THE Wye Valley benefited from a slice of an estimated £2.3 billion total economic output during the Rugby World Cup, a report has revealed.
The 406,000 international visitors alone spent £958 million, with domestic visitors adding considerably to this total. With over two million tickets sold, not only was RWC 2015 the biggest rugby tournament in history, it was the fifth largest single-sport event anywhere in the world ever.
Situated between the cities of Cardiff and Gloucester, which hosted a combined 12 matches and £592,000 ticket holders, the Wye Valley made an ideal base for rugby fans looking for accommodation between the two stadiums. With international visitors each staying for 14 days in the UK, the area also became a prime day trip and short stay destination as visitors made the most of their time in the region
In addition, the Scotland and USA squads were based at Gloucestershire’s Hartpury College throughout the tournament.
To help rugby fans plan their trip, the tourism association launched a dedicated landing page, World Cup Playground, full of accommodation tips, Rugby World Cup events and special deals. Continually updated, it ensured that visitors could make the most of their time in the area in between fixtures.
Ian Officer, chairman of Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association, said: “On the pitch the performance of our domestic sides was not what we hoped for, thought the economic benefit absolutely surpassed our expectations.
“The 12 matches in nearby Gloucester and Cardiff were sold out and more than one million people attended fanzones, including the one in Gloucester Docks. In Gloucester alone, total economic output reached £24 million.
“With 80 per cent of international visitors saying they would return to the UK, we know the event was a major success and will mean people come back to enjoy the amazing offer we have here.”
Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, said: “Britain shone in the global spotlight as the host of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and it’s great to see the huge growth in visits and spend from some of the world’s top rugby-watching nations including Australia, our fourth most valuable market.
“Almost half a million international visitors attended matches and events across 11 host cities throughout the seven-week tournament which gave these areas fantastic global exposure, introducing new places to many overseas visitors.”
The next major sporting event to arrive in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean will be the Tour of Britain. Taking place on the 8th September, Stage Five from Abadare to Bath will cross the width of the destination taking in landmarks such as Tintern Abbey.