Super Rugby Games Deliver Economic Windfall

Dec 3, 2023 | Blog, News

The Super Rugby games in Fiji during the 2023 season not only showcased the nation as a sports tourism destination but also delivered substantial economic benefits.

Fijian Drua CEO Mark Evans (left) and Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill discussing the report after its publication in Nadi.

The 28th season of Super Rugby, unfolding between February and June 2023, featured teams from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, and Tonga. A pivotal addition to the series was the participation of Fiji’s domestic team, the Fijian Drua, which made its mark in the 2022 season.

Tourism Fiji, in collaboration with Market Development Facility (MDF) and the Fijian Drua, undertook a comprehensive study to assess the economic benefits of sports tourism and its lasting positive effects on Fiji’s economy and tourism sector.

The report’s significant findings reveal that the direct expenditure related to game attendees and event operations amounted to FJ$67.1 million, fostering employment opportunities for 21,000 individuals, equivalent to 520 full-time jobs.

International visitors, with an average spend of FJ$6,837, contributed to a total expenditure of FJ$40 million, resulting in 40,328 overseas visitor nights and invigorating Fiji’s tourism industry. Beyond immediate economic gains, the study indicates a sustained impact, with 90 per cent of surveyed visitors expressing plans to attend games in 2024, and an impressive 95 per cent expressing readiness to recommend the experience to others.

On the domestic front, the study highlights a substantial contribution of FJ$11.5 million to new local incomes, creating 242 full-time equivalent jobs, and positively influencing domestic tourism with 20,970 generated visitor nights and a local spend of FJ$2.35 million.

From an economic perspective, the games had a considerable ripple effect. The estimated expenditure associated with created and retained tourism, coupled with game hosting, amounted to FJ$18.1 million, constituting 27 per cent of the total spend.

The report also emphasises the positive influence on tourism infrastructure, with the hosting of the games resulting in 20,970 visitor nights and a spend of FJ$2.35 million. Beyond the immediate economic gains, the games’ impact on Fijians’ well-being, with 83 per cent expressing enjoyment, is estimated at FJ$21 million.

Looking ahead, the report suggests that the hosting of the Super Rugby games, especially with a continued program in subsequent years, holds the promise of longer-term benefits for Fiji. An overwhelming 90 per cent of surveyed visitors expressed their likelihood to attend games in 2024, with 95 per cent indicating their intent to recommend attendance to friends and colleagues.