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Sports Tourism: Promoting Destinations

Sports tourism might represent a

niche market, yet it is dynamically
developing. Why is it so popular?
How can communities utilize its
sports tourism potential?
P rof e s sional : Sp or t s Tour i sm : P romot ing D e st inat i on s

The Evolution of Modern

Sports Tourism ism is now an emerging market. Indeed, over the
past twenty years, the interest in sport especially
elite sporting events has grown at a phenomenal
Sports tourism events at the international,
national and regional levels have a double-bar-
reled effect the direct effect of the attendance
of the competitors and/or spectators and accom-
panying persons, and the indirect effect of the
marketing of the destination which lead to the sub-
sequent tourism flows. This indirect effect can be
very large most of the tourism benefits of big
sporting events are expected to be of this nature.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
announced on November 11, 2004 that the UN
General Assembly has proclaimed 2005 to be the
International Year for Sport and Physical Educa-
tion and encouraged all Member States to culti-
vate the International Year to show the value of
sports for peace and development.
According to Secretary-General Annan, providing
access to physical education may cultivate them
in learning the ideas of teamwork and tolerance
What Is Sports Tourism? From a sport marketing and sport management through experiencing real exhilaration. Objectives
perspective, it consists of two broad categories of of the Millennium Development Goals of the United
Sports Tourism is defined as a specific travel out-
products: a) sports participation travel (travel for the Nations have given focus on achieving sports that
side of the usual environment for either passive or
active involvement in competitive sport where sport purpose of participating in a sports, recreation, lei- would help work and build peace.
is the prime motivational reason for travel and the sure or fitness activity); and b) sports spectatorial
touristic or leisure element may act to reinforce the travel (travel for the purpose of spectating sports, A Fast Growing Niche
overall experience. Another definition worth noting recreation, leisure or fitness activities or events). Today, tourism is the worlds number one industry
explains sport tourism as a combination of sports With its remarkable growth, the World Tourism while sport is regarded as the number one industry
activities and travel. Organization (WTO) recognizes that sports tour- in the leisure sector. Sport is an integral part of all

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on the visiting golfer and skier or the traveling foot-
ball, rugby or cricket supporter. In some countries,
sport can account for as much as 25 percent of all
tourism receipts.
Thus, Sports Tourism has started to earn its repu-
tation to be a multi-million dollar business. Trends
in tourism over the last decade have shown that
sports tourism is emerging as a very significant
segment of the global tourist market.

The Worldwide Phenomenon

To date, sports and active recreation have
become very large and successful industries world-
wide. A 1994 European Commission Report of the
European Community and Sport estimated that
sports industry is responsible for 2.5 percent of
world trade.
Over the last 10 years, the global sports industry
has seen rapid changes and innovations fuelled by
a range of driving factors such as the increase in
leisure time and spending, the appetite for spec-
tacle and participation, new distribution methods
and the deregulation of the broadcast industry. This
resulted in worldwide travel mainly for sports pur-
An analysis by The Bureau of Tourism Research
recently published in Sports Tourism: an Australian
culture, and while often viewed as a separate activ- the community to enjoy more healthy and interac- Perspective states that 6 percent of day trips and
ity, it is inextricably linked to tourism. Sport can now tive holidays. 5 per cent of overnight trips taken by Australians
be viewed as an attraction within the broader tour- Sports Tourism is a multi-billion dollar business, in Australia, were taken with sport as the primary
ism industry. one of the fastest growing areas of the $4.5 trillion motivation. This corresponds to expenditure of
Sports Tourism is emerging as a key component global travel and tourism industry. It has become a $1847 million by domestic sports tourists, of which
of tourism supply. Major tourism destinations are vast international business attracting media cover- $461 million was spent on day trips and the remain-
developing tourism product concepts revolving age, investment, political interest, traveling partici- ing $1386 million on overnight trips.
around pleasure sports. These concepts enable pants and spectators. In a separate study in Australia, sports tourism
destinations to stand out amongst their competitors By 2011, travel and tourism is expected to be sector accounts for about 55% of the total tour-
and increasing their competitive edge in the inter- more than 10 percent of the global domestic prod- ism market. Across both international and domes-
national arena, attracting consumers who are keen uct. The economies of cities, regions and even tic tourism, sports tourism in Australia account for
on getting in touch with nature, and interacting with countries around the world are increasingly reliant annual expenditure of about $3 billion per annum.

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In 1998, 37% of Canadas 73.7 million domestic In the case of the United States of America, the
trips were for sports tourism purposes. In Canada, Travel Industry Association of America found that
sport tourists are defined as individuals who trav- in the past five years, 38 percent of US adults
eled and in doing so participated in or attended attended an organized event, competition or tour-
a sports event during the reference period. Sport nament as a spectator or participant, while on a trip
tourists account for between 2.5 and 5 million indi- of 50 miles or more.
viduals from June to September, July and August The British Tourist Authority and English Tour-
being the most popular months for sport tourist ism Board claim as many as 20 percent of tourist
activities (15% and 18%). trips are for the prime purpose of sports partici-
While sport tourism in South Africa is yet to be pation, while up to 50 percent of holidays include
established, sports tourism (spectator and par- incidental sports participation. This level of activ-
ticipant) makes up four percent (4%) of its domes- ity is broadly consistent with Canadian data, with
tic tourism market. This appeared following the the 1998 Canadian Travel Survey finding that 37%
launching of South Africa Sports Tourism (SAST) of domestic trips that year were for sports-related
by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tour- purposes.
ism, and the Ministry of Sport and Recreation in
October 1997, after it specifically identified sports
SPORTS TOURISM, January 26, 2010)
tourism as an avenue for the development and pro-
motion of tourism in its study.

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Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games:

A Lost Chance for Indian Tourism
Missed Opportunity
The travel and tourism industry is a significant
contributor to India's GDP and the government is
increasingly supporting its development through
investment in infrastructure, promotions and tour-
ism-friendly legislation. In 2009, tourism expendi-
ture accounted for almost 4% of GDP.
Delhi's 2010 Commonwealth Games were con-
sidered to be an important opportunity for tourism
development both in terms of increased tourism
flows that they expected to attract and also show-
case the attractiveness of the country to tourists
and the world.
Among the measures taken by the government in
preparation for the Games were more favourable

International Arrivals to Indian

Cities 2008-2009
000 people
2008 2009
Delhi 2,339.3 2,374.4
Mumbai 2,056.9 2,087.8
Chennai 2,029.4 2,059.9
Agra 1,610.1 1,634.3

The Indian government aimed to make the

Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games (3-14
October) an opportunity to show the world the
monwealth Games 2010 would have been the best
Commonwealth Games ever.
However, things took a very different turn and the Bangaluru 596.5 605.5
progress it had made and also boost tourism, in the Indian government is accused of inefficiency and Trivandrum 598.9 607.9
same vein as China did with the Beijing Olympic corruption. At the time of writing, the participation of Goa 351.1 356.4
Games. If they'd met their goal, the chairman of the several countries hangs in the balance due to the S o u rce : Eu ro m o n i to r I nte r n at i o n a l
Organising Committee stated that the Delhi Com- poor state of the facilities and safety concerns.

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International Arrivals to India

by purpose of visit 2008-2009
000 people
2008 2009 2008-09 growth
Arrivals By Purpose
of Visit 5,282.6 5,108.6 -3.3
Business Arrivals 1,990.6 1,953.6 -1.9
Leisure Arrivals 3,292.0 3,154.9 -4.2
Source: Euromonitor International

legislation for foreign direct investments in tour- for contractors and the delivery of poor infrastruc- ing the opposite effect. The controversy is expected
ism, the approval of visa-on-arrival regulations (on ture. to have a negative impact on tourism to India in
a pilot basis), the implementation of the Incred- Controversial Prospects 2010 with demand not providing the anticipated
ible India Bed and Breakfast/Homestay Scheme Inbound arrivals to India recorded a 3% decline spike.
(in order to strengthen the travel accommodation in 2009 due to the global economic crisis and to The front page headlines and image of the col-
offer of the area of Delhi) and the introduction of a lapsed footbridge outside the main stadium that
terrorism concerns following the Mumbai terror
law against the harassment of tourists in the coun- were beamed around the world will be hard to
attacks the previous year.
try. overcome in the run up to the Games. The last-
Prospects for the next five years appeared to be
ing legacy of the event is something the country
Corruption Scandals more positive at the beginning of 2010 following the
will have to tackle after the Games are over as it
The organisation of the event was extremely end of the global downturn and due to expected
attempts to rebuild its global brand image. It also
costly for India with an estimated US$6 billion fast growing arrivals from Japan, Latin America and
bears a useful lesson for all countries lined up for
invested in new infrastructure. However, it was also the Middle East. Positive forecasts were supported high profile sporting events and those seeking
a huge waste of money due to the high level of cor- also by significant investment in promotional activi- to do so from London, Glasgow, Rio, Sochi to
ruption denounced by the Indian press, as well as ties by the Indian government in emerging markets, Doha.
by governmental bodies. in particular.
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), a The success of the 2010 Commonwealth Games
government watchdog agency of the Indian gov- was, however, integral to this promotional strat- By Angelo Rossini (Travel and Tourism Analyst, Euro-
ernment, revealed irregularities in 16 Common- egy. The bad publicity surrounding the games, with monitor International)
wealth Games projects, resulting in large gains safety and security concerns running high, is caus-

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Sports Tourism:
Tough Legacy or Golden Jackpot?
Jeffery said that World Travel Market, among the
first to raise the profile of sports tourism within the
global industry, is setting out to dispel many of the
commonly held views about the sector at an impor-
tant keynote debate on the opening day, Monday,
November 8 at ExCeL, London. A high-level panel
of experienced sports tourism experts will examine
the dangers that can often cause more harm than
Speakers include: Marthinus van Schalkwyk,
South Africa Minister of Tourism; Taleb Rifai, Sec-
retary General UNWTO; Marc Bennett, Head
of Sports Division, TUI; Chris Foy, Head of 2012
Games Unit, Visit Britain; Tom Jenkins, Executive
Director, European Tour Operators Association
(ETOA); and Richard Shipway, Lecturer in sports
tourism at Bournemouth University.
The session will be moderated by former British
middle-distance runner and the man who turned
around the finances of UK Athletics, David Moore-
Lessons have been learned from major interna-
tional sporting events such as the 1976 Olympic

S ports tourism one of the industrys fast-

est-growing sectors can be an absolute
minefield, Fiona Jeffery, chairman of World Travel
Undoubtedly sports tourism is a tough legacy
for everyone, she said. But the myth is that those
who successfully bid for a major sporting event
Games in Montreal, a financial disaster when the
city faced debts for many years afterwards, said
Jeffery. The costs of staging an international sport-
Market the premier global event for the travel automatically win the golden jackpot. It can be an ing event can be prohibitive; venues are often not
industry claimed. absolute minefield. properly utilized afterwards and sometimes fall into
Although the industry is starting to discuss sports The rewards are indeed extremely high, but disrepair.
tourism more than ever before, she said that the dif- so are the risks. This has been clearly illustrated Unless a destination/region has a long-term
ficult and sometimes controversial questions about by the problems surrounding the Commonwealth business plan, integrating the sporting event into
sports tourism are simply not being addressed. Games in India. its strategic vision over 20 or even 30 years, as well

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Jeffery said that there are other issues, too,
which are equally troubling. Ticket pricing, the
expensive acquisition of corporate hospitality that
can exclude the public and overseas visitors, mer-
chandising and, of course, security are just some
of the issues, which need greater discussion and
The free debate is aimed at agents/operators/
hotels/venues involved in sports tourism, those
who are thinking of trying to get involved in this
lucrative sector, potential host cities, national
tourist boards, and towns/cities in countries that
have already won bids to stage major international
Sports Tourism: "Its a Tough Game but Some
Win" is at World Travel Market on Monday, Novem-
ber 8, 1500-1630 hours, Platinum Suite 4, ExCeL
as ensuring that the opportunities pre and post a The conference supports World Travel Markets
sporting event are fulfilled and measured exhaus- first-ever Sports Pavilion, which has some of the
tively, they are unlikely to reap the considerable worlds most iconic stadia exhibiting including
benefits. Wembley, Lords (Cricket), Wimbledon (Tennis),
There is also little understanding that not only and Twickenham (Rugby). English Premier League
is this an opportunity for host cities, but also for teams exhibiting including Manchester United, Liv-
other towns and cities throughout that country to erpool, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
dovetail other tourism events, competitions, sports,
festivals, and promotions to maximize the surge of
incoming visitors.

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The Philippines:
Sport to Boost Local Tourism
and sports tourism. The 7,107 islands boast and are sometimes lost or not maximized in all these
offer every imaginable way for adventure seekers. hosted events because the linkages between the
Yet, the country is still an unknown quantity outside sports and tourism sectors are not yet established.
Asia. Sporting activities, especially events, have histori-
While the country has already started to realize cally been organized by sporting organizations for
that sports tourism is one ideal avenue to spur tour- purely sporting purposes. Maximizing the tourism
ism growth in the country, it has not yet done its potential of the events has often not been a major
homework of developing the said sector. consideration for the organizers, representing a
potential failure of the market. Further, many sport-
As an initial step to raise awareness on the oppor-
ing organizations rely on volunteers, and may not
tunities sport tourism may bring to the country, the
have well developed business or organizational
Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation
skills or experience. Both of these factors can lead
(PCVC), supported by the Philippine Olympic Com-
to lost tourism opportunities. To overcome this, bet-
mittee (POC) and Philippine Sports Commission
ter linkages need to be established between the
(PSC) and participated in by the countrys sports sporting and tourism groups at all levels regional
and travel trade suppliers organized in November and national.
7-30, 2003 the 1st Sports Tourism and Adventure
Travel Show. Nevertheless, no concrete plan or Senator Richard Gordon, former tourism secre-
follow-up has been done to sustain its development tary, has seen the need to strengthen this sector. In
mainly due to lack of financial support. his proposed bill the realignment of the Philippine
Sports Commission under the Department of Tour-
The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT), ism is proposed. It underscores the importance of
which is the countrys lead agency tasked to sports competition in promoting tourism.
develop the tourism industry in the Philippines,
Like many niche tourism sectors, the sports tour-
has neither the policy nor operational influence
ism sector suffers from a lack of reliable data on
over the policies or programs of the sports indus-
which to base strategic decision-making. Even
try being administered by the Philippine Sports data, which might help measure the size of the sec-
Commission (PSC), much less the Philippine tor, is not readily available. The Arrival/Departure
Olympic Committee (POC), an autonomous entity Survey Card, a research tool used by the Depart-

No less than Hong Kong-based Action Asia that sanctions the countrys participation in inter- ment of Tourism in ascertaining arrivals and factors
declares the Philippines as having all the national competitions. associated to tourism for its decision-making, does
ingredients to become one of the worlds great The Philippines has played host to a number of not still consider sports in its checklist. Thus far, the
adventure travel destinations. The Philippine land- international sporting events. Sadly, sports tourism country has no existing data on the extent or magni-
scape is a natural haven for adventure activities opportunities, and especially the tourism benefits, tude of the sports tourism and the economic impact

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it brings. Even the Philippine Sports Commission mechanisms are yet to be institutionalized to maxi- press release services
has no data on the extent of the sports industry, mize the sports tourism market.
how many it employs and how much it contributes While other countries have started and in the
to the economy. process of developing strategies for their respec-
Certainly, there are still a lot of issues and impedi- tive sports tourism industry, the country is still at a
ments which need to be addressed, namely: coor- standstill in one niche market where we have all the
dination of the sports tourism industry, education potentials to compete. After all, the tourism industry
and training, regulatory issues (e.g. visas, customs) is more than just destinations but innovative mar-
on the industry, infrastructure requirements of the keting as well.
industry, research and data collection requirements
and evaluation of the economic benefits of sports (extract from: EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT IN
tourism. SPORTS TOURISM, January 26, 2010)
The Philippines, by all means, can do so much
in terms of developing the said market. Concrete

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