Queenstown needs business from missed Rugby Championship, mayor says

Queenstown is in need of tourism business.
Queenstown is in need of tourism business. Photo credit: Getty Images

Queenstown hoteliers are counting the cost of missing out on hosting Rugby Championship teams.

The six-week tournament - starting in November and involving Australia, South Africa, Argentina and the All Blacks - will now mostly be played in New South Wales.

If the games had remained in New Zealand, the sides would have stayed in Queenstown.

Nik Kiddle from the Lakes District accommodation sector says his members are desperate for business, such as the 200 rooms teams would have stayed in for two months.

"Let's face it, New Zealanders have contributed their bit, they've been here, they've done that and we would welcome more."

"But there's only so much that the domestic travel industry can fulfil and we really do need to have access again to international travel, even if it's managed and it's available to us in a limited way."

The mayor of Queenstown Jim Boult said money offered by the Australian government to Sanzaar and a degree of procrastination are to blame for New Zealand losing hosting rights for the Rugby Championship.

Boult said the loss of this much needed business is a bitter pill to swallow.

He said this country took too long to cut a deal, and the Australians swooped in.

"Horribly disappointed really, we being the council, along with the DHB, the hoteliers etc put a lot of effort into this to get it across the line."

Boult said he offered to put up some of the council's money, but it was not enough.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Mark Robinson has said that New Zealand's quarantine protocols were a factor "meaning we couldn't win the bid."