March 5, 2024

A bright future ahead for sports tourism

Sports tourism, one of the industry’s fastest-growing segments, offers enormous potential.

As UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili noted at ITB Berlin’s opening ceremony, the sports tourism sector is beginning to take off and offers huge development prospects for the tourism industry. Generating around 10% of the world’s expenditure on tourism, according to UN Tourism, sports tourism stands to see an estimated growth rate of 17.5% by 2030.

As more and more tourists become interested in taking advantage of sports activities when they travel, sporting events of all kinds attract visitors both as participants and spectators. From huge affairs such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Paris this year that are expected to attract some 15.3 million visitors, to smaller and more targeted events such as the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup happening in Barcelona between August and October, the world has no shortage of attractive sporting events.

Because of this wealth of year-round activities at locations across the globe, sports tourism has the potential to help destinations boost their year-round offering and beat the seasonalisation of their tourist proposals as sporting event visitors not only spend on hotels and restaurants during the events, they can also potentially stay on to discover other local attractions.

A few of the popular sports tourism events that drew massive crowds in 2023 include the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup held in India; the 19th Asian Games in China; the FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, which brought in more than €524 m in revenue, and the Rugby World Cup in France.

Photo: © Filip Mroz- Unsplash