According to the World Trade Organization, tourism is the largest economic activity in the world. This industry is a key driver of economic progress in many countries in the world and its role in economic development can be expected to increase even though the sector continues to experience expansion. One subset of tourism patterns that has gained prominence over the past few decades is sports tourism. The number of sporting events taking place all over the world has increased and many people travel to foreign destinations either to participate in or observe and attend the events. This paper will set out to demonstrate that sports tourism has a positive socio-economic impact on the destination country, which is hosting a sport event.
Sports Tourism: An Overview
The tourism industry plays a major role in the economic development of many countries. The World Tourism Organization (2014) documents that tourism contributes 9% of the world GDP. This contribution is from the direct and indirect impacts of the sector. The tourism industry is the world largest employer with 9.1% of all available jobs being as a direct or indirect result of tourism; any job related to any activities accrued from tourists traffic such as transportations, accommodation, and services are considered as a part of the industry contributes employment. Europe is the most visited region in the world due to the numerous tourist attractions found in this region. This region attracts 43% of the total number of international tourists and it contributes US $458 billion every year. There are countries that rely almost entirely on the revenue obtained from tourism for their economy. The World Tourism Organization (2014) reports that Luxembourg, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Cyprus are examples of these countries that heavily depend on tourism to sustain their economies.
Sport tourism is a subset of tourism that has huge potential in improving the earnings for a country. Delpy (1998) defines sports tourism as "travel to participate in a sport activity, travel to observe sport, and travel to visit a sport attraction" (p.23). This phenomenon has gained significant attention over the last few decades as nations have identified the positive impact that it can produce. Global interest in sport activities is on the rise so it can be expected that the number of sport tourists will increase with the coming years. Delpy (1998) states that the contributions of sports tourism to overall tourism are at 32%. Kim and Chalip (2004) declare that sporting events are a significant component of destination marketing. This demonstrates that sports tourism is a major component of the tourism industry that included variety of patterns such as cultural, relaxing, and medical tourism.
As such, encouraging the growth and development of sports tourism in a country leads to positive economic gains by the country. Sports tourism provides an opportunity for a nation to increase its tourism share since sport is...