The opening of the first major new tourism attraction since the global outbreak of COVID-19 closed borders to international travellers will provide a welcome boost to visitor numbers in our largest city, says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash.
Mr Nash has this afternoon taken part in the official opening ceremony of the All Blacks Experience at SkyCity.
“The state-of-the-art All Blacks Experience in Auckland will be a world-class attraction once international tourism can safely resume,” said Stuart Nash.
“In the meantime, any Kiwi who is passionate about rugby and our sporting and cultural history should consider putting this new attraction high on their list of must-do experiences. It will be a major drawcard for visitors to the wider Tāmaki Makaurau region.
“The lack of international visitors has been hard on Auckland’s economy. The tourism and hospitality industries are now looking for new ways to attract domestic visitors to our largest city.
“The All Blacks Experience is an interactive showcase of the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Māori All Blacks, and All Blacks Sevens. It is a joint venture between New Zealand Rugby and Ngāi Tahu Tourism and received $2,280,500 of government funding.
“Visitors will encounter a test match haka on a four metre high screen. The full sensory experience even includes the smell of liniment, the atmosphere of a changing room, and the noise and ambience experienced moments before walking out onto the pitch.
“Kiwis are not alone in being sports-mad. Our success in controlling COVID-19 means others look on in admiration as images are beamed around the globe of thousands of fans in rugby stadiums, cricket grounds, netball courts, and shortly, at yachting regattas too.
“Being able to capitalise on our hard-won reputation for eliminating the virus and the appeal of holding major sports events in a safe environment gives us the leading edge when our border re-opens.
“It is crucial that New Zealand remains visible as a desirable tourism destination even while our borders remain tightly controlled. International travellers often plan holidays months or years in advance and our global marketing reflects this.
“This new attraction shows there is much to be confident about for the future of our tourism industry”, Mr Nash said.