The list includes SA Rugby Travel – a joint venture between SA Rugby and Tourvest Destination Management – as one of 20 leading agents from 12 nations and territories. The appointment follows a comprehensive selection process by STH, the company appointed by World Rugby to exclusively manage the global supporter tour programme.
Details regarding travel packages, prices and on-sale dates will be announced by the OTAs in early 2018. Supporter tour programmes have been a highlight in the Rugby World Cup success story, with sales for England 2015 exceeding 185,000, 100,000 for New Zealand 2011 and 180,000 for France 2007.
With up to 400,000 international visitors anticipated for the first Rugby World Cup in Asia, demand is expected to be strong.
World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said: “The international travel and ticketing programme has been one of the major success stories for Rugby World Cup, proving a hit for sports fans from around the world, by delivering unforgettable memories and experiences.
“SA Rugby Travel has been provideding world-class rugby travelling experiences into and out of South Africa since 2014,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.
“For years, travelling to Rugby World Cup tournaments has been a highlight for die hard rugby supporters and with the next one in Japan, it promises to be a special occasion. We know SA Rugby Travel will be able to provide whatever is necessary to fans wishing to experience the action on the field, but also what Japan can offer to tourists.”
“We are very excited to be creating product that will take South Africans to a Rugby World Cup, not just in Asia, but in an amazing destination such as Japan.”
“We are delighted to announce the appointment of 20 leading Official Travel Agents for Rugby World Cup 2019. This is a key tournament milestone, and being able to make this announcement so far in advance of the tournament means that fans can really start to plan their Rugby World Cup 2019 experience.
“The Supporter tour programme also plays a part in the growth of rugby worldwide, with the tournament’s commercial programme providing the financial engine that enables World Rugby to invest record sums in community and elite rugby to promote sustainable growth at all levels.”
STH chief executive Simon Jefford said: “All of the OTAs appointed have demonstrated their commitment and desire to provide the best service for rugby fans throughout the world who will travel to Japan in 2019.
“Over 400,000 supporters are expected to travel to Japan for the tournament. Fans will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of match ticket inclusive supporter tours, offering a wide range of ways to experience the tournament in 2019.”