All Blacks to become tourism experience in Viaduct Harbour attraction next year

By Fiona Rotherham

Market research suggests the All Blacks Experience is likely to attract one-third international visitors. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Market research suggests the All Blacks Experience is likely to attract one-third international visitors. Photo / Brett Phibbs

NZ Rugby and brand experience company Discovery Partners are planning to open an All Blacks Experience tourism attraction in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour by late 2017 in a 50:50 joint venture.

The immersive, interactive tour will feature the rugby team and help promote New Zealand, said Discovery Partners regional director Chris Atkinson.

The experience will be housed on the ground floor of a Wynyard Quarter building being built by infrastructure investor Infratil, which will also feature a hotel and carpark.

"This is nothing like a museum," Atkinson said. "This is an interactive and immersive experience built on the concept of film tourism."

She wouldn't reveal the cost of the development but visitors will pay around $50 per adult for the 70-minute experience.

Discovery Partners is a small New Zealand company run by Andrew Te Whaiti.

Atkinson said it also provided stadium tours for the Manchester City football team in the UK and has several other brand tourism opportunities in the pipeline. It previously ran a Comvita tourism experience for the honey products company until last September when the company took it over because it wanted greater control over the brand and development.

Market research suggests the All Blacks Experience is likely to attract one-third international visitors, one-third Auckland, and one-third domestic visitors in the first year though the weighting is expected to shift to more overseas visitors over time, she said. The experience involves a series of zones with visitors welcomed by "coaches" - guides who take them through the attraction.

The first welcome zone has the name of all the All Blacks etched on the walls and Maori carvings depicting stories of local tribes and New Zealand rugby.

This is nothing like a museum, this is an interactive and immersive experience built on the concept of film tourism.
Discovery Partners regional director Chris Atkinson

Other zones include a replica of Auckland's Eden Park where visitors can choose to sit in the seat of their particular favourite All Black who will then talk to them via headphones on their pre-match ritual. Another zone allow visitors to split into teams and have a go themselves at either kicking, with recorded tips from Dan Carter or Sonny Bill Williams giving advice on pass and go with the ball or Kevin Mealamu on how to throw the ball in.

The final area is a discovery zone which includes detailed information on rugby history, a retail outlet and café.

Updated tourism forecasts released this morning at the annual Trenz international tourism trade event predicted New Zealand's exceptional growth is likely to continue with forecast annual growth of 7.5 percent per annum until 2022, hitting 4.5 million visitors. It's expected that the 4 million international tourism mark will be hit in 2019. Value is forecast to rise faster than volume with total spend expected to reach $16 billion in the next six years, or 5.4 percent annual growth.

The big uplift in Chinese tourists is set to continue with an annual 18 percent increase forecast. They are projected to account for 20 percent of arrivals and one-third of total visitor spend by 2022. India is forecast to grow to 93,000 visitors by 2022, which is comparable to many of New Zealand's traditional markets and a 10.6 percent annual growth rate.

Indian visitors also tend to travel during New Zealand's shoulder season which is a big focus for the tourism industry as growing numbers are causing capacity constraints in tourism hotspots during the peak summer season.

- BusinessDesk

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