However, the event also went well beyond the RWC – promoting the wares of 11 key suppliers, emphasising the ease of getting around (especially by train) and talking about other major events – such as the 2020 Olympics and the World Masters games the following year. Sally Miles, business development & marketing assistant manager with JNTO based in Sydney, says that providing basic training on Japan for agents was an important part of the event considering such a roadshow had not been held in New Zealand for a number of years. ‘We really want to promote transport within Japan, both rail and domestic flights.’ She says clients can experience the bullet train as well as slower local trains on transport passes such as the JR Pass, JR West and JR East. ‘Taking a trip on the bullet train is something really memorable for Kiwis, but they can also slow down and take in amazing scenery on the local trains.’
She says agents need to get up to speed with the AB pool venues – Yokohama, Tokyo, Toyota City and Oita prefecture. While only officials and sub-agents can sell RWC match tickets, other agents can sell ground content in Japan around the games. ‘It is important to have an in-depth knowledge of these places.’ Kiwi agents welcomed the chance to learn more about Japan. ‘We are definitely noticing more interest from our school groups,’ says Xanthe Howard of Haka Tours, ‘especially sports groups’.