Academic journal article UTMS Journal of Economics

Managing Sports Experiences in the Context of Tourism

Academic journal article UTMS Journal of Economics

Managing Sports Experiences in the Context of Tourism

Article excerpt

Abstract

Participation in sports activities combined with unique sports resources can provide people with extraordinary experiences. It is especially true for tourism where sports activities are an important content of stay. The aim of this paper is to analyse how sports experiences could be planned and managed for the tourism purposes from the aspect of sports facility managers. In addition, the interrelations within the four realms of an experience were analysed and supported by proposed management models and examples. Results of the analysis indicate that it is possible for a facility to provide a full spectrum of experiences but only if it meets the standards of professional sports. Recommendations suggested by the paper provide new insight on organising the sports offer in the destination, and can be used by sports facility managers in order to better serve sports and sports tourism needs.

Keywords: tourism, sport, experience, management models.

Jel Classification: L83

INTRODUCTION

In the last few decades there has been a kind of revolution in the perception of experiences and their market value. Modern consumers are getting more and more experienced and more demanding while in a continuing search for a wide range of experiences. But more importantly, they are willing to pay for it. The econo mic supply recognised this trend and put the actual focus of scientific activities on experiences (Bille 2012; Chang and Horng 2008; Holbrook and Hirschman 1982; Knutson and Beck 2004; O'Sullivan and Spangler 1998; Pine and Gilmore 1998, 1999; Prahalad and Ramaswamy 2004; Schmitt 1999; Schulze 1995). What's more, the concept of experience economy (Pine and Gilmore 1998, 1999) has gone beyond its boundaries and nowadays it could be related to many fields: retailing (Grewal, Levy, and Kumar 2009), branding (Atwal and Williams 2009; Brakus, Schmitt, and Zarantonello 2009), entertainment and arts (Petkus 2004), architecture and urban planning (Howell 2005; Lorentzen 2009), and other fields. However, its highly individualised approach is perhaps best expressed in tourism and hospitality, and tourism is surely one of the pioneer examples of the experience economy (Quan and Wang 2004). Getz (2008) even said that it is now almost a cliché to say that tourism and hospitality are key players in the experience economy.

When it comes to experiences and tourism, active or passive participation in sports can provide tourists with extraordinary adventures and experiences. Sports in general and sports tourism in particular pose new challenges for all levels of management in the destination. Sports and tourism managers are faced with the need to create new sports products, typical for their destination, transforming them into an inspiring travel experience.

Considering the above, the aim of this paper is to analyse how sports experiences could be planned and managed for the tourism purposes from the aspect of sports facility managers. The paper contains four sections. The first section provides a brief, necessarily incomplete review of the literature, emphasising the gaps that will be focus of this paper. The second section presents the main methodological concepts and framings that will guide the understanding and the analysis of the proposed management models. In the third section, starting from different realms of an experience, possible management models are proposed. The upgrading and interrelations of experiences are analysed and supported by examples. Also, for every realm of an experience within the proposed models it is defined what type of sports tourism it belongs. The paper finishes with conclusion remarks.

1. LITERATURE REVIEW

1.1. Tourist experiences

From the 1970s onwards, the tourist experience has become one of the most popular academic topics reflected in the constant growth of the social science literature (Andersson 2007; Binkhorst and Den Dekker 2009; Cohen 1979; Kim, Ritchie, and McCormick 2012; Knutson and Beck 2004; Lee and Crompton 1992; Leighton 2007; McCabe 2002; Morgan, Elbe, and Curiel 2009; Oh, Fiore, and Jeong 2007; Pearce and Moscardo 1986; Ryan 1997; Sheng and Chen 2013; Wang 1999; Williams 2006; Xu and Chan 2010; to list only a few). …

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