THE Rugby World Cup (RWC) has fuelled a tourism boom from the competing nations, during the period from September 12 to November 6, which covers the tournament dates and several days before and after, flight bookings to Japan from the competing nations are currently 38.1% ahead as compared to the same period last year.

According to Olivier Ponti, vice president ForwardKeys said the highest peak is on the day before the opening ceremony, with bookings from the competing nations more than double those on the equivalent date in 2018.

“When we analyse these visitors in more depth, we see that their average length of stay is 11.7 nights. That tells us that few people are coming to watch a specific game and then returning home; the majority are making a holiday of their visit,” he said.

Ponti also mentioned that the RWC tourism boost is most strongly illustrated by visits from Ireland, which is not a mainstream tourism market for Japan and has no direct flight connections, according to the study.

“Bookings for the period beginning September 12 to November 6 are currently 500.3 per cent ahead of where they were at this time last year. The average length of stay is 12.7 nights, which indicates that Irish visitors, having made the journey – the minimum flight time from Dublin to Tokyo is 13.5 hours – are also staying for a holiday in Japan,” he said.

He added that there are very clear booking spikes around the dates when the Irish are playing their matches, which also happen to be the weekends. What intrigues me most is that the highest peak in bookings coincides with the quarter-finals. I’m tempted to suggest that Irish fans are confident of their team reaching that far but not necessarily any further.

“However, as Ireland is the world’s second ranked team, I suspect other factors are at play, such as the very limited availability of tickets for the semi-finals and final, and a strong preference of Irish rugby fans to take a two-week holiday,” Ponti said. [ special]