Cricket tourism takes city to England, Wales

Cricket tourism takes city to England, Wales

The cricket World Cup in Wales is a big draw this season, and many in Bengaluru are syncing their tourist interests with India- Pakistan and India-Australia matches

London city tours are popular among cricket buffs.

Many affluent Bengalureans are travelling to Wales to catch the cricket World Cup.

The tournament, held once in four years, is seen as an opportunity to mix cricket with sightseeing.

The matches are being held in various cities across England and Wales and cricket fans are booking tickets with customised packages. 

Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings, says Bengalureans are planning their itineraries around the matches. The tournament began on May 30.  

“The booking stretches until 10 days after the final match on July 14. We have seen a high demand around the India vs Pakistan match on June 16, and the India vs Australia match on June 9,” says Anand.

This tour operator has seen an 18 per cent rise in demand for World Cup packages as compared to the 2015, when the tournament was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Cricket lovers in the age-group of 25 to 30 are a majority among those travelling to the UK this cricket season. Those below 18 are accompanied by their parents.

Favourite spots

The tours cover the sights and experiences of London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Nottingham, and Birmingham. Cox & Kings’s World Cup packages include discounted shopping vouchers at the Bicester village, a free Edinburgh whiskey tour and tickets to the Manchester United Stadium.

When not watching a match, tourists are booking day tours to catch the sights in London and places nearby.

Corporate outings

“We have seen an increase in ticket bookings by almost 30 per cent as compared to a non-match season. Several meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions groups and corporate engagements are planned well in advance to coincide with the match schedule,” says Neelu Singh, CEO and director, Ezeego1.

Her company has seen a 15 per cent increase in World Cup destination bookings since the last season.

Cities like Stonehenge, Windsor, Oxford and Bath are favoured destinations among Indians.

“As a day tour, a package of Oxford, Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle is extremely popular. Many are also exploring Europe by train and travelling to Paris, Edinburgh, Dublin,” says Neelu.

Two wins for India

India won their second world cup in 2011. 

ICC Cricket World Cup is hosted once in every four years. The first World Cup was held in England in 1975. India has won two out of the 11 World Cups hosted so far. This year, India is one of the most favourite and popular teams along with England and Australia and is also the first country to win a World Cup (2011) on home soil.

Cricket books

Kindle, Amazon’s online book store, is giving discounts on cricket books this season. Some books on sale are: ‘Yuvi’, ‘Game Changer’, ‘Eye On Cricket’, ‘The Insider’ and ‘A Million Broken Windows’.

Attractions around the UK

- Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

- Tower of London

- The British Museum, London

- Lake District National Park, England

Rajeev Kale, president and country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, says that cricket has always been a powerful driver across travel businesses.

“We continue to receive bookings for the World Cup, from the corporate world to millennials and luxury travellers. This year, our corporate groups are catalysing demand to the UK, and we already have groups across industries with the June 16 India-Pakistan match in Manchester,” he says.

The other matches that the Indians are looking forward to are India vs South Africa at South Hampton, India vs England in Birmingham, India vs Australia in London, and India vs Sri Lanka in Leeds.

The packages cost up to Rs 2 to 3 lakh per person. Apart from the Cricket World Cup, people are also flocking to the UK for Wimbledon Men’s Tennis final and F1 Grand Prix in England, notes Rajeev.

Solo vs group

Many cricket fans are travelling solo to watch their favourite players and have neither booked packages asked about sightseeing spots, according to Rikant Pitti, co-founder and COO, EaseMyTrip.

While those travelling in groups plan to explore tourist attractions, solo cricket buffs focused only on their match experience, he says.

Wallet factor

Packages to the UK this season begin at Rs 1.25 lakhs for 8 days and 7 nights. Tours are customised for each group and individual. Operators book flights on many airlines, but say they are getting the best deals from British Airways, Emirates, Oman Air and Air India.