26m win for Auckland business

5:43 am on 10 July 2017

It may not have ended in a win for the All Blacks, but the British and Irish Lions tour has been labelled a success by Auckland businesses, generating an estimated $26 million for the local economy.

Lions fans out and about in Auckland before the final Test.

Lions fans out and about in Auckland before the final Test. Photo: AFP

Auckland Council's branch for tourism and events ATEED said about 20,000 international visitors and about 14,000 domestic visitors made their way through the city for the series.

ATEED head of major events Charmaine Ngarimu said the tour had been a huge boost for Auckland's accommodation providers, restaurant owners and tourism operators.

"From our projections, we think there's going to be about 165,000 visitor nights generated from this and probably about $26m back into the economy."

Ms Ngarimu said the $1m spent organising events around the series had been worth it.

She said ATEED has been able to give international visitors a cultural experience with spaces for the Fanzone and the Matariki Festival.

Official figures for the total EFTPOS expenditure during the series are still being calculated by Paymark, but it said the tour had brought in big numbers.

Paymark recorded over $24m in transactions at restaurants in Auckland and Northland over the weekend of the Lion's first test match against the All Blacks, about $1.5m more than usually spent in the same time period.

Around $30m was pumped into Wellington after the Lions played against the Hurricanes and for the second test against the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium.

Hospitality New Zealand Auckland branch president Russell Grey said the series had been as big an event as the Rugby World Cup.

"The Lions [tour] is a one in 12 year event... there's a huge army of them [fans] who come out from the Northern hemisphere and enjoy themselves and spread themselves throughout New Zealand and they spend money," he said.

The Better Bar Company, which owns several bars in central Auckland including O'Hagan's and Danny Doolans, said they had been packed during the Lions tour.

Operation manager Sean Lee said business has been booming.

"We've probably done better than a lot of businesses... but those little shops and motels and B&Bs in Whangarei, Rotorua - it's been incredible for the whole country."

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said the tour's success vindicated the government's decision to contribute $3m to ensure the tour went ahead.

"We're getting about $4 benefit from every dollar that we invest in it, so it's well worth it."

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