Why Is Sports Tourism One Of The Fastest Growing Sectors In Tourism?

Sports have been around forever! So why is there such an increase in sports tourism now? Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism, so let’s find out why that is and what that means for tourists and countries that are holding these events around the world.

Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism due to the increase in the number of sporting events being held around the world. Tourists are attending popular sporting events and also traveling to compete in sporting games and events themselves.

There are a few types of tourists that travel for different reasons that contribute to the growth in sports tourism. There are also many organizations that are involved in the growth of this sector. There are lots of benefits coming from the increase in sports tourism. Let’s find out what they are.

The Fast Growing Sports Tourism Sector

Sports tourism is where people travel to a location for the purpose of watching, participating or being involved in sport. This can be for commercial or non-commercial means and sports tourism can include people of all ages, races, genders, and economic classes. 

There are many types of sports that exist, therefore sports tourism is not limited to just one sporting activity. Limitations within the sports tourism sector could only occur if there are no sporting events or no facilities to hold the games. 

soccer sport
soccer sport

Types Of Sport Tourists

Sports events may be the sole reason someone travels, or they may just be part of a larger trip. There are also three main types of tourists that we can categorize to explain the purpose and intention for their travels. Let’s dive into what they are:

1. Participation Sport Tourists

These are tourists that play sports and travel to other cities or countries to do so. These people may be amateurs at the sport or do the sport professionally. They may travel alone or with their friends, families, or supporters, and the participants can be of any gender, age, or race. 

2. Event-Based Sport Tourists

These are tourists who are not traveling to play a sport themselves but instead want to attend a sports game or sports event in another city or country to be a spectator. 

They will be traveling to the destination where a sports event is being held and will most likely not only pay money to attend the event but also boost the local economy by spending money at restaurants for transport and accommodation in the area.

For event-based sport tourists, the only thing that would get in the way of them traveling for a sport would be due to health and fitness issues or the cost of traveling to the destination

3. Celebratory Sport Tourists

These are tourists that want to travel to sporting attractions or places, not for a certain game or sporting event. They may want to visit stadiums, museums, halls of fame, and other locations that hold significance within the sporting world. 

For these celebratory sports tourists, it is more about the history and significance of a time or place rather than being in the midst of a live sporting event.

From these three categories, we can see that people contribute to the sports tourism sector in many ways. It is not just to watch popular sporting events but also to participate in sports themselves or to visit special sporting attractions that are based on past games.

Global Tourism

Global Tourism Market Size

It is clear that sports tourism is growing quickly and is becoming a significant part of the tourism industry. In 2020, the global tourism market size was valued at $323,420 million and is estimated that by 2030 it will reach $1,803,704 million

Most tourists that travel for sports and contribute to the sports tourism market are aged between 18 and 34. From this, we can see that this seems to align with the people we see at soccer, rugby, cricket, and other sports games

However, there are specific sports that differ from this common age group, such as those who enjoy the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circuit. This is more popular with males in their 40s and who have an above-average disposable income. 

The main elements that sports offer people are the uplifting atmosphere where there is a coming together between similar supporters and also competitors. Everyone wants to enjoy the game and they may be watching or may be participating in it.

There may be some banter between rivals, but ultimately everyone who has come together wants to be there and have a good time. 

Sports tourists may find that they feel comfortable and part of the city they have come to due to the friendliness or the unity they feel from a crowd. Both the sports players and the audience benefit from such a great supportive environment when a sports event is being held.

The Sports Tourism Market
ProductType CategoryRegion
Football / Soccer, Cricket, Motorsport, Tennis +  moreDomestic and InternationalActive and PassiveNorth America ( The US, Canada, and Mexico)Europe (the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and the rest)Asia- Pacific (China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and the rest)LAMEA (South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, the UAE and the rest).

SourceOpens in a new tab.:

The top organizations that are a part of the worldwide tourism market include:

  • QuintEvents
  • BAC Sports
  • MATCH Hospitality
  • Club Europe Holidays Ltd
  • Sports And Travel Hospitality Group
  • THG Sports
  • Inspiresport
  • Gullivers Sports Travel Limited
  • Event Management Ltd
  • DTB Sports Hospitality And Event Management Ltd
  • Great Atlantic Sports Travel

Many countries around the world are utilizing sporting events as a way to promote tourism to their countries, such as India, Germany, Spain, Canada, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America

In addition to the popular and well-known worldwide sporting events, South Africa’s new T20 League and India’s Pro Volleyball League are thought to become new major events in the future and will assist the expansion of the sports tourism sector.

Sustainable Development Of Sports Tourism

Sports tourism can greatly benefit the economic development of the destination where sports events are being held, especially large, popular, worldwide events. There can be both short-term and long-term benefits from this.

The Benefits Of Sports Tourism

It is not only rich countries that are seeing an increase in tourists in the sports tourism sector, even developing countries like Asia are experiencing growth due to sports tourism.

There are many benefits that come from the sports tourism sector, such as:

  1. Sports encourage tourists to visit the area, whether they are involved in a sport themselves or watching a game. This benefits the local community as they spend money at a local business.
  2. Sports can bring exposure to a country or city and might spark someone’s interest to come and visit. If someone sees a community that is cheering, supportive and positive, this may make someone also feel good about the location.
  3. Many countries and cities have buildings and facilities built for sports. Therefore, by hosting sporting events, these facilities can be used by the local community and by tourists who have come to visit to watch or play a sport.
  4. If a sports tourist visits a city or country for a sports event, they may discover that they really like the place and want to visit again, or perhaps extend their trip and discover what else the location has to offer.
  5. If there is an increase in the number of sports tourists, this may propel more infrastructure to be developed so more events, and larger spaces can be created in the future to hold an even larger number of people that are interested in traveling for sports reasons.
  6. Overall, tourist numbers in the city or country can increase from sports tourism, and the money made from this can be reinvested into the local community.
  7. Sports tourism can help create jobs for people in the sports tourism sector, whether it be helping out at sports games or working to provide food or transport to tourists.
USA Football
USA Football

Increasing Sports Tourism Numbers

Three ways we can continue increasing sports tourism:

1. Encourage Participants In Sports

To continue increasing the sports tourism sector, we want people to keep traveling to different locations for sporting events as well as introduce children and adults to sports. The more people that get involved in playing a sport, the more likely they are to want to travel and play their sport in other cities or countries, especially if they find they excel at it and really enjoy it.

Being able to join local teams and get coaching so they can develop their skills is important. In addition, the encouragement and support of family and friends are crucial and perhaps from those who seek to aid the development and progression of a player’s potential.

Having popular sports teams and highly skilled players that they love and look up to can encourage these amateur players to get better at their chosen sport as well as drive them to attend sporting events elsewhere. 

2. Sports Facilities Available

If a city or country wants to increase its sports tourism numbers, it is important that they have the facilities to do so. Once the infrastructure is there and they have the demand, it is about showing the world what they have to offer and encouraging them to come by to hold programs or events.

They can also ensure that local players have access to sporting equipment at these facilities and can practice their sport and play during the week. It is important that these facilities can serve both the local community and host games for larger events that will draw in large numbers of sports tourists.

3. Easy Online Ticket Purchase

Sports tickets are available to be purchased online globally, so people can book tickets to any event no matter where they are in the world. People can also research online to discover when and where sporting events are being held, and get promotions through email about more events like the ones they have booked tickets for in the past. 

Travel can then be planned in advance, and accommodation, transport, and other aspects of someone’s trip can be organized. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Sports Tourists Spend?

The amount a sports tourist spends will vary, but the average overnight sports tourist will spend $359 USD per trip while day-trippers will spend $79 USD. It will vary from person to person due to where the tourist is traveling from and how they prefer to travel, what kind of accommodation they like to stay in, and the duration of the trip

If the person believes that it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, they may be more likely to spend more as well as if they are going to a prestigious sporting event such as a Tennis Grand Slam event.

What Are The Top Sporting Events In The World?

The most popular sporting events in the world include the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Super Bowl, Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Wimbledon Tennis, The UEFA Champions League, and Tour De France Cycling.

What Are The Top Places Sports Fans Should Visit?

If you are a sports lover and want to experience the best locations that hold the best sporting events around the world, then you should visit Barcelona in Spain, London in England, Haryana in India, Tokyo in Japan, New York in the USA, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil.

Final Words

Sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism as there are many sporting events being held both for professional players that tourists want to see players and also amateur sports players traveling to compete in sports themselves.

Daniel Clarke

The website is run by myself Daniel Clarke, I’m lucky enough to have been living in Hervey Bay, for 31 years so I’m classed as a local I have seen many changes over this time. Read more about us here

Leave a Reply

More Pages On Other Areas