The development of Rugby Super 12 and its implications for tourism: the case of the Otago Highlanders
Higham, James E S; Hinch, Tom
This report presents a detailed analysis of the impacts of Rugby Super 12 on the tourism industry in the Otago Highlanders region. It presents the results of a qualitative programme of research for which individuals involved in the administration of Rugby Super 12 (rugby unions) and tourism development (local government and tourism promotion offices) were interviewed. A sport tourism framework is presented in this report and used to explore the impacts of sport on the spatial and temporal dimensions of tourism. The manner in which Rugby Super 12 affects travel patterns and offers potential for tourism development in the Highlanders region is then explored. Study participants felt that Rugby Super 12 has had significant implications for tourism in Southern New Zealand. It was seen as generating increased domestic travel into and within the region, attracting people who had little previous interest in rugby and encouraging international visitors to make rugby spectatorship part of their New Zealand tour itinerary. The introduction of Rugby Super 12 to the region was reported as having increased: the numbers of people travelling, their length of stay and their spending patterns. The Highlanders were also seen to present tourism development potential in terms of: • The promotion of Dunedin as an urban tourism destination (eg., floodlit night sport). • The further evolution of Carisbrook as an urban tourism icon. • The promotion of the heritage, history, lifestyles and attractions within the region. • The differentiation of the Southern Macro-region from other regions in New Zealand. • The promotion of the region as an international tourism destination through the televising of Highlanders games to international audiences. Rugby Super 12 was seen as benefiting the tourism sector within the region and offering great potential for further benefits. Capturing these benefits requires that the promotional opportunities presented by the Highlanders team (and the star players within it) be incorporated into tourism development strategies. It was also recognized that while Rugby Super 12 has had positive implications for tourism, the same is true for the impact of tourism on the Highlanders franchise. That is, the travel patterns generated by Rugby Super 12 benefit the tourism industry (people travelling further to be involved in sporting occasions) but increased tourism also benefits Otago rugby (e.g., through ground attendance, atmosphere, expanded supporter base, merchandise/ food and beverage/ season ticket sales). Additional research in this area will provide an information base upon which to make decisions that can maximize the mutual benefits of this relationship between sport and tourism.
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Other