€1bn bonanza predicted if Ireland wins Rugby World Cup bid
The Rugby World Cup could help bring in as much as €1bn in sports tourism revenue in 2023 if Ireland's bid is successful, an upcoming summit will hear.
The claim is set to be made by of W2 Consulting at the upcoming Shannon Airport European Sport Tourism Summit. The Clare-based company, which was set up by Ireland rugby legend Keith Wood and sports consultant Mark O'Connell, specialises in project research, planning and implementation in the tourism and sport sectors.
Mr Wood will say that the World Cup could attract "up to 350,000 visitors and also generate anything up to €800m in revenue for the country and thousands of jobs.
"Couple that with the €200m we anticipate sport tourism will be generating annually and you hit the €1bn mark in terms of revenue from sport tourism in one year."
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr O'Connell said the figure of €800m is "reasonably conservative" and based on estimates by the Irish Rugby Football Union as well as the projected spend in the UK economy in the 2015 World Cup.
"It would be a cautious enough figure. New Zealand's experience [in 2011's World Cup] was that people spent about €2,500 per person on average, so we would estimate that the average spend would be between €2,000 and €2,500," he said. "People coming to the Rugby World Cup also tend to spend longer here than the average tourist, about six to seven days, and would spend more."
A recent study estimated the World Cup will be worth around €1.35bn to Britain's economy.
Mr O'Connell added that the World Cup could be a huge opportunity to enhance Ireland's image and prove its capability of handling large sports events. "It could play into the longer term view of Ireland, build a platform and prove that we could host other mega sporting events," he said.