To put it in context why we enjoy working in Sport Tourism, here is some background to the sector.
Sport is the world’s largest social phenomenon. Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry. Sport Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the global tourism industry and globally it generates €450billion annually. As a sector within a very fast recovering sector there are endless possibilities for events, destinations and sport. According to the World Tourism Organisation (2013), the global tourism market is projected to grow between 2-3% while estimating that the Sport Tourism sector will grow in the region of 14%.
Increased multi media coverage of international events, high profile sponsorships, greater interest of health & wellbeing, and a new destination marketing focus using sport tourism events have been instrumental in this spike in interest and projected continue growth. The success of Ireland hosting a US Collages American football provided the ultimate case study in how the country from Dublin to Killarney to Connemara reaped a sport tourism dividend. The international coverage of Ireland as a cycling destination during the Giro d’Italia will generate a future economic return from the profile gained across the globe.
Societal factors are also at play. The last decade has seen a growing appetite for sport participation, spectacle and experimental tourism giving rise to a record number of mass participation events taking place annually in every corner of the country.
What Qualifies as Sport Tourism?
There are many definitions around sport tourism and tourism sport. W2 Consulting work on the basis that Sport Tourism is creating reasons for people to travel to a destination, to participate in or watch sport, to visit a sport attraction or attend a sport business event.
The key segments in the industry include:
- Mega Events: Olympics Games
- Signature Events: Six Nations Rugby
- Participation: Running, Cycling, Triathlon, Adventure racing, Representative Games such as World Medical Games, Fire and Police Games
- Spectator: Attendance at sports events outside of mega and signature events.
Attracting Sport Tourists
The market is all about demand and supply. Understanding the key motivations of a sport tourist is key to developing future strategy and event development. Research undertaken by W2 Consulting has identified the following key motivations around sport tourists, whether its attending or spectating at an event. They include; Competitive, Non Competitive, Participation, Formal, Informal, Self Actualisation and Nostalgic reasons. The market to host mega events is largely limited to major cities and global destinations. However, future sport tourism event strategies need to focus on these motivations to target and attract attendees and spectators. The destination’s opportunity will then manifest itself in creating added value local activity for visitors and reasons to stay longer in the host destination, bring more people with them and ultimately generating the social, sport and economic dividend the sector is predicted to generate globally.
W2 Consulting work with destinations, governing bodies and commercial partners in developing Sport Tourism from strategy development to project implementation.