Sports Tourism Worldwide - December 2012
Sports tourism has been one of the fastest-growing niche segments of the tourism sector in recent years, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Sports can be either a permanent demand driver for a destination (for example a ski resort) or an occasional one (for example an Olympic venue). Specifically, sports tourism, as covered in this report, encompasses active participation in sporting activities, such as cycling, golf, sailing and skiing, as well as attendance at sporting events, which attract numerous participants and have a significant, but often fleeting, impact on the destination, such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup matches, Formula 1, American football Super Bowl games and the Baseball World series.
Sports tourism has emerged as a key component of tourism supply, with tourism destinations increasingly developing tourism products involving leisure sports. These targeted offerings enable destinations to differentiate themselves from their competitors, thus sharpening their competitive edge through attracting travellers who seek out natural environments, which can provide healthy and active holidays. Indeed, the economies of cities, regions and even countries around the world are increasingly dependent on visiting golfers and skiers or travelling football, rugby or cricket supporters. In some countries, sport can account for as much as 25% of all tourism receipts, according to the UNWTO.
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