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As the 27th of September each year is celebrated as World Tourism Day, we today will understand how sporting events promote the tourism of the destination

World Tourism Day is held every year on September 27th because sports and tourism can work together to achieve social and development goals.

Tourism is the most vital economic sector on the planet.

It allows people to experience the world’s various cultural and natural riches while bringing people closer together and highlighting our shared humanity.

Tourism’s various major contributions motivated the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to establish World Tourism Day in 1980.

Which has been celebrated yearly on September 27 to emphasise the importance of tourism and its influence on our society.

What is Sports Tourism?

Sports tourism is travelling from one location to another with the intent of participating in a sporting activity or event.

Travelling for sporting purposes, such as a yoga teacher training course, a badminton competition, or learning to surf, is included in sports tourism.

An example of sports tourism is attending sporting events such as Formula One races or Premier League football matches.

There are four significant types of Sport Tourism. These are categorized as:

  1. Tourism for Sporting Events
  2. Tourism for Active Sports
  3. Sport Tourism Nostalgia
  4. Passive Sports Tourism

While sports tourism has not always been popular, the number of people attending out-of-town sporting events has increased dramatically in the last decade.

People are now travelling long distances to follow their favourite events, and it is easy to see what has fueled the sudden surge in popularity.

Sports And Tourism

According to the UNWTO, tourism is one of the world’s most significant and fastest-growing economic sectors, while sport is one of the world’s most influential social phenomena.

Sport, whether a professional or recreational activity, frequently involves travel to other locations to play and compete in various places.

Furthermore, major sporting events such as the Olympics and different World Cups have become significant tourist draws.

Sports tourism accounts for a significant portion of the tourism industry, with some sources claiming that sports tourism accounts for one-quarter of all tourism worldwide.

In addition, participation in and attendance at sporting and personal recreational activities are part of sports tourism.

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have made statements emphasizing the importance of sports tourism;

In 2004, the organizations committed to strengthening their partnership and collaboration in the sports tourism domain, stating:

“Tourism and sport are inextricably linked and mutually beneficial.

Both powerful development forces encourage investment in infrastructure projects such as airports, roads, stadiums, and sports complexes.

People can also enjoy visiting the restaurant projects visited by locals and tourists.”

Sports Tourism And Long-Term Development

Tourism is a critical component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly goals 8, 12, and 14.

In addition, sports tourism, as a subset of tourism, can also contribute to long-term development.

Economically, sports tourism helps to achieve SDGs 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere) and 8.

Sports tourism boosts local businesses by increasing demand for transportation, hotels, and restaurants.

Therefore, residents will have access to employment and income opportunities.

Locals can work as instructors & guides, who are likely to be paid more due to their unique skills, depending on the nature of the sports & experiences.

Furthermore, sports tourism helps achieve SDG 3.

Promote well-being and guarantee healthy lives for all ages.

Aside from providing sporting opportunities and a physical outlet for tourists, investment in sports tourism can also encourage local populations to participate in sporting activities.

Finally, sports tourism can help to achieve SDG 11 (ensure inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements).

Accessible sports tourism products, such as hand bikes, allow people with disabilities to participate in sports.

Tourists and locals alike can enjoy para-sport activities.

Accessible sports tourism can improve convenience in the destination city by providing sports not only products but also accessible lodging and transportation.

Furthermore, accessible sports tourism promotes societal acceptance of people with disabilities.

Sports, Tourism, And Environmental Sustainability

Sports federations like the International Olympic Committee have recognized the importance of sustainable practices during mega sporting events.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched the International Federation (IF) Sustainability Project in 2016 to overview its sustainability initiatives, identifying common topics, challenges, and best practices.

The IOC Sustainability Strategy was developed in close collaboration with many stakeholders and partners, building on the Olympic Agenda 2020 to radically reform the working practices of the IOC, Olympic Games, and Olympic Movement.

To create synergies among stakeholders and include sports and facilities as local assets, decision makers at all levels must understand their potential and agree to collaborate to develop long-term development strategies.

Host cities should target participants most likely to engage in environmentally friendly behaviour while visiting the city, including creating event portfolios geared toward long-term event practices.

The host city should also leverage collaborative partnerships to promote social cohesion and increase capacity for sustainable practices.

All decisions should be informed by sustainability principles, from the design and construction of sports facilities to managing resources to the value of the natural environment and people’s health and well-being.

As sport’s role and relevance in today’s society grow, see the progress in collaboration and partnership with others, including the tourism industry.

The Various Types Of Sport Tourism

There are four types of sport tourism: sports event tourism, nostalgia sports tourism, active sports tourism, and passive sports tourism.

I’ve briefly explained every kind of tourism and some examples below.

Tourism For Sporting Events

Sports event tourism defines as tourism centred on a sporting event. Sporting events can be of any size or significance; however, major sporting events tend to garner the most attention.

The Olympics & the FIFA World Cup are important centres for sport event tourism, bringing millions of tourists to the host city.

Smaller events, like Henley Regatta in the UK or a national tennis tournament, are examples of sports event tourism.

Amateur sporting events are an often overlooked example of sports event tourism. Some examples are regional school competitions, youth sports leagues, and non-profit community sports events.


The oldest tennis competition in the world is Wimbledon, sometimes known as ‘The Championships’.

Wimbledon is a prestigious sporting event associated with the upper class, with spectators sipping sparkling wine and Pimms while dressed in their finest frocks.

Knowing nothing about tennis, I went to Wimbledon a few years ago to experience this famous event, which is an integral part of British heritage!

Wimbledon has been held yearly at the All England Club in Wimbledon, on the outskirts of London, since 1877.

Tennis will play on grass courts outside, which differs from tennis matches in many other parts of the globe.

The Wimbledon tennis tournament is one of four Grand Slams, along with the Australian Open, French Open, and United States Open.

The tournament will be held every year in late June/early July.

FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, also known as the Football World Cup, is an international football tournament held every four years.

First, teams must pass the qualification phase over three years.

Following that, 32 teams compete in the tournament, including the automatically qualifying host nation.

The World Cup tournament lasts approximately one month.

The Olympic Games

The modern Olympic Games, inspired by the ancient Greeks, have been held since 1896.

However, the games have been played in some form or another for a long time before this date.

The Olympics are perhaps the most well-known and famous international sporting event.

It hosts both summer and winter sports competitions once every four years.

In the same way as other main sports events, the Olympics take place in different locations every year.

The Big Game

A Super Bowl is the league’s championship game and one of the most popular sports tourism events in the United States.

The Super Bowl is the 2nd largest day for food consumption in the United States (after Thanksgiving) and is the most-watched American television broadcast of the year.

Tourism For Active Sports

When a person travels for the purpose of actively engaging in their chosen sport or for other reasons, but participation in sport is an important element of their tourist experience, this is referred to as active sports tourism.

The classification of active sports tourists is amateur, hobbyist, and professional sports tourists.

Passive Sports Tourism

Finally, it is essential to recognize that, while sport is inherently active, not all participating in or involved with the sport are active.

Passive tourists can contribute more to the sport than active participants!

A passive sports tourist attends a sporting event but does not participate actively.

Sports tourism is a substantial sector of the economy.

Passive sports tourism involves watching sports.

Sports event tourism can takes place at major sporting events (qualifying as sports event tourism), or it could simply be to show support for a family member or friend.

However, the majority of passive sports tourists are fans.

Conclusion on Sports Tourism

Sports tourism is a significant industry. There is a massive market for tourists worldwide, whether it is events sports tourism, active sports tourism, nostalgic sports tourism, or passive sports tourism. However, sports tourism, like any other type, must be carefully managed to ensure its long-term possibility.