Irish no-show at Heineken final costly

The failure of an Irish rugby club to reach the Heineken Cup final in Paris two weeks from tomorrow looks set to cost the Irish travel industry over €100,000. As both Leinster and Munster did not progress from the semi final stage of the pan-European competition, savvy travel agents have had to release hotels rooms and flights pre-booked for Irish rugby fans in the French capital, a risk management expert has said.

Irish rugby fans were hoping for at least one of the two provinces to qualify for the final. There has been an Irish team in three of the last four finals and with tickets, flights and accommodation at a premium, travel agents were booking early for discounts. It also would allow for the fans attending the final at the last minute.

Leinster’s win last year in 2009 and Munster’s win in 2008 means that more and more rugby fans are travelling to see the teams in action at the higher echelons of European competition. “Some more risk aware travel agents have been hedging the cost of flights, tickets and accommodation in Paris just in case no Irish team made it to the final,” David Lyons of Paddy Power-owned Airton Risk Management said.

“Now that Biarritz and Toulouse have made it an all-French final we have been paying out to those travel agents who followed risk management strategies and hedged their investments in pre-booked flights and rooms. We’d only cover a fraction of that cost, but it could be over €100,000 for the industry,” Lyons added.

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