Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 2017 ..
MR QUINLAN: It is a pleasure to be able to discuss something that is, I think, for everybody, good news.
Mr Smyth: It's a good thing the oval was upgraded.
MR SPEAKER: Order, members! The Deputy Chief Minister has the floor.
MR QUINLAN: The expectation of the Australian Rugby Union is that about 45,000 tourists will visit Australia for the rugby world cup. These figures have been recently revised to take into account such factors as the SARS outbreak and general world unrest.
Through CTECT, as it was, the government has been active in trying to turn thoughts of potential rugby world cup tourists to visiting Canberra, either for rugby world cup matches or for events to be held here around the tournament period. Canberra is fortunate to have been allocated four excellent rugby world cup teams to play for a quarter-final position. They are Wales, Italy, Tonga and Canada.
Interest in these matches has been encouraging, with more than half the tickets for each match already taken up. For those who are unfamiliar with the ticketing process, it is not unlike the one used for the Sydney Olympics. From October last year, half the tickets for each match went on sale in Australia through a ballot system, with virtually all tickets to our matches being snapped up. 45 per cent of those tickets were purchased outside the ACT. Such has been the demand that it has not been possible for an Australian to buy a ticket to our matches for several months.
At this point I do want to herald a warning note: to get tickets to the final, I think you had to have bought tickets to some of the earlier round matches. There may be a second level of sales of tickets, but certainly people have dived in and bought tickets.
The other half of the tickets were made available overseas. The figures for those sales are not yet available. All unsold tickets will be available for sale to the general public from 18 August.
To date our marketing efforts have naturally concentrated on the UK, particularly on the Welsh, and Italy. The Welsh are great rugby followers and tourists. On this front, we have been fortunate to have been able to appoint Joe Roff as Canberra's rugby ambassador. He is now known as his excellency Joe Roff. Last November he spent some time in Wales and around England promoting Canberra as a rugby world cup destination. We all know Joe's pedigree.
To focus our marketing efforts and to maximise the benefit to Canberra of being a rugby world cup venue, a group of key government and non-government agencies was formed last September. The resulting marketing events program, rugby celebration of 2003, has been under way for about eight months and will run until the end of this year.
According to the Australian Rugby Union and other rugby world cup organisers, the rugby celebration program has placed us well ahead of other rugby world cup cities. As such, other venues have done us the compliment of copying some of our ideas.