Kiwis open their homes to tourists

The New Zealand government will link foreign rugby fans with Kiwis willing to open their homes for the 2011 World Cup.

As many as 35 000 casual visitors are expected for the tournament, with other fans using official packages. The latter group should be put up in hotels while the casual visitors may need to find other accommodation.

Rugby NZ 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden told The Press he will be working with the government and IRB to ensure these visitors have a place to stay.

‘The idea of home hosting is something that has huge appeal,’ he said. ‘This is a major focus for government.

‘This is one of the major reasons they are investing in the Rugby World Cup, to drive the free, independent travel market.’

Plans are under way for a “linking mechanism” that will bring accommodation options under one banner.

Homestays will appeal to some visitors.

‘The whole rationale for private homes is not an accommodation shortage, it’s event experience,’ Snedden said.