Rugby World Cup reveal ambitious plans with Official Travel Agency launch

This week was the start of the countdown of sorts for fans interested in attending the next Rugby World Cup which will take place in France between 8 September and 21 October 2023.

Between now and then of course, thanks to the coronavirus, there will be astonishingly congested calendar of big-ticket global events which includes squeezing in two Olympics, a UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cup.

But a Rugby World Cup in France is a particularly special proposition.

France performing La Marseillaise when up against the old enemy England in a Rugby World Cup semifinal at the Stade de France in front of the French president is about as French as it gets

At the centre of the 2023 Organising Committee’s plans is the Lyon-based Groupe Couleur who have been appointed as the exclusive global rightsholder for the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Official Travel Programme.

Earlier this year, Groupe Couleur launched a wide-ranging selection process for Official Travel Agents (OTAs). More than 100 agencies applied from across the globe and, after a detailed analysis of applications, 22 agencies from thirteen different countries have been selected.

All of us at The DAIMANI Journal would like to pass on our congratulations to those selected :

Argentina: Tower Travel

Australia: Gullivers Sport Travel, Keith Prowse Travel, Sportsnet® Holidays, Wallabies Travel

China/Hong Kong: BH Hospitality

Germany: P1 Travel

France: Couleur Rugby

Ireland: Killester Travel

Japan: Nippon Travel Agency, STH Japan, Tobu Top Tours

New Zealand: All Blacks Tours

The Netherlands: P1 Travel

South Africa: Edusport, SA Rugby Travel, Sportsnation

Spain: VB Sports by Grupo Viajabien

United Kingdom: England Rugby Travel, Gullivers Sports Travel, MSG Tours,

United States of America: USA Eagles Tours

In terms of dates in the diary, the next steps are:

  • the Rugby World Cup 2023 Draw takes place on 14 December 2020
  • the official match calendar announcement is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021, Official Travel Agents will finalise their different packages
  • Travel packages will go on sale in March 2021, but fans can already register their interest with the agency or agencies selected in their territories listed above and mapped out below
Rugby World Cup Agent Territories
© Rugby World Cup Limited 

Given the tough economic times, it was a sign of the attractiveness of the RWC proposition and France as a destination-venue that Groupe Couleur reported 200,000 tickets had already been pre-ordered by the OTAs as part of their appointment process. This was a significant increase compared to Rugby World Cups 2015 and 2019. The French hosts have set themselves a target of attracting 600,000 visitors to the country.

Another standout success in 2019 was the tournament’s official hospitality programme which was run by STH Japan, a joint venture between the world-renowned STH and Japan’s market-leading travel agency JTB. The programme launched in February 2018 and exceeded the sales target of ¥10.5bn. (£70m)

World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper, pictured below, said: ‘The Official Travel Agent Programme has been one of the major success stories for Rugby World Cup, proving a hit for sports fans from around the world, delivering its unforgettable memories and exceptional experiences.’

World Rugby, Gosper
Brett Gosper, World Rugby Chief Executive Officer

‘Following a very special Japanese tournament in 2019, enthusiasm for Rugby World Cup France 2023 is exceptionally strong, and we are delighted to see so many countries expressing interest in our showcase event. Starting today, fans can start preparing for their French experience.’

One of the most powerful stories of the 2019 Rugby World Cup was the transformative effect that the Cherry Blossoms performance had on the whole of the Japanese nation

Claude Atcher, CEO of France 2023: ‘Because a Rugby World Cup is sometimes a trip of a lifetime, I am pleased with this public announcement of the Official Travel Agents. The OTAs will assist fans from all over the world plan their trip to France so that they can best support their teams during the matches and enjoy France’s sightseeing. It’s a very exciting perspective for everyone.’

Claude Atcher, Bernard Laport, Olivier Ginon, GL Events, RWC
Claude Atcher, left, and Bernard Laporte, right, the President of the French Rugby Federation and vice-chairman of World Rugby, with Olivier Ginon, centre, the Chairman of GL Events group after GL Events were announced as a RWC sponsor

Groupe Couleur Founder and President David Chevalier said: ‘Our entire team is incredibly proud to present this list of travel agents, but our work isn’t over yet! Additional agencies from several other new territories from the five continents will be added to the list in the following months, and this diversity will make Rugby World Cup France 2023 a truly unique and global event.’

Author image
Charlie Charters is a former rugby union official and sports marketing executive turned thriller writer whose debut book Bolt Action was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010.
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