Participatory and spectator sports tourism to double in next 10 years
Travel agencies not yet involved in sports tourism are missing out on a money-maker – and one that is set to expand rapidly over the coming decade. Fans of sports are passionate enough to follow their teams around the world. They tend to stay in a destination for extended periods and often travel round it to different sports venues. And evidence shows that they spend more than the average traveller. Sports tourism absorbs 10% of the global tourism market, according to research coordinated by the UNWTO for 2008. In 2010, other research put it at 14%.
One forecast says that sports tourism visitor numbers will increase by more than 50% over the next 10 years. Participatory sport tourism includes pros and amateurs travelling to take part in sports and activities, ranging from college athletics competitions that could involve several hundred players and trainers to skiing and golf. Agents need to know how, for example, to specialist sports equipment on a plane. Spectator travel can range from short-notice weekend trips to a single game to a week in Brazil to see the World Cup in 2012. There is plenty of information online guiding agents through this kind of travel, for example SportsTravelandTours.com, which includes sports travel interviews and stadium diagrams.