Bledisloe test brings back the buzz to Wellington

9 Oct 2020

Wellington’s Bledisloe Cup weekend is bringing back the buzz to Wellington and provides a great finish to what was a busy school holiday period for the capital.

A big crowd is expected at Sky Stadium for the All Blacks v Australia clash on Sunday afternoon which will be welcome news for retailers and the hospitality sector in Wellington’s CBD.

But other events are also adding vibrancy to Wellington in the lead-up to the trans-Tasman rugby extravaganza.

There are three sold out Benee gigs, Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive shows are at capacity and Winetopia promises to be a wonderful celebration of the grape at the TSB Arena.

And all of this is being played out as Visa Wellington on a Plate, New Zealand’s largest food and beverage festival, delights and tantalises the taste-buds of thousands.

WellingtonNZ Events and Experiences General Manager Warrick Dent says the capital has arguably the strongest lineup of events in the country.

“Wellington’s reputation as an events city is cemented in the psyche of Kiwis and it plays an important role in our post-Covid recovery.

“An All Blacks test pumps millions of dollars into the local economy, especially into the hospitality and retail sectors – both of which have experienced pandemic damage.

“When looking at all events happening this weekend, and the people they will attract to central Wellington, we believe the city is in line for one of its busiest weekend since going into lockdown in March.”

First Retail director Chris Wilkinson says CBD-based retail and hospitality sectors are humming with anticipation ahead of Wellington’s Bledisloe weekend.

“Having thousands of people pour into town for a range of big, popular events over a few days is music to the ears of business owners. It’ll be a great weekend.”

In fact, Mr Wilkinson says the entire two-week school holidays proved to be excellent for retail and hospitality.

“Aside from rugby fans, shoppers were in town over the school holidays for the Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive exhibition, Visa Wellington on a Plate, and those that already had accommodation and flights to attend the cancelled World of WearableArt award shows and decided to come anyway. They have all been noticeable additions to the city's already diverse audience.”

Wellington Airport Chief Commercial Officer Matt Clarke says with the school holidays coming to an end and the Bledisloe Cup test taking place this weekend, the airport is expecting more than 16,000 passengers to and from the Capital on Friday 8 October. This is double the daily number of people passing through in September and a strong sign of recovery from the recent Covid restrictions.

“Everyone working at the airport is thrilled to see the passenger numbers picking up after what has been a very difficult period for the aviation industry, and particularly great to be welcoming so many visitors to the Capital.”

He says the school holidays, the move to alert level one, removal of social distancing requirements on aircraft, Jetstar’s return and Air New Zealand’s domestic sale fares have all helped to stimulate travel over the past two weeks.

WellingtonNZ is also running a marketing campaign targeting potential visitors from drive time destinations in the lower North Island, and a new Love Local campaign encouraging Wellingtonians to buy from local businesses in the heart of the CBD as they face diminished foot traffic and revenue as more people work from home.