Two Rugby council chiefs will be promoting visiting the game’s birthplace at the pool draw for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan on Wednesday (May 10).
Rugby Borough Council leader Michael Stokes and executive director Adam Norburn will attend the draw in Kyoto as guests of World Rugby, in a move aimed at promoting the town as a destination to Japanese tourists.
While in Japan, Cllr Stokes and Mr Norburn will meet the Kyoto mayor and the tournament organising committee’s chairman, as well as representatives of host cities and potential sponsors for the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
They will also be interviewed by Japanese media, giving them a unique opportunity to talk about the origins of the game in front of a global audience.
“It is no accident that World Rugby chose to hold the next Rugby World Cup in Japan – the sport is growing at a rapid rate in Japan and there is a great deal of interest in both the origins of the game and its values, both of which are showcased in the World Rugby Hall of Fame here where the sport began,” Cllr Stokes said.
“This trip is an ideal opportunity to explore how the Hall of Fame can promote Tournament host cities, and also how we could promote Rugby as a visitor destination at host cities and in Fanzones in Japan during the tournament in 2019.”
The trip follows a successful visit to Rugby by a delegation from Japan during Rugby World Cup 2015, when the borough council hosted a visit from the city of Kumamoto.
That study trip was aimed at showing Japan 2019 host cities how to operate a successful Fanzone while also sharing Rugby’s unique heritage, and resulted in thousands of pounds being spent in the local economy.
The total cost of the trip is estimated to be less than £5,000.
Cllr Stokes and Mr Norburn will be guests of World Rugby and will attend meetings brokered by the Japan Local Government Centre.