When New Zealand kicks off the Rugby World Cup next month it will be the largest sporting event hosted in the country.
Only a fifth of the visitors that are expected to attend the NZ$35 million (Dh107m) operation will be from outside the country's islands. However, officials in New Zealand say they will be working hard to woo those visitors who might be potential business investors and could boost global trade links in the future.
They are launching "sector showcases" and a business club, where more than 3,000 business professionals in New Zealand will host and socialise with international counterparts in similar industries.
"Events such as the Rugby World Cup can materially benefit us well beyond the direct benefit of hotel nights, in terms of linking investors, innovators [and] people who are making things happen here and around the world," says John Allen, the chief executive of the foreign affairs and trade ministry.
"We've always looked at the Rugby World Cup as not just being a sporting festival that we will win but an opportunity to position New Zealand on a world stage and build, and cement, relationships that will help us economically as well," he says.
New Zealand was included as a model economy within Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030, in part, for its success in developing a relatively large export base.
The country is now looking to Asia and China, in particular, to grow that beyond the current total of NZ$41.4 billion.
In 2008, New Zealand became the first developed country to negotiate a free-trade agreement with China. That pact is expected to lift exports to China by more than 20 per cent each year, to at least NZ$260m.
"For us, the business story around the Rugby World Cup is how do we position New Zealand as part of the growing Asian Pacific?" says Leon Grice, the director of New Zealand 2011, the main office in charge of the Rugby World Cup this year. "We want to be a vital part of the Asia Pacific."
The country has also been working harder to develop new relationships. Currently, government officials in New Zealand are trying to broker a trade agreement with India.
"New Zealand depends a lot on foreign investment to support our growth and ambitions," says Mr Allen.
"One of the things that small countries get good at is recognising that they can't do everything themselves."
* Neil Parmar