Holiday visitors give thumbs up to World Rugby Hall of Fame
VISITORS to the World Rugby Hall of Fame gave it a festive thumbs up over the Christmas and New Year holiday, with around 1500 visitors to the interactive experience.
Strong visitor numbers at a time of year that is traditionally quiet for the visitor economy also add weight to recent endorsements for the Hall of Fame from business and public sector leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire.
Warwickshire County Council recently identified the Hall of Fame as contributing to an expected £15 million boost to the regional tourism economy, while Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub identified the attraction as a key reason for new business investment in the borough of Rugby. Rugby had the ninth highest number of new businesses in England in 2016.
Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: "Many leisure attractions close over Christmas and New Year, so I'm very pleased to see that the Hall of Fame attracted a good number of visitors.
"Visitors to Rugby, from the UK and from overseas, help reaffirm our role as the birthplace of the game and give our town centre economy a welcome boost.
"However, they also boost business confidence, and that gives us strong prospects for sustainable economic growth in future.
"Research from Visit Britain shows that tourism in England adds more than £100 billion to the economy each year, and I’m thrilled that we now have a visitor attraction that will help bring Rugby a part of that spend.”
World Rugby Chairman and Hall of Famer Bill Beaumont said: “I am delighted that the World Rugby Hall of Fame has been so popular with visitors since its opening in November.
"As the birthplace of the game, Rugby town was always an obvious place for us to house the Hall of Fame and so it’s great that that decision has been vindicated and that people have been excited to visit it.
"Hopefully, with its combination of interactive, immersive and informative features that bring nearly 200 years of rugby union to life, the Hall of Fame will continue to inspire throngs of visitors in the months and years to come.”
The World Rugby Hall of Fame opened in the heart of Rugby town centre in November, just a Jonny Wilkinson kicking distance from the field where the game was created. The opening ceremony was attended by many of the greats of the game, including Shane Williams, Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O'Driscoll and Bill Beaumont.
Feedback on the attraction, which celebrates the greatest names in Rugby Union, has been overwhelmingly positive, and many visitors travel a significant distance.
Since opening, visitors have travelled from Canada, Australia, Japan and Dubai, as well as locations across the UK.
The World Rugby Hall of Fame is a partnership between Rugby Borough Council and World Rugby. Entry is currently free and can be booked in advance at www.therugbytown.co.uk/halloffame.