Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Tourism in Himachal Himalayas: Global Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Tourism in Himachal Himalayas: Global Perspective

Article excerpt

Introduction

As emerging segment of the world's largest and fastest growing industry, sport tourism is now among the world's most sought-after leisure experiences. Significantly it has become very important economic activity. Recent researches have indicated that sport's contribution to the GDP of industrialised nations is between one to two percent, while the contribution of tourism is between 4 to 6 percent (WTO, 2001). Sport tourism together is valued globally at $118 billion (Fyal O., et al, 2008). While the global tourism and travel market is expected to grow by five per cent per annum up to 2020, the World Tourism Organisation forecast a ten per cent growth for sport tourism (www.unwto.org).

However, till last two decades scholars, policy makers and governing bodies involved in both sports and tourism have largely ignored the travel dynamics generated by the synthesis of these two activities, with sport and tourism each being seen as incidental to each other, or as Glyptis (1991) suggested ' as a separate sphere of activity'.

This is partly because sport tourism traditionally comprising two separate fields of study--sport and tourism-with limited integration and discussion between the two academic sub-disciplines and industry sectors. Therefore, there is a need to bring practitioners in both fields together, as there is a mutual advantage in such collaboration (Ritchie & Adair, 2002)

The economies of cities, regions and even countries around the world are increasingly reliant on sport tourism. In some countries, sport can account for as much as 25 percent of tourism receipts, while the indirect benefits are visible in the years to follow-on tourists. Sport tourism is now a tool to achieve many things--to make money, create thousands of new jobs, and even help in changing cultural perceptions as in case of Middle East and South Africa (Standeven, Joy & Knop H, www.humankinectics.com). As a result, all the key stakeholders at international, national and local levels have begun to take the significant interest in the subject of sport tourism so as to manage it in a way to maximise its full potential.

The WTO and International Olympic Committee, in a jointly organised international conference on sports and tourism in 2001 in Barcelona, Spain, have underlined significant synergetic relationship between sports and tourism, which was further recognised by leading international organisation for sport and tourism (Hinch & Higham, 2004). These attempts to articulate the relationship between the unique characteristics of tourism and sports are scholarly advances, which were further strengthen by a study "Analysing the relationship between sports and tourism : A case study of Island of Madera" (M Barros, 2007), which has pointed out "positive and statistically significant relationship between sports and tourism, where sports promote regional development and in doing so potential synergies of sports and tourism needs to be captured".

In the past two decades the number of participating tourists and their interest in sport tourism has burgeoned with realisation that it is a growing segment of tourism industry. In fact, sport tourism involves combination of travel and sport activity. As per Standeven and Deknop, Sport tourism is all forms of active and passive involvement in sporting activity, participated in casually or in an organised way of non-commercial or business/commercial reasons that necessitate travel away from home and work locality (Standeven and Deknop, 1999). Gibson meanwhile defines sport tourism as "leisure-based travel that takes individual temporary outside from their home communities to participate, to watch or to venerate attraction associated physical activities (Gibson, 1998). Weed and Bull have referred sport tourism as synergetic phenomenon of simple combination of sport and tourism, which has five main categories: sport participation, tourism with sports content, luxury sport tourism, sports event and sports training (Weed & Bull, 2004). …

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