Sports tourism, a novel terminology for an old practice of the fandom wherein people would travel from one location to another to watch their favorite athletes or sports teams play. Today, the scope of sports tourism also includes people traveling from one destination to another to participate in sports themselves.
As of 2016, the global sports tourism market accounted for 12.12% of its parent concern- the global market for tourism. And, the trend is set to grow profitably. Market research experts at Technavio predict a brisk CAGR and the industry amounting to billions of dollars at the business end of 2021.
Favorable conditions – Increased spending ability and channels to spend it on
Sports tourism by definition is the coming together of two of mankind’s most enjoyable pursuits, Sports and wanderlust. In recent times, with improved spending ability and a desire to break the sheer mundane of everyday life, people are willing to spend and chase their favorite sporting passions across the planet. This trend is especially rampant in countries like the US, UK, France, Spain, Germany and Australia that host a number of sporting events and attract a healthy chunk of the sports tourism traffic.
Infrastructure is important. That, attracts the sporting events which consequently brings in the tourists. Whilst building said infrastructure and hosting the aforementioned tourists, the culture of sports tourism is also contributing to the GDP and employment scene of the host country. Developing countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Brazil are aware of this and refining their own infrastructure to cash-in on the great promise shown by sports tourism.
Vendor talk – How to be part of the mania?
Though there is an abundance of dedicated tour operators, the management of sports tourism is a nascent specialty. However, the current players are all monoliths in the global tourism market- BAC Sport, Great Atlantic Sports Travel, ITC Sports Travel, TUI Group, etc., and offer strong competition to any up-and-coming tour operator that wants to specialize in sports based tourism.
Schematic that shows the ground conditions faced by vendors in the global sports tourism market
Maybe, segregation of sports tourism from the mothership, global tourism market, in the form of specialized packages and offers could prove to be the difference maker. Innovation and creativity does have a role to play here – just as it does in any profit-making endeavor wherein the competition is stiff and there is an acute need to separate oneself from the competitors.
On the flipside – Serious challenges that could be firm deal breakers
The market research report from Technavio does mention the growing threat of terrorism, the growing popularity of adventure tourism and disruption of set infrastructure thanks to natural disasters, as the key challenges that could completely turn off a tourist’s interest in visiting a particular sports tourism destination. These problems could prove to be hard to fix, and all the investments until the undesired occurrence could be in vain.
However, in terms of the present scenario, sports tourism is definitely a fan favorite. In order to profitably and sustainably exploit this market, a vendor need just get their marketing strategy right.