Minister Donohoe promises support for the IRFU and welcomes the tourism potential of a successful bid
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe T.D. today (Friday) welcomed the announcement by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of their joint support for the IRFU’s bid to host Rugby World Cup 2023.
The Rugby World Cup (RWC) has one of the largest numbers of spectators of any major sports event. After the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, the tournament draws the largest number of international visitors to a host country.
The tourism potential of the Rugby World Cup is all the greater as it generally takes place in Ireland’s shoulder season for overseas tourism (between late September and October).
Speaking this morning from the launch of the bid in Armagh, Minister Donohoe, who will be leading the bid process on behalf of the Irish Government, said: “Hosting a RWC would put us in the international spotlight and be a massive boost for our tourism, sporting and business profile. A successful bid will have the dual advantage of promoting sport and tourism. In terms of tourism earnings, and of course jobs, it will provide increased business for hotels, restaurants and tourism businesses during the shoulder season. I expect that the tournament would draw about 350,000 visitors with consequent economic impact. But it will also highlight to people at home and abroad our wonderful sports facilities, as well as the warmth and enthusiasm of the Irish sports fan. Our tourism and sporting infrastructure are amongst the finest in Europe and are well capable of providing all of the modern facilities required by participants and spectators alike.”
Following on from the announcement today a Bid Team led by the IRFU will put together and promote a bid for the 2023 RWC. The cost of supporting the Bid Team will be split between the Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the IRFU.
Minister Donohoe stated that “This will be a very competitive bidding process and the Bid needs to be world class to give Ireland the best chance of succeeding. That is why both administrations have committed to provide in the order of €1.5m between them over 2015-2017 to put together a bid of that nature.”
An Overview Group will be appointed in the near future to oversee the bid process. It will be made up of an independent Chairperson, representatives of the IRFU, the NI Executive and the Irish Government with additional members who bring other relevant capabilities.
“In drawing together the group to oversee our preparations we will concentrate on people with prior experience in bidding for major events, involvement in international sporting organisations or substantial commercial or logistical expertise. This is a very ambitious but achievable goal. Now is our chance to draw on the experience we have gained over recent years in hosting major international sporting events. I will be leading the bid process on behalf of the Irish Government and I am looking forward to all that entails. I believe we can really step up our game in bidding to host what I am sure will be the best Rugby World Cup ever in 2023.”