World Vintage Rugby in Hawaii for the First Time
Since 2004, Vintage Rugby has gathered veteran players over 35 years old from around the world to participate in its biannual World Vintage Rugby Carnival. For the first time in the U.S., this week-long celebration of friendly rugby matches, festivities and leisure activities took place in Hawaii from Sept. 23 through Sept. 30. More than 1,200 players and their families traveled from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Spain, United Kingdom and the mainland U.S. to participate in matches at Kapiolani Park.
“We were pleased to host the World Vintage Rugby Carnival in the Hawaiian Islands,” said Mike Story, HTA Sports and Tourism Brand Manager for the Oceania market. “As one of the most popular sports in the world, rugby provides an opportunity for the HTA to expand its sports portfolio while reaching a greater audience, and introduce the unique people, place and culture of the Hawaiian Islands.”
The 2012 Carnival had two categories for participation, including men ages 35-45 years old and men 46 years old and over. Previous carnivals have been held in Ireland (2004), Argentina (2006), New Zealand (2008) and South Africa (2010).
“Rugby is New Zealand’s premier sport, beloved by many not only in Oceania but around the world,” said Darragh Walshe, country manager for Hawaii Tourism Oceania, who was instrumental in bringing the event to Hawaii. “We are grateful to the HTA for their support on this event and look forward to the Hawaii International Rugby 7s later this year.”
The HTA sports marketing program is designed to increase Hawaii’s sports presence to a globally competitive level, draw visitors interested in traveling specifically for such events, diversify the visitor and resident experience and highlight the state’s unique attributes in order to build a sustainable sports tourism market. Through events like the World Vintage Rugby Carnival, the HTA continues to broaden Hawaii’s sports offerings and experience.