Wellington, July 30 (IANS) New Zealand said Tuesday it looked forward to co-hosting the 2015 cricket World Cup with Australia.
"This gives Christchurch a target to work toward, and signals its re-emergence as a strong tourist and sporting destination capable of hosting world-class events," said Sport and Recreation Minister Murray McCully.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that New Zealand would host half of all pool matches, one quarter-final and a semi-final.
Seven New Zealand cities - Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin - are to host three matches each, while seven Australian cities would host the remainder of the 49-match tournament from Feb 14 to March 29, 2015. Earthquake-battered Christchurch will be hosting the opening match.
The New Zealand government will contribute 5 million NZ dollars ($3.99 million) to the tournament.
"This commitment will ensure the 2015 Cricket World Cup lives up to the high standards New Zealand set as a host nation during the Rugby World Cup in 2011," McCully said.
The government's Tourism New Zealand agency said it could now begin planning for the influx of cricket fans and international media.
"The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 provides us with a major opportunity to boost exposure in key target markets and encourage travellers to visit New Zealand or add New Zealand to their Australian tour plans," Tourism New Zealand chair Kerry Prendergast said.
The World Cup is contested by the 10 full members of the ICC, which are England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, the West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Four associate and affiliated members will also compete to qualify for the mega event.