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Lions tour expected to boost economy

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/04/2017
Government ministers are looking forward to significant economic gains from the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour. © Getty Government ministers are looking forward to significant economic gains from the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.

Government ministers are anticipating significant economic gains from the British and Irish Lions tour which kicks off in June.

"The economic benefits to New Zealand when the Lions last toured in 2005 were considerable," Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman said on Tuesday.

"Ticket sales totalled 355,000 and there were over 431,000 international visitor bed nights.

"There was also an estimated local television audience of over 3.5 million for the three tests."

Dr Coleman and Arts and Culture Minister Maggie Barry have just launched the Rugby Festival 2017 programme, which they describe as "a nationwide celebration that showcases our culture".

It will run alongside the tour, and includes a range of events for communities and fans.

The Lions first match is against the New Zealand Provisional Barbarians in Whangarei on June 3.

They will play all five Super Rugby teams and three tests against the All Blacks.

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