SINGAPORE – The impact of global sporting events on a destination’s tourism continues to be significant, if the spike in travel bookings and searches to Japan during the 2019 Rugby World Cup is anything to go by.
According to a recent report by travel data provider Adara, inbound flight searches and booking data correlated to major competition stages and drew a mixture of advanced and last-minute bookings across the event from Sept 20 to Nov 2.
The report was based on fans travelling from major rugby countries such as Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, France, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and South Africa.
Here are the insights from travel searches and bookings during the event:
1. Booking spikes correlate to key competition stages
Travel bookings spiked during crucial stages in the competition, from the pool stage, quarter-, semi-finals and finals.
Compared to the usual 5-20% of inbound visitors to Japan, the report found that there was a 30% increase in travellers just before the pool stage on Sept 20 and an even larger spike of 40% just before the finals on Nov 20.
Overall, the number of inbound travellers from all major rugby countries in October 2019 dramatically increased by 33% compared to 2018.
2. Advanced bookings form the majority
While more than half of flight bookings to Japan (59.2%) were made immediately before and during the World Cup, there was a large spike in flight searches to Tokyo after the announcement that England and South Africa were advancing to the finals.
Search volumes for flights to Tokyo from the United Kingdom and South Africa spiked dramatically by 65 and 73 times the September average respectively.
3. Advanced bookings equates longer trip
Travellers who made their bookings further in advance tended to stay in Japan for a longer period of time.
However, 60.5% of those who booked their flights after the pool stage stayed less than seven days, suggesting that they were only there to watch the Rugby World Cup.
4. Elite travellers
Travellers who booked flights further in advance were more likely to be elite travellers.
Bookings made before, during and after were more likely to be made by elite travellers as compared to those who booked their flights in August or September, before the pool stage.
Findings similarly indicate a correlation between the higher costs of airfares and the likelihood of travellers being of elite status during the same time periods.
More details from the full report can be found here.