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19 Jan 2018 16:11
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    All Whites play-off to boost NZ tourism

    Wellington's tourism industry is set to massively benefit from next month's 2018 World Cup intercontinental play-off between New Zealand and Peru.

    Air New Zealand
    Air New Zealand

    Regardless of the outcome of next month's 2018 World Cup intercontinental play-off between the All Whites and Peru, tourism is already the victor.

    Some 33,620 fans filled Wellington's Westpac Stadium in 2013 when Mexico travelled to New Zealand for a qualifying match, but extra seating means there are 38,000 tickets for the first leg against Peru on November 11.

    With 30,000 already sold, a sell-out is on the cards.

    On that basis it will be the biggest football event in New Zealand's history, beating the 35,179 seats sold when the All Whites beat Bahrain in 2009.

    And with the football-mad South American country already showcasing Kiwi attractions and Maori culture on their television screens, both New Zealand Football and local stakeholders are licking their lips.

    Air New Zealand have put on extra flights from Auckland and Christchurch to Wellington to meet the additional demand.

    "Either way - win or lose - it's going to do great things for our city. We are very welcoming of Peru, they're a great team, they are in the top 10 of the world," Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said.

    "Coverage of our city, our wonderful harbour and the waterfront location of our stadium will go out to all countries of the world."

    Playing the qualifying round, however, isn't cheap.

    New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin estimated the cost of hosting the game in Wellington and travelling to Peru at above $500,000.

    A FIFA spokesperson said the organising body would contribute US$150,000 for each team's travel costs, but talks on a shared charter flight have broken down.

    Yet on the tourism front, all is rosy.

    Welcoming fans has proven a tourist bonanza, with this year's British and Irish Lions rugby tour generating around $30 million for Wellington.

    According to Peruvian reports, the 1100 seats set aside for Peruvian fans have already sold out.


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