Thousands of athletes and their families visited Tauranga in September for the 2019 Anchor AIMS Games. A new report has revealed how much the annual event injected into the city. Zoe Hunter reports.
The city's biggest intermediate-aged sports tournament has pumped more than $6.3 million into the region this year, a new report has revealed.
The Tauranga City Council-commissioned Anchor AIMS Games 2019 post-event report showed the tournament injected $6,342,417 into the region compared to $3,048,403 in its last report in 2016 - a 108 per cent increase.
The net benefit of this year's event – once costs had been considered – was $3.15 million.
The week-long event in September drew more than 11,500 athletes from around New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and attracted more than 20,000 visitors to Tauranga.
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A significant 84.5 per cent of visitors were from outside Tauranga, with a further 0.5 per cent from overseas.
Tournament director Vicki Semple said the event was watched live by people in Spain, South Africa, Singapore and Fiji.
"We've invested heavily in the production quality of our coverage over recent years too, which means we are effectively showcasing our beautiful city and its venues to all these overseas viewers," she said.
"It also means that it isn't just the athletes taking home amazing memories; thousands of people overseas are too."
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said the report showed exactly why Tauranga should be proud of hosting the annual sporting event.
"The tournament is a shining light in Tauranga's event calendar," he said.
"There is no other event that resonates so strongly with rangatahi, showcases the breadth of sporting and recreational facilities that Tauranga has to offer or achieves such incredible economic results year after year. The event's growth is second to none."
Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said the AIMS Games "delivers in spades" for Tauranga and the wider region during what would otherwise be a quieter month for tourism and the visitor economy.
"Tauranga is an amazing backdrop for the event and the city's manuhiri (visitors) make a huge contribution to our local economy," she said.
Low said as well as the immediate economic impact, the event also put Tauranga on the map and had significant flow-on effects to accommodation, hospitality, retail and tourism activities.
Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said the annual games have long been a significant event for Tauranga.
"It keeps getting bigger and better for the region providing not only enjoyment and entertainment but also bringing business at a time of the year when it would otherwise be quiet," he said.
"It's good for the region and we look forward to hosting it in years to come."
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the Aims Games is one of Tauranga's treasures.
"The AIMS Games supports our accommodation providers, retailers and eateries during a quiet time of the year for them," he said.
Cowley said the short-lived traffic issues caused by thousands of people travelling throughout the city is eclipsed by the huge economic boost those visitors bring to many local businesses.
"The region is very fortunate that the organisers are committed to keeping the event in Tauranga," he said.
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt congratulated Semple and her team for the event's continued success.
"Not only is AIMS great for our local economy from a financial perspective, it is also a great way of showing visitors our city and what it has to offer," he said.