Sports tourism

Sports tourism refers to travel which involves either observing or participating in a sporting event[1] staying apart from their usual environment. Sport tourism is a fast-growing sector of the global travel industry and equates to $7.68 trillion.[2]

Classification of sport tourism

There are several classifications on sport tourism. Gammon and Robinson suggested that the sports tourism are defined as Hard Sports Tourism and Soft Sports Tourism,[3] while Gibson suggested that there are three types of sports tourism included Sports Event Tourism, Celebrity and Nostalgia Sport Tourism and Active Sport Tourism.[4]

Hard and soft sport tourism

The "hard" definition of sport tourism refers to the quantity of people participating at a competitive sport events. Normally these kinds of events are the motivation that attract visitors visits the events. Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, F1 Grand Prix and regional events such as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series could be described as hard sports tourism.

The "soft" definition of sports tourism is when the tourist travels to participate in recreational sporting, or signing up for leisure interests. Hiking, Skiing and Canoeing can be described as soft sports tourism. Perhaps the most common form of soft sports tourism involves golf in regards to destinations in Europe and the United States. A large number of people are interested in playing some of the world's greatest and highest ranked courses, and take great pride in checking those destinations off of their list of places to visit.

Sport events tourism

Sport event tourism refers to the visitors who visit a city to watch events.[5] The two events that attract the most tourists worldwide are the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. These events held once every four years, in a different city in the world. Sports tourism in the United States is more focused on events that happen annually. The major event for the National Football League is the Super Bowl, held at the end of the year in different city every year. The National Hockey League started the annual NHL Winter Classic game in 2008, this annual New Year's outdoor hockey game has become a huge hit, rivaling the championship Stanley Cup Tournament in popularity. It has revitalized the NHL.[6] The newest trend in college basketball is to start the season off with annual tournaments such as the Maui Invitational held in Hawaii, and the Battle for Atlantis which is played in the Bahamas. This idea of pairing quality sports events with the Bahamas attractions, raised the islands’ profile and brought in more visitors and dollars to the country. The Battle for Atlantis brought more than 5,000 fans in during Thanksgiving week for the three-day tournament. The event helped increase hotel capacity from what is typically around 60 percent this time of year to 90 percent. sports tourism "is a growing market and many different cities and countries want to be involved,” [7]

Celebrity and nostalgia sport tourism

Celebrity and nostalgia sport tourism involves visits to the sports halls of fame and venue and meeting sports personalities in a vacation basis.[5]

Active sport tourism

Active sport tourism refers to those who participate in the sports or events.[5]


  1. Commonwealth of Australia (2000). "Towards A National Sports Tourism Strategy" (PDF). Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  3. Gammon, Sean; Robinson, Tom (2003). "Sport and Tourism: A Conceptual Framework". Journal of Sport Tourism. 8 (1): 21–26.
  4. Gibson, Heather J. (1 April 1998). "Active Sport Tourism: Who Participates?". Leisure Studies. 17 (2): 155–170. Retrieved 2015-01-08. (subscription required (help)).
  5. 1 2 3 Weiler, Betty; Hall, Colin Michael, eds. (1992). Adventure, Sport and Health Tourism. Special Interest Tourism. London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp. 141–58. ISBN 978-0471947868. Retrieved 2015-01-08. (subscription required (help)).
  6. "10 best bucket-list sporting events". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  7. Hightower, Kyle; 28, Associated Press-Nov; Pm, 2015 2:18. "Bahamas Finds Success Creating a Sports Tourism Event". Skift. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Spectator sports.
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