HONOLULU, HI — The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced that Hawaii will host the 2012 World Vintage Rugby Carnival, a seven-day event bringing more than 1,500 veteran players and supporters to the islands. The carnival will be held in Honolulu and is the first of its kind to be held in the United States.
“We look forward to hosting this first-time event to the United States that will increase Hawaii’s sports presence on a global level and inject a boost to our tourism economy,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of HTA. “Sporting events such as this not only have a positive economic impact on tourism for our state, but also generate invaluable media coverage worldwide and enhance our residents’ and visitors’ quality of life, providing opportunities for enthusiasts to attend, participate, or volunteer.”
HTA played an instrumental role in meeting and coordinating with local organizing groups and event planners, bringing stakeholders together to make Hawaii’s winning bid for the Rugby Carnival possible, including beating out other destinations who boast a larger number of rugby followers. Hawaii Tourism Oceania, HTA’s marketing partner, will also be providing marketing support for the event.
More than 60 teams from countries including Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, England, France, Spain, Germany, South America, Australia, and South Africa are expected to participate in the 2012 Rugby Carnival. Included in the week-long event are three playing days, two major social functions, and island sightseeing and activities.
“Vintage rugby is a rapidly-growing international movement for mature rugby players,” said Cormac O’Carroll, president of Hawaii Sports, Inc., a local sports event management company assisting with coordination of the event. “We would like to thank HTA for their vision and support in bringing this emerging and exciting sport to Hawaii.”
The 2012 Carnival will have two categories for participation, men ages 35-45 years and men ages 46 years and over. Previous carnivals have been held in Ireland (2004), Argentina (2006), New Zealand (2008), and South Africa (2010).