Chance in a lifetime for astute businesses
You don't have to travel very far to get anywhere in New Zealand but even Tauranga seems some distance from all the World Cup action .
There are no games scheduled for this part of the North Island's Bay of Plenty. You will have to head a few hours away to Rotorua or even Auckland for that. But the locals don't seem to mind too much - they are looking at a much bigger picture.
There's a whole series of cultural and sporting events under the Real New Zealand Festival banner for places like Tauranga right across the country as well as special fan zones and massive screens being set up in city centres everywhere. And then there are the bigger opportunities.
'Anyone, in any business across New Zealand not leveraging themselves to be part of this event is mad. Simple as that,' said Cliff Walsh, production manager at VnC Manufacturing.
Walsh's company produces ready-to-pour VnC Cocktails, marketed now globally from their Tauranga base and he says the Rugby World Cup is providing a once-in-a-marketing-lifetime chance for New Zealand businesses to sell themselves to the world.
Call it the 'branding of New Zealand' - organisers of the Rugby World Cup are trying hard to make sure local product and produce are up there sharing the stage.
'New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are giving companies a chance to show what they can do, a platform for us to be involved in this event no matter where our businesses are based,' said Walsh.
A Reserve Bank of New Zealand study released this week predicted the cup would inject NZ$700 million (HK$4.53 billion) into the local economy from tourist spending alone. The effect the event will have on international trade, however, is a much harder to pin down.
'You can't really be sure what the effect will be other than to know that never before have so many New Zealand businesses been given an opportunity to get out there internationally,' said NZTE's Rugby World Cup project director Bruce Gadd.
'We are all aware that rugby involves a lot of business that is done between people in the crowd and away from the games and that's why there are so many social opportunities being presented to them.'
Among the larger organisations hoping to use the opportunities presented by the cup is New Zealand Winegrowers, which represents an industry that throws NZ$1.5 billion into the economy each year.
'New Zealand's two greatest assets are its tourism and its produce,' said NZ Winegrowers' chief executive Philip Gregan. 'Wine plays a vital role in our economy and in our exports and it will play a large role at the Rugby World Cup. People will come here to eat and drink as well as to watch the rugby and we all have to make use of that fact.'
So for those lucky enough to be heading down to New Zealand next month, you can expect to see more than just the rugby on show.
'I'm not really sure the full extent of the opportunity being presented to New Zealand has been realised until very recently,' said RNZ 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden. 'But it is building right now, which is the perfect time.'
The amount of money, in NZ dollars, World Cup tourist spending is expected to inject into the economy, says the Reserve Bank