Queenstown will host the 13th Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival in 2008.
More than 1200 cricketers from 10 countries are expected to head to the Central Otago and the Southern Lakes region for the week-long festival to be held 9 to 16 March 2008, it was announced today (Wednesday, March 29).
Golden Oldies Cricket is one of a family of five sports involving participants over the age of 40 years who meet every two years around the world to play against like-minded sportsmen and sportswomen.
It is the fourth time that the Festival has been held in New Zealand after staging it in Auckland, Christchurch and Rotorua.
The Festival is expected to inject more than $2 million into the local economy.
The matches will be played throughout the Southern Lakes and Central Otago regions including Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown Recreation Ground, Millbrook, Cromwell, Luggate, Clyde, Alexandra, Omakau, Poolburn and Wanaka.
"Golden Oldies sport is about fun, friendship and fraternity. A key in staging our Festivals is a location that can achieve these things," said Keith Robinson of Air New Zealand Holidays at the launch function in Queenstown.
"Unquestionably Queenstown and the Central Lakes region is a magnificent destination. I would venture to say that it will provide one of the most spectacular settings in the two decades that the Festivals have been staged.
"We are sure that it will be a must-see destination for our Golden Oldies cricketers from around the world."
Welcoming the announcement, Queenstown Mayor, Clive Geddes said the region will ensure the Festival is a special week.
"We have the infrastructure, the people and the ability to make it the best-ever Festival," Mr Geddes said. "It is also a wonderful cricket area. And as we see now with the annual Black Caps match, it is one of the most popular cricketing venues in the country."
Destination Queenstown CEO David Kennedy said the Festival would further enhance the profile of sporting events in the region as well as providing economic and other benefits.
"Queenstown is renowned for its superb range of year-round events. Over the past several years the region has worked to attract high profile sporting fixtures.
"The success of the World Triathlon Championships in 2003 and now the Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival clearly demonstrates the positive impact of high profile events to Queenstown.
"Queenstown is a sophisticated resort town with quality venues, accommodation, activities, restaurants and transport to deliver an unforgettable experience for visitors."
Queenstown resident and a Director of the Otago Cricket Association, John Petre will be the Festival Director and he has formed a strong committee of local cricket enthusiasts and business folk to stage the event.
"We plan to involve the various clubs in the Southern Lakes and Central Otago region who will provide real southern hospitality I am sure," he said.
Mr Petre also announced that New Zealand cricket great, former captain and current national selector, Glenn Turner will be the Festival Ambassador.
The first Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival was held in Auckland in 1984, attracting 34 teams. It has grown from that point with 11 highly successful Cricket Festivals staged in some of the world’s nicest destinations including Brighton, Brisbane, Vancouver, Christchurch, Birmingham, Sydney, Cape Town, Rotorua and Mooloolaba. The 12th Festival will be staged next month in Sri Lanka, the first time the movement has been staged in Asia.
For more on New Zealand at ITKT