Saturday 23 February 2019

Travel agent plans to be big in Japan for Rugby World Cup

Yokohama, where Ireland will face Scotland
Yokohama, where Ireland will face Scotland

Michael Cogley

Rugby's Six Nations may not have even started, but one Irish travel agency is already looking further ahead and preparing for the thousands of Irish rugby fans set to travel to Japan later this year to follow their team at the Rugby World Cup.

Players in next month's Six Nations will seek to copper-fasten a place in Joe Schmidt's squad. But fans too are putting plans in place to be in Yokohama on September 22 for Ireland's curtain-raiser against Scotland.

The managing director of Dublin-based Unique Japan Tours, Darina Slattery, predicted as many as 5,000 fans will travel.

"Based on the numbers we have at the moment, we expect to cater for at least 2,000 people, with half coming from Ireland and the other half coming from our international markets," she said.

"We've been at this for 20 years and know the marketplace inside and out. This, coupled with the Olympics next year, will undoubtedly provide us with our best years yet."

Slattery has added an extra 10 staff over the past 12 months to help cater for increased demand.

For the Rugby World Cup, packages start from €2,500 per person. The business offers ground-handling services, meaning that "everything is taken care of from when you get off the plane in Japan to once you leave".

"We've already started work on the Olympics ahead of time, which will likely be more important for us than the World Cup," she said.

"There's huge demand for our services emerging from the US, as well as the likes of England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. We're expecting to take up to 3,000 people across for the Games in 2020."

Sunday Indo Business

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