Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Touristic Impact of a Sporting Event Attending to the Future Intentions of the Participants

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Touristic Impact of a Sporting Event Attending to the Future Intentions of the Participants

Article excerpt

Introduction

Even though the concept of sports tourism seems new, there are historical records which show that already in ancient Greece the inhabitants of the era would move to places far from their habitual residence to participate in sporting events (Bahia and Ávila, 2011). The clearest example can be seen in Olympia in the year 776 B.C., where thousands of people travelled to participate, either as spectators or competitors, in the first Olympic Games of antiquity. Yildiz and Çekiç (2015) considered these movements as the first sports tourism in history.

Nowadays, tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, in Europe it constitutes 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GNP), meanwhile in Spain it constitutes more than 15% of the GNP (World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), 2016a, 2016b) experiencing a constant expansion and diversification in all the touristic sectors.

One of the most highly demanded alternative touristic sectors in the 21st century is the sports sector (Brown, Busser and Baloglu, 2010), which has become a great political, economic, social and cultural phenomenon (Weed and Bull, 2010). It is used to boost the appeal of a place, with the goal of attracting visitors and stimulating the economic growth (Wilson, 2006).

The growth of this sector is largely due to the awareness of the importance of health and the physical condition from the population, as well as the growing increase in the celebration of sporting events by great cities to attract sports tourists (Moon, Kim, Ko, Connaughton and Lee, 2011). The sports tourism sector currently represents 25% of the income of the tourist industry globally (WTTC, 2017).

Within sports tourism there are many typologies, from the participation in sports competitions as an athlete, to the assistance to events as a spectator, becoming in this way one of the first options for the use of free time and leisure in the population (Angosto, 2014; Theodorakis, Kaplanidou and Karabaxoglou, 2015). Sporting events constitute the most important factor in sports tourism, being the type that generates the biggest socioeconomic impact and becoming an important option in the tourist attraction of the different localities (Deery, Jago, and Fredline, 2004; Oliveira et al., 2016). These authors emphasise that the tourism of sporting events is the only category that fulfils the criteria of sports tourism, where the sports activity is the main motivation for travelling.

The relation "sports-tourism" has become an important tourist potential which has not gone unnoticed by companies and public organizations; the celebration of sporting events in different cities helps improve their image with regard to general tourism and because of this it is a growing sector (Allameh, Khazaei, Jaberi, Salehzadeh, and Asadi, 2015), always looking to break with the seasionality of the localities celebrating these events in periods of low tourism.

The large increase of sports events can be seen in the difficulty of finding a weekend throughout the year in which an important sports event is not celebrated. Moreover, sports events are diversifying, no longer taking place only on weekends, but also having certain competitions taking place during the week, adapting their timetables to the work period of the assistants of the events. A clear example are the European football and basketball competitions which take place during the week, leaving the weekends for international matches.

Several authors consider sports events as an effective tool to make known a locality (Chalip and Costa, 2005), especially as destination marketing tools for the host countries (Nishio, 2013). The socio-economic benefits which are obtained lead to the intensification of the competitiveness between the different destination wishing to hold the sporting events (Altamira and Muñoz, 2007; Balduck, Maes, and Buelens, 2011; Turco, Riley, &Swart, 2002).

In parallel to the growth in the relationship between tourism and sports there is also the interest between academic and professionals of the sector, the number of research and studies which analyse the relation between tourism-sports, the impact that the organisation of sports events have on the organising locality (FernándezAllés, 2014; Gammon and Robinson, 2003) and the economic benefits which the public or private investment of said events has on the host city (Duglio and Beltramo, 2017; Hruschka and DaCosta, 2017). …

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