Discover more about the positive impact sports tourism often has on local economies worldwide.
Sports tourism often has a huge impact on the economic growth of local communities worldwide.
The significant influx of people who travel to watch sporting events helps create new job opportunities, allows local businesses to thrive, and attracts other new businesses to the area, which generates huge amounts of revenue for the local communities.
Let’s dive straight in to discover more about the impact of sports tourism on local communities.
What is sports tourism?
Sports tourism refers to sports people (anyone involved in a sporting event, from the sports stars to the fans and from the spectators to the officials and the people in the background) who specifically travel to a destination because of the sport they are participating in at some level or watching
It happens to be one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global travel industry and annually generates somewhere in the region of $7.68 billion in revenue. This growth is occurring alongside the fact that sports stream platforms are growing more and more
There are two main sports tourism categories, soft sports tourism and hard sports tourism, and the three main types of sports tourism that fall into one of these categories are active sports tourism, celebrity and nostalgia sports tourism, and sports event tourism.
If you’re a spectator, being a sports tourist often means travelling to another city to watch your favourite team or sports star compete or perhaps going abroad to cheer on your country at the Olympics.
What kind of impact does sports tourism have on local economies?
Provided the local community hosting an event has the correct infrastructure in place to cater specifically to the needs of the sports tourists who travel there for a sporting event, the local economy can benefit on so many levels and become extremely prosperous.
This means having sufficient food outlets/restaurants/convenience stores, hotels and other accommodations (e.g., hostels, air BnB’s, apartments, etc.), and basic facilities to cope with an influx of people for however long that event is scheduled to last.
In some instances, such as the local community where an English Premier League game is based, such as Old Trafford in Manchester, which is home to Manchester United, the infrastructure is already in place. Much of the area has been tweaked over the years to accommodate the regular influx of sports tourists.
You could say the same about any other Premier League football team or any other major sports team that regularly hosts tens of thousands of travelling supporters.
However, in other sporting events, such as the Summer Olympics, some cities hosting the games don’t already have the infrastructure in place.
Vast sums of money must be pumped into these places to host the Olympics, and at sites like these that are purposely built for such events, they often fall into disrepair and end up going to waste.
The venues that are purpose-built to host events for only a brief period may generate short-term money for the local communities, but they are not viable or sustainable in the long term.
During the planning and development stages, authorities try to ensure there are plans in place to use those sites for other sporting projects long after the Olympics have been hosted there.
In some cities where Olympic stadiums have been purpose-built, authorities have made it work long after the event has finished. However, we often find with sites like this that it was just one big waste of money and a huge strain on local communities.
For the most part, sports tourism has a positive impact on the economies of local communities. One of the only real concerns with this industry is that sports tourism can sometimes have a negative impact on the local environment.
To ensure it works correctly, locals need to make the area as tourist-friendly and sustainable as possible. They can do so by promoting greener transportation for fans, improving recycling, and promoting local restaurants, activities, and accommodations.
They must also actively encourage awareness about reducing the carbon footprint each sports tourist leaves when they stay in the area for a sporting event.