UKinbound has called on the government to recognise the power of sports tourism as an economic driver, ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup 2015 this Friday (18 September).
UKinbound expects the event, set to draw 440,000 international visitors to 11 British cities, to result in its tourism visitors contributing £869m to the UK economy.
New research conducted by Ernst & Young indicates the Rugby World Cup will be the single biggest boost to UK tourism since the 2012 Olympics.
Not only should the government ‘acknowledge’ the economic benefits of inbound tourism, but also ‘build’ a strong national transport infrastructure to drive regional tourism, UKinbound argues.
“A reliable transport network will support iconic sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup which rely on regional destinations, in turn helping to develop our country’s iconic and growing football tourism which in the last year attracted over 800,000 tourists,” the agency’s release states.
UKinbound’s chief executive officer, Deirdre Wells OBE, adds: “The Rugby World Cup will play a key role in cementing the UK’s reputation as a world class tourist destination. Sport has a powerful impact on boosting tourism spend and stimulating employment across the UK and it is imperative that the government continues to support sporting events to ensure the continued growth of the British visitor economy.
Our 350 members all share our enthusiasm in hosting such a prolific sporting event and we hope to support the government in the bidding of such events in the future, further cementing the UK as a must-see, must-visit destination.”