According to the World Tourism Organisation, Sport Tourism represents the fastest growing sector in global tourism. Arguably, many destinations and host locations can boast of having the appropriate infrastructure from sports facilities, diversity of sports activities through to the accommodation stock to capitalise on this global opportunity. However, it will be the destinations that foster the ‘inner sport tourism entrepreneur’ that will win by building programmes of events and activities that will deliver sustainable economic, social and promotional benefits.
The common theme among the destinations, events and global sport tourism experts speaking at the European Sport Tourism Summit in Thomond Pak Stadium, Limerick in May is innovation. The ability to maximise the potential of their sport, heritage, natural and sporting resources has enabled them to build and attract events that has positioned them as the revolutionaries of the sector.
The many layers of sport tourism from hosting global events such as the Rugby World Cup, Ryder Cup, Giro d’Italia to the growth of active leisure and adventure reveals the opportunity that exists for all national and regional destinations. Sport tourists are so varied from the weekend warriors seeking self actualisation in triathlon, cycling, adventure racing or running to competitive athletes who travel from destination to destination looking for the next PB.
Now that the consumer desire or ‘demand side’ is growing, destinations need to reveal their spirit of sport tourism innovation. A broader examination of our supply side ‘sport tourism incubation units’ ranging from marine resources, natural settings to existing sports infrastructure reveals the scope for development for destinations across all locations. Adopting a resource based model of innovation for sport tourism can be the catalyst for success without significant infrastructural investment. In addition to nurturing a culture of innovation, W2 consulting have developed the positive developments emerging from the sport tourism industry as a whole which when developed in unison, creates an unrivalled opportunity to develop a successful and unforgettable sport tourism experience.
- Partnership: Private, Public & Third Sector must work together
- Innovation: Innovation & Creativity in Event Production
- Delivery: New venues in host locations widening scope of opportunity to host
- Experience: Creation of enhanced spectator & participant experience
- Local Culture: Showcase and integration with community and cultural activity
- Volunteers: Resource of local pool of event makers and ambassadors to attract future events
- Government: Involvement from Central and Local Government
- Competition: Continuous emerging destinations investing in events and facilities
- Digital Media: Spectator and participant exposure to global event best practice globally
- Legacy: More focus on social value generation and legacy planning from outset
The Wild Atlantic Way and the creation of so many ‘Experiences’ promoted on the coastal route is ready for the next level of sport tourism innovation. When examined in the wider context of the Sport Tourism environment, the opportunity becomes very evident. Whether it is a visit to a sports museum, looking at the worlds sporting elite or taking part in an adventure race or cycle… we all want to be part of the greatest show on earth… sport!
Infographic: Ten Future Trends in Sports Tourism