All Blacks fans spending $20K hoping team makes RWC final

Author
Grant Bradley, NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Sunday, 11 August 2019, 2:30PM
Japan is expecting 400,000 visitors for the Rugby World Cup. (Photo / Getty)
Japan is expecting 400,000 visitors for the Rugby World Cup. (Photo / Getty)

Thousands of Kiwi rugby fans are heading to the Rugby World Cup with many banking on the All Blacks making the sharp end by buying $20,000 packages for the last fortnight.

Most of the bookings were made months ago - before the All Blacks' lacklustre Rugby Championship performances culminating in the heavy defeat against the Wallabies they suffered in Perth last night.

Air New Zealand is putting on extra flights for the tournament and says demand has been strong for them, especially after the final.

The airline is putting on 10 extra return services to Japan between Auckland and Narita International Airport, Tokyo from mid-September through to early November using Boeing 777 aircraft.

While there are still some seats across the wider RWC, all non-stop flights are full immediately after the final on November 2.

All Blacks Tours are the official suppliers of packages and say due to ''overwhelming demand'' almost all packages are sold out.

Sub agent House of Travel says the bulk of the packages sold out months ago and those still on sale were returns where peoples' circumstances had changed.

Commercial planning director Brent Thomas said he understood there were about 4000 packages sold already. Many of those were 16-day to 17-day packages around the semi final and final to be played at Yokohama Stadium.

''Demand has been steady, the tours are pretty much done and dusted. People were advised to book early and they have.''

Numbers going to this year's tournament were on a par with the last World Cup in Britain in 2015, where the All Blacks triumphed for the third time. He expected even more to go to the next Rugby World Cup in France as with larger stadiums there would be more tickets on offer.

Japan is expecting more than 400,000 international rugby fans and last week organisers said 85 per cent of 1.8 million tickets had been sold.

Thomas said his firm had been booking trips for fans from throughout the country with high interest from regional centres.

Air New Zealand said it had seen particularly strong demand from Auckland, plus other cities such as Christchurch, Tauranga and New Plymouth.

Thomas said the Japan market had been running very strongly irrespective of the RWC and next year's Olympic Games.

His firm has the rights for the Olympics and because of lower ticket prices and shorter duration trips he expected games packages to sell well.

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