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Rugby Tourism To Woo Rugby Fans

Tourism chiefs in Rugby are setting up stall at a London trade fair to try and cash in on next year’s Rugby World Cup. The tourism team hope to attract thousands of foreign travellers, and their wallets, to Rugby during the five week tournament and they are using the World Travel Market at Earls Court to drum up trade.

Thousands of sports fans from across the globe are expected to descend upon England next year and businesses in Rugby, which is where the game was invented, hope to cash in.

Mary Hamilton, Rugby town’s tourism director, said her team wanted to make sure that every fan visiting England felt they were missing out unless they made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the game. Plans to re-vamp the town’s Gilbert Museum, opposite School Close where William Webb Ellis first picked up the ball and ran, have already been announced.

More than 35,000 fans are expected to make the trip to the tournament. At the travel trade show, in November, the tourism team will have a chance to speak to the tour operators who will be bringing the fans from across the globe and persuade them to persuade travellers to stop off at Rugby.

Ms Hamilton said:

‘’This is an opportunity we just couldn’t afford to miss and the potential benefits are immeasurable. We are being told that the only town overseas visitors want to come to during the tournament is Rugby, because this is the town that is steeped in Rugby football history and a visit to England would be incomplete without a trip to Rugby.’’

Rugby Borough councillors are expected to back Ms Hamilton’s plan to set up stall at the trade travel show and approve the bill of 1,950.

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CWN / Tourism & Leisure / 22 Sep 98

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