All eyes will be on the UK this summer as the 2015 Rugby World Cup draws near. The massive sporting event will bring together teams from all over the world to compete for the ultimate prize in rugby. Cities like London, Manchester, Brighton, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, and Exeter will all host matches at some of the best stadiums in the world. This huge event brings thousands of people from all over the world to the British Isles and causes a huge spike in tourism and visitors to the UK.
An estimated 466,000 visitors are expected to come to Britain across the duration of the World Cup. These visitors are expected to contribute up to £869 million in direct expenditures. That comes in the form of purchasing tickets, travel costs, accommodation expenses, and match day entertainment and other tourism needs. An additional £85 million have been invested in infrastructure development. If we include the value of additional exposure to a global market to attract future tourists and business, the 2015 Rugby World Cup is expected to deliver up to £2.2 billion in output to the British economy which translates to an additional £982 million of value added to its GDP (RWC Economic Impact Study).
This huge spike in visitors and income will force Britain to adapt to the increased temporary population. More people visiting for the World Cup will mean more people using public transportation like buses, the tube, and the National Rail Service. For this event to be a success, all those attending must be able to access stadiums and public transportation while going to and from the venues. A large amount of rugby fans living with disabilities will face additional obstacles in addition to the large crowds and prices of transportation. Finding access points to enter stations and stadiums can be difficult on a busy match day. Facing difficulties to attend matches could deter many fans from attending matches or even coming to the UK at all. Less people attending means less revenue coming into the country and the economy.
It is crucial that inclusive design and accessibility for all is kept in mind when planning this huge event this summer. This World Cup is not only a reflection of the sport of rugby but it is going to put Great Britain in the international spotlight. Including all rugby fans of all capabilities who come from all over the world will make this summer’s 2015 Rugby World Cup even better and one that won’t be forgotten.
Article by Patrick Goetzke