Sports tourism gets global seal of approval

HIGH-PROFILE sporting events benefit the host nation’s travel and tourism industry, reveals a global poll of senior travel executives published in the World Travel Market 2011 Industry Report. The study asked more than 1,000 buyer members from WTM’s Meridian Club and exhibitors at this year’s event about a number of issues affecting the tourism industry, giving the report a unique global perspective.

More than 80 per cent agreed that hosting a major event “increases the focus and attracts more tourists”. Nearly one-in-five disagreed, suggesting that tourists will stay away as a result of the perceived disruption.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is less than a year away. 86 per cent believe that the games will have a positive impact on London, with a similar number (84 per cent) thinking the benefits will be felt by the entire UK tourism industry.

Responses around the impact of the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro were almost identical, in terms of the positive benefits to Rio (86 per cent) and Brazil as a whole (85 per cent).

The global nature of the report is reflected by the responses to whether the Olympics will have any impact on turnover. Around half (49 per cent) said that London 2012 would have no direct impact, with two-thirds (66 per cent) saying the same about Rio 2016.

World Travel Market has been championing the cause of sports tourism for a number of years.