Sports tourism

Sports tourism

There are many different definitions of sports tourism, from those involving travel for the purpose of participating in competitive sports, to those involving more leisure or adventure sporting activities.1 Thus, the extent of sports tourism vary quite a bit.

Sports tourism involves people traveling to participate or to observe sports. These activities may include people competing in an international event, such as the Olympics, or simply sitting amongst the audience watching the World Cup match.

Inevitably, following sports tourism, there will be consequential impacts. These may be classified under economic impacts, socio-cultural impacts, health impacts and environmental impacts.

Economic impacts

The increasing and important impact sport has in economic terms requires a more multi-disciplinary approach. The economic sector of sport has transformed itself in the last decade from a traditional Spectators-Subsidies-Sponsors-Local (SSSL)-model to a more global Media-Corporations-Merchandising-Markets or MCCM-model. The new sport model has executed forms of vertical integration in the industry and has created synergisms as an outcome of the relations between business and sport. Some of the economic developments are - Broadcasting rights, merchandising, sponsoring, organizing of mega sporting events, multiplication effect of organizing a sport event, the mobile leisure society,sport tourism, sport and the impact on health, the public-private cooperation in building of sporting infrastructures, the betting industry, raising market share of sporting goods, shoes and clothing.

The British Tourism Authority claims that 20% of the tourist trips are for the prime purpose of sport participation, and 50% of the tourist trips include among other purposes sport participation. The data was also validated by 1998 Canadian Travel Survey which set an evaluation of 37% of the domestic trips for sport oriented activities.

In the year 2007 the first search engine for sports tourism activities was set [ ]

Socio-cultural impacts

Land Use:The use of land is necessary to sports tourism. Sports take up space. Some of these sports may even require facilities to be specially built. For instance, golf will definitely require land to be allocated to build its course. Singaporeans, who want to experience golf in a bigger and more fulfilling golf course, may seek to travel to nearby Malaysia instead, and this is a form of land use for Malaysia resulting from sports tourism.

Cultural Exchanges:It is certain that cultural exchanges will take place whenever people of different cultural backgrounds meet. Sports tourists will nevertheless learn about the culture of the country they visit when they arrive at their destination, although their main purpose of travel is to participant in sports, or to observe sports (but not for cultural purposes).

Preservation of Traditions:Once-dying traditions can also be ‘revived’ through sports tourism. The need to display these traditions to tourists will bring these traditions ‘back to life’. Showcasing traditional food, traditional costumes, culture and ethnics will not only enrich these sports tourists’ experience to the country, but also help preserve the traditions, instead of letting them gradually disappear from this world.

National Identity:The national pride and prestige one feels when a mega event is held in his country is perpetual. It is a proud feeling to know that your country is able to hold an international event, because it will be broadcast worldwide, and therefore known to the rest of the world.

“In Germany "national pride" ("Nationalstolz") is often associated with the former Nazi regime. Strong displays of national pride are therefore considered poor taste by many Germans. There is an ongoing public debate about the issue of German patriotism. The World Cup in 2006, held in Germany, saw a wave of patriotism sweep the country in a manner not seen for many years. Although many were hesitant to show such blatant support as the hanging of the national flag from windows, as the team progressed through the tournament, so too did the level of support across the nation. By the time the semi-final against Italy came around, the level of national pride and unity was at its highest throughout the tournament, and the hosting of the World Cup is seen to have been a great success for Germany as a nation.”4

Violence: This usually occurs among the spectators who are unsatisfied with the announced results. The spectators/ audiences usually from the losing side will create fights with the other side. Violence is one of the negative impacts that cam arise from sports tourism. It is an unhealthy scene as this can sour the relationship between two counterparts. Violence in sports tourism does not only happen among countries, but also within one country itself.

Health impacts

There are various health impacts involved when looking at Sports Tourism, they are:

-Physiological impacts

-Psychological impacts

-Social health impacts

Physiological impacts

People are generally interested and motivated to play sports when participating in Sports Tourism. Many people all over the world travel to Hawaii to surf as it is a popular destination for big waves. The physiological impact of Sports Tourism can be seen in athletes who are actively involved, going overseas to compete with other people.

These athletes typically have a good physique as it is naturally normal for them to want to improve and train to be better. They lead a lifestyle which centres on their health and physical well-being.

Psychological impacts

Sports allows for the mind to relax when done for recreation. People who engage in Sports Tourism in a non-competitive environment typically use it as an opportunity to get away and re-charge.

Sports also cause the brain to secrete endorphins, which prevents stress and strengthens the body against pain. At the same time, it makes people increase their self-confidence and boosts their self-esteem.

Social health impacts

The health risks involved in Sports Tourism applies to both the athletes and fans. They might train too hard to compete, risking injuries. Also, one needs time to adapt to another country and this may sometimes be difficult, sometimes even causing sickness. For example, jet lag.

Similarly, because of the internal time difference, fans all over the world purposely stay up to watch games, and this leads to an irregular sleeping pattern. Cases of fans falling ill during these periods are common, with increased consumption of junk food combined with late nights.

Environmental impacts

The environmental impacts of sports tourism is classified as negative impacts. It consists of pollution and depletion.

Pollution: Pollution can occur in terms of air, land, water and sound. Air pollution happens basically due to the emission of harmful gases from vehicles. For example during major world games such as the Olympics and World Cup, there will be more vehicles than usual thus increasing the amount of air pollution. Sound pollution occurs due to the noise made by the spectators. As for land pollution, it usually occurs in natural habitats. For instance, sports like mountain climbing pollute the land as the equipments use can destroy the natural surroundings. Apart from that, littering caused by the masses also contribute to land pollution.

Depletion: In this case, it refers to depletion of resources. For a sports events to be held (which is the main reason for sports tourism), many resources are required.



2 Olympics 2004, athletics: []

3 FIFA World Cup 2006, Germany []

4 Pride – Wikipedia

5 Economic Sectors []

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