Japan proving to be the hot ticket as official travel and hospitality package demand for Rugby World Cup 2019 exceeds expectations

  • Japan 2019 proving popular with Japanese fans and businesses
  • Sports hospitality being brought to Japan for the first time
  • Official supporter tour sales expected to be 30 percent greater than projected

With a year to go until Japan plays Russia in the opening match of Rugby World Cup 2019™, Asia's first Rugby World Cup is capturing the imagination of a nation and the global rugby family with demand for official travel and hospitality packages exceeding expectations.

STH Japan, a joint-venture between JTB Corporation and Sports Travel and Hospitality Group, is the exclusive official hospitality and supporter tour providers for Rugby World Cup 2019 and can confirm exceptional demand which is exceeding projections.

The supporter tour program is proving to be hugely popular with rugby fans wanting to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event. In particular, there have been record sales from traveling fans in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina as the tournament captures the imagination of the global rugby family.

The most popular packages to date have been tours for the opening weekend, as fans guarantee their place to support their team in the pool stages, and later in the tournament, the Oita quarter-finals are in high demand from English, French and Argentinian supporters. However, fans from New Zealand and Australia are backing their teams to go further as they book places for the semi-finals and final.

With official Supporter Tours sales expected to be 30 percent higher than original predictions, and two further sales surges expected during the November internationals and the Six Nations next year, fans are being urged to find their Official Travel Agent (OTA) at www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours and book their travel packages today.

STH Japan is also bringing sports hospitality to Japan for the first time with a very positive response received from the market and sales to date exceeding expectations.

An innovative range of experiences are being delivered for the tournament. Five official hospitality options are available for fans and every package will include the best-available match ticket and high-quality hospitality experience, combining a blend of western influences and traditional Japanese 'omotenashi', or welcome.

There has been huge interest from both international and Japanese markets, especially for the Japan matches, which are almost sold out. STH Japan are operating a dedicated Webb Ellis Pavilion at Yokohama Stadium, containing 30 private suites, which sold out in record time. The facility also houses a vibrant shared dining space which has been exceptionally popular.

Japan has proven to be a popular destination to visit with 30 percent of hospitality purchasers coming from 39 different countries, promising a truly international atmosphere in 2019. With only one team left to be confirmed for Rugby World Cup 2019, the tournament is on track to be a very special experience.

There are hospitality packages available for every match. This is a great opportunity for Japanese companies to enjoy world-class hospitality with their clients while witnessing the unique atmosphere of Rugby World Cup 2019. Further details can be found at www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "Rugby World Cup 2019 is on track to be a very special and game-changing event. In addition to exceptional ticketing demand, the official supporter tour and hospitality offering is exceeding all expectations and underscoring our belief that Japan is the place to be in 2019."

Simon Jefford, CEO of STH Group who manage the official hospitality and travel programs, said: "This is an incredibly exciting time and one year to go is an important milestone for STH Japan in the lead up to the 2019 tournament. We are very proud of having the opportunity to introduce the concept of sports hospitality to Japan and, of course, provide a unique Rugby World Cup hospitality experience in Asia for visiting international guests.

"We're also very encouraged by the commitment shown by traveling fans to support their teams at Rugby World Cup 2019. Supporters are seeing this as the perfect opportunity to visit Japan and with teams moving into the final stages of preparation fans are guaranteeing their place through the travel program. Our OTAs are reporting record levels of inquiries and sales, which is fantastic for the tournament."

Fans are urged to buy official to guarantee their place at rugby's biggest event. A list of the official travel agents can be found here www.rugbyworldcup.com/buy-official.

Editors' notes:

About Rugby World Cup: Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan is the ninth edition of rugby's showcase global event and the first in Asia. The world's top 20 national teams will play in 48 matches hosted across 12 match cities for the right to lift the iconic Webb Ellis Cup and be crowned world champions. Rugby World Cup is the sport's financial engine, generating approximately 90 percent of World Rugby's revenues for reinvestment in the global game over the four-year cycle. The record-breaking success of England 2015 is enabling World Rugby to invest £245.8 million in the sport by 2020, eclipsing the previous 2013-16 £201 million investment injection by 22 percent. All the latest news can be found at www.rugbyworldcup.com and via @rugbyworldcup across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About STH Japan: Set up as a Joint Venture between JTB Corporation and Sports Travel & Hospitality Group, STH Japan is a business that designs, promotes and operates premium spectator experiences at major sports events in Japan. STH Japan is currently the exclusive, global hospitality provider for Rugby World Cup 2019, the first Rugby World Cup in Asia. Sports Hospitality is a new spectator experience in Japan but is very well-established in Europe and North America. Hospitality consists of fine meals, celebrity guest speakers and entertainment and includes the best available match tickets. Hospitality is a unique and prestigious way to experience major sporting events and is used extensively by businesses in the West to build relationships with important clients and colleagues.

Previously, STH Group has operated the global hospitality program for notable sporting events including; IAAF World Championships 2017, UCI Track Cycling World Championships, London 2012 Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup 2007, 2011 and 2015.