Visiting rugby fans splashed out €11m in March

Visiting fans spent €11.5m in Dublin while attending the Ireland versus England rugby match in March — €2.2m of which went on drink.

Visiting rugby fans splashed out €11m in March

An estimated 15,000 foreign fans attended the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium and on average each spent €764 during their trip.

They stayed in the capital an average of 2.6 nights each and spent around €6.3m on pre-paid items, including hotels and restaurants (€2.9m), transport to Ireland (€1.9m), and the cost of a game ticket (€1.7m).

Of the remaining spend, approximately €5.2m went on out-of-pocket spending such shopping, food, alcohol, domestic travel, etc, while in Dublin for the game.

Alcohol represented the highest out-of-pocket spend item at €2.2m, followed by €1.3m on food. The research was carried out for Dublin Chamber of Commerce by UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and shows the value of big-ticket-events for the city.

Dublin Chamber chief executive, Gina Quin, said the findings of the study show the benefits hosting large sporting events have to the economy.

She said it was estimated one match generated a total of €21.3m for the economy.

“This offers an indication of how much the country could benefit from staging future events such as the 2023 Rugby World Cup and European soccer championship matches in 2020. Similar to exports, large sporting events, and also concert tourism, have the capacity to generate growth in Ireland’s economy,” Ms Quin said.

“Big sporting events do wonders for the Irish brand and help to put Dublin and Ireland in the shop window for tourists around the world. The country’s hospitality sector relies on major events and a strong events programme is key to growing tourism numbers.”

She said the aim should be to have a year-round schedule of events which will provide a regular flow of visitors from overseas. “A 12-month diary of events would include big sporting events, arts festivals, concerts and exhibitions. Lots of great events take place already, but the challenge is to ensure that events are spread throughout the year.

“A year-round schedule will help to maintain and increase job numbers in the services sector.”

Ms Quin said a lot of events take place in Dublin each year, but there remains large gaps in the calendar when nothing big happens. “The lack of a major festival in Dublin during the summer months, when attention is focused on other places such as Galway, Tralee and Kilkenny, is a missed opportunity for the city.”

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