The posts, made locally in Lowestoft, are part of a £100,000 partnership deal with Japanese business Kofu Field Company and £500,000 package of exports to Japan. The Department for International Trade (DIT) supported the company when it set up its distributorship in Japan and has since helped it secure worldwide events such as the Pan America Games in Lima. The firm has already supplied rugby posts to the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, in 2015 in the UK, and at the AT&T Park in San Francisco for the Rugby Sevens. Most recently it supplied its netball posts to the Netball World Cup in July in Liverpool, and its equipment appears in stadiums and venues across the UK. 

“Our partnership with Kofu Field Company has been instrumental to our success, offering reliable insight into the Japanese market, and ensuring our rugby posts were set up correctly,” said Harrod’s director of sports sales and marketing Kevin Utton. 

“International sports events like these are ample opportunity for businesses to shine a spotlight on what the UK has to offer.”

The Sports Travel & Hospitality Group (STH) won exclusive rights to design, market, sell and operate the travel and hospitality programmes for the tournament this year across all 12 host stadiums.

To maximise the opportunity in 2017 it opened a Japan office as a joint venture with JTB, one of Japan’s largest travel companies.

So far it has sold more than 190,000 match tickets through the Official Travel and Hospitality Programme, which includes over 60,000 hospitality packages across the tournament’s 48 matches.

The company has also developed exclusive guest experiences, including dinner packages and a black-tie evening.

Meticulous preparation  has been the way to tackle the cultural and technical challenges involved in such a contract chief executive Simon Jefford explained: “Establishing a strong domestic team on the ground in Japan has been a key priority for us over the past 18 months. The skills and capabilities of our local crew, combined with our international experience in supporting some of the highest-level global sporting events, has meant we’ve been able to create a programme that combines the best of traditional conventions at international events and Japanese hospitality or ‘omotenashi’.

“Engaging with reputable suppliers and an existing supply chain with experience in the Japanese market has been crucial. We look forward to our continued expansion in Japan and work on other major sports projects around the world.”

In Tokyo recently International trade secretary Liz Truss launched a ‘call for input’ to prepare for trade negotiations with Japan after Brexit. This allows businesses, interest groups and members of the public across the whole of the UK to tell the Government what their priorities are for the future trade relationship with Japan.    

Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Japan was £29.5 billion in 2018, up eight percent on the previous year. 

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