Rugby World Cup set to boost Japan's coffers

TOKYO • Rugby World Cup organisers say they expect the event in Japan next month to bring in 437.2 billion yen (S$5.7 billion) in economic benefits, pinning their hopes on sales of tickets, goods and spending by foreign visitors.

The economic benefit impact report by the competition's organising committee says that the Sept 20-Nov 2 tournament could attract up to 1.8 million fans, including 400,000 from overseas.

The tournament will generate a total output of 437.2 billion yen, boosting the country's gross domestic product of 216.6 billion yen, an increase in tax revenues of 21.6 billion yen and the creation of 25,000 jobs, the report said.

"Fans from faraway countries tend to stay longer," the report said. "Visitors are expected to spend an average 20,000 yen per day, giving their stays a sizeable economic impact."

Takayuki Katsurada, a senior vice-president at the Development Bank of Japan, said the organisers' estimated total output can only be achieved if the inbound travellers' spend as much as expected.

"The key is whether Japan can offer convenient and attractive services for foreign travellers that encourage them to stay and spend," Katsurada said.

While the projected economic impact of the World Cup may be achieved, the country needs to strengthen its links between sports and businesses if it wants to maximise the benefits, analysts say.

Japan, which has traditionally put an emphasis on the educational and cultural aspects of sport rather than its economic potential, has seen little growth in sports-related markets, prompting the government to push for more investments in the sports industry.

The government has set a target to expand the country's sports-related market, which was at 5.5 trillion yen in 2015, to 10 trillion yen by 2020 and 15 trillion yen by 2025, through the hosting of world sports competitions and promoting sports-related businesses both at home and overseas.

KYODO NEWS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2019, with the headline 'Rugby World Cup set to boost Japan's coffers'. Print Edition | Subscribe