The Last Word: Martin Snedden

“This is not about another attempt by the All Blacks to win the holy grail. It’s actually about the opportunity to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events – and the hosting responsibilities that go with that. I think this is the thing we can do so specially, that no other country can do.”

The projected 95,000 visitors will include between 1000 and 2000 journalists coming to New Zealand for the cup and with lot of time between games, they won’t only be reporting on the matches. “They are going to be looking at our country and at us and then reporting back to the rest of the world about what they see,” says Snedden. “That’s fantastic opportunity, but huge risk if we don’t get it right.”

He points to research done by Tourism New Zealand that shows that 97 to 98 percent of visitors who travel here report they have had great holiday with the two main reasons given being the country’s beauty and the fact our people are friendly, informal and welcoming.

“That’s what we’ve got going for us and that is what we have to use. All New Zealanders have an opportunity to directly impact on the success of this event. It may be someone who has no association with the tournament – who can’t stand rugby – but if they have the presence of mind to smile at visitor or help them or leave them with nice feeling then the cumulative effect of that will be huge. That’s what our visitors will go home and talk about and they will become ambassadors for New Zealand. So the tournament is really about all of us being great hosts.”

• If you’re not one of the 933,026 who have viewed this YouTube clip then take look at what’s in store in the lead in to tonight’s opening match between the All Blacks and Tonga.
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