Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is sport tourism?

While there are varying definitions it is generally agreed upon that there are two primary characteristics of sport tourism:
  1. An individual must travel more than 80km and/or stay overnight to attend, compete, or otherwise be involved in a sporting event.
  2. Sport is the reason for travel in that an individual would not have otherwise traveled to that location had it not been for that specific event.

Sport tourism is now the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. And according to the Canadian Tourism Commission, the sport tourism industry is a $2.4 billion a year industry in Canada (Canadian Tourism Commission, 2004).

One side of this sport tourism coin is the growing industry of sporting event hosting. Whether it is a local, regional, national or international competition, hosting a sporting event has varied social, structural and economic effects on a host community. From creating awareness of sport and physical activity, creation or renovation of facilities, to visitor spending, hosting sporting events can have significant impacts. For example, a CBC article indicates that consumer spending in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., increased 48 per cent during the recent Olympic Games including spikes and ebbs during Canadian medal winning events such as increases post-event for men’s aerials and ice dance competitions and decreases during the men’s hockey finals.

In Canada, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) is an organization whose goals include marketing Canada internationally as a preferred sport tourism destination, sharing best practices, measuring the economic impact of sport events and enhancing the profile of sport tourism. CSTA offers a variety of resources that aid in researching the feasibility and viability of hosting sporting events in your community, including:

  • Canadian federal and provincial/territorial policies for hosting sporting events;
  • economic impact reports of various past sport competitions
  • business plan templates
  • sport tourism planning template

CSTA also hosts the annual Sports Event Congress which is taking place in Toronto this week.

For more information on sport tourism and sport tourism research contact SIRC (askalibrarian@sirc.ca)