The Significance of Sports Tourism
Dr. Radhika Kapur
The main purpose of this research paper is to acquire an understanding of significance
of sports tourism. The main areas that have been taken into account are, factors that influence
sports tourism, benefits of sports tourism, classification of sports tourism, characteristics of
sports tourists and Institutional and Regulatory Framework. The individuals plan sports
tourism when they are participating in sports events as well as when they develop interest and
enthusiasm towards a particular sports. In this case, when individuals plan a trip to another
city or country, then they get engaged in other activities as well, such as leisure, adventure,
cultural or make visits to religious or historical places, but sports is the major aspect. Hence,
it is the regarded as sports tourism. Sports tourism primarily is important for sports persons.
The individuals, who plan a career in a particular sport, they plan sports tourism, for the
purpose of participating or observing.
Keywords: Activities, Development, Participation, Sports Tourism, Training
Sports tourism is a mounting section and refers to individuals travelling to a
destination, to participate in or watch sports that includes, world games, international test
series, stadium tours, mass participation events, player’s testimonials, group tours, sporting
events and exhibitions. Sports tourism is an integral part of world tourism and this
phenomenon is given importance in India. Indian travellers are interested in sports tourism
and are keen in discovering various destinations in terms of the internationally commended
sports events. Events such as the Olympics, F1 Grand Prix, FIFA World Cup, Tennis Grand
Slams, PGA championships, Cricket World Cup, are the platforms to showcase the
destination. The individuals, belonging to all age groups and backgrounds take interest in
sports tourism. Over the years, there has been a considerable increase in the number of Indian
tourists travelling to watch international sports related events. Sports tourism is divided into
two forms as, spectator sports events, where individuals visit to enjoy the event and
participatory sports events, which inspire the visitors to participate in the activities (Sports
Sports tourism is regarded as the tourism, which is planned by the individuals with the
purpose of observing or participating in various sports events. It is a tourism that focuses
upon sports. In India, as well as in other countries of the world, individuals are developing
extensive interest and enthusiasm in various types of sports and plan to take them up as a
career. In most cases, they develop an interest in sports from the initial stage, begin practice
and by the time, they reach the adolescent stage, they are proficient enough in the sport.
When individuals develop keen interest in a particular sport and plan to make it as a career,
then it is vital that they get engaged in professional training and participate in sporting events.
Sports tourism refers to the specific travel of the individuals, outside the region of residence.
Though the involvement of the individuals within the sport event may be active or passive
(Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
In this case, when the individuals are planning a trip from one place to another, then
sport is the primary reason. The individuals in some cases, plan a sports tourism, when they
have to observe the events or competitions, in which their relatives or friends are
participating. In this tourism, the leisure and the recreation elements may be included for the
purpose of strengthening the meaning of sports tourism. Sports tourism, normally is classified
into two broad categories. These are active sports tourism and passive sports tourism. Active
sports tourism is travelling for the purpose of participating in a sport, leisure or recreational
activity. Whereas, passive sports tourism is travelling for the purpose of visiting a sport,
leisure or recreational activity. Sports tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the global travel
industry and equates to $ 600 billion on an annual basis. It has been given sub-sectored into
notable products, such as, golf tourism, polo tourism and adventure tourism through various
activities (Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
Factors that Influence Sports Tourism
The factors that influence sports tourism falls into three main categories, these are
economic, technological and socio-cultural (Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
Economic Factors – For the individuals to participate in any form of sports tourism, a
sufficient amount of money is needed. The prosperity of families in the present has risen to
new heights, primarily because of major changes in the types of employment opportunities
that individuals are engaged in. Individuals are experiencing an increase in the amount of
leisure time available for sports tourism activities. In general, there has been a decrease in the
number of hours on the job over the past century, particularly as the number of holidays have
increased and improvements in technology have led to more time for many individuals.
Eventually, for most western societies, the economic changes taken place have increased the
amount of time and money available to the individuals, and have motivated them to get
involved in sports tourism activities.
Technological Factors - Equally important in making it possible for expansion of
sports tourism to a more extensive cross section of the population are the recent innovations
in technology. The best example of new technology is explained by new methods in
transportation. With the invention of automobiles and air travel in the past century,
individuals have been able to move to various locations to participate in sports tourism
activities. Additionally, with the establishment of new transportation methods, individuals
began to acquire accommodations away from their homes. This led to the massive
development of hotels, inns, and motels. In addition to the role that transportation and
accommodation contributed in increasing the popularity of sports tourism, new innovations in
media technology also assisted in development. The press, radio and television also
contributed an important part in the development of sports tourism. Lastly, the innovations in
sports equipment production have also contributed to the development of sports.
Socio-Cultural Factors - Sports tourism can reinforce the national heritage,
individuality, uniqueness and community spirit as local individuals can join together to
promote their culture. Sports tourism can make provision of a vehicle through which the
visitors can come to know the individuals, belonging to other countries and their culture.
Sports tourism can initiate the restoration and preservation of cultural traditions.
Benefits of Sports Tourism
Sports tourism has been beneficial to the individuals, belonging to all age groups,
irrespective of their socio-economic categories and backgrounds. The main benefits of this
tourism have been stated as follows: (Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
Economic Development - Sports are an investment in the tourism industry and leads to
effectual economic development. They initiate economic growth through making provision of
various types of accommodation facilities, hotels, restaurants and retail establishments. In
cities or regions, where there are organization of sports events, then efforts are been made for
leading to improvements in various areas that may render an effectual contribution in
facilitating the visit of the individuals.
Experience – Sports tourism generates experience among the individuals and develops
a positive image for the community. The individuals, who have strong interest in a particular
type of sport and possess keen interest in learning it, usually plans sports tourism. Sports
tourism would enable them to watch or participate in the sport, in this manner, they are able
to augment their experience. They able to identify the flaws and inconsistencies and make
improvements. When the individuals are participating in sports events on a continuous basis,
they enhance their experience. On the other hand, they are able to gain proficiency and
competence within a course of time.
Product Development – Sports tourism develops a new product, and a new tourism
destination. When the term, product is used, it means, the sport towards which one pays
adequate attention. The individuals, who plan sports tourism primarily for the purpose of
observing the event, then acquire professional training in order to develop the skills and
abilities, hence, it is termed as product development. In addition, when product development
takes place, one is able to make the most use of the abilities that is provided within the
community, especially the knowledge, skills, motivation and enthusiasm.
Community Relationships – Sports tourism develops community relationships and
reinforces corporate support. When individuals are dedicated towards a particular sport, is an
athlete by profession, participates in various competitions and events, then they develop
community relationships. In this manner, the individuals augment their communication links,
and develops connections and terms with the other individuals. The other individuals may
include organizers, other sports persons and other individuals involved in sports events. There
are cases of individuals, who have been participating in sports events since the adolescent
stage. In some cases, they get engaged into learning from the early childhood stage, hence,
when they are practicing the sport from the initial stage, they are able to become proficient,
when they enter the adulthood stage. During this stage, they participate in numerous events
on national as well as international basis and are able to enhance their status and reputation
and develop community relationships.
Creates Youth Opportunity and Entertainment – Sports tourism is regarded as a major
source of entertainment. The individuals, when are participating, have to concentrate, and
possess the traits of diligence, resourcefulness and conscientiousness. In addition, they obtain
the opportunity to enhance their reputation and it makes provision of entertainment. On the
other hand, the individuals, who are primarily watching the sporting events, feel entertained
and amused. When competitions are organized, between two players or two teams, then
usually the individuals have a favourite team, in terms of their nationality or other factors,
hence, they feel entertained, if their favourite team is winning.
Draw High yield Visitors – Drawing of high yield visitors are especially the ones, who
have made a visit before. The individuals, either for the purpose of participation or for the
purpose of observing have made several visits to that place before. They are familiar with the
place and each time, they have planned a visit, their main objective was either to observe or
participate in the sporting event. Hence, one of the benefits of organization of sports events
is, the visitors again plan their visits to the city. In this manner, the city draws high yield
Generates Constructive Image for the Destination – The individuals are able to
generate positive viewpoints in terms of the tourist destinations, particularly to which they
plan sports tourism on a frequent basis. On the other hand, when individuals need to make
frequent visits to the places for especially, participating in sports, then they are able to
generate constructive image for the destination. If the place is densely populated, or if the
infrastructure is not well developed, they do not pay attention to these areas, primarily
because of their objective, and they form a constructive image for the destination.
Infrastructure – Development of new infrastructure is an integral part for leading to
improvements in sports tourism. The term, infrastructure is comprehensive, it includes, public
services, means of communications, public transport, power supplies, water supplies,
telecommunications, radio, broadcasting, roads and rail network and the overall organization.
When a sporting event is organized in a city, then it is vital to ensure that all the areas are in a
well-developed state. When the infrastructural facilities would be well-developed and well-
maintained, then the individuals would be able to take benefit out of sports tourism.
Communication – Communication is regarded as the primary aspect in the
organization of the sporting event. For instance, when the cricket match is going on, the role
of the commentators is to communicate the necessary information to the public. In this
manner, one is able to enhance their understanding in terms of the scores, overs, number of
balls available and so forth. There are number of individuals, who watch these events on
television or listen to the radio. In the present existence, with the advent of technology, the
individuals watch these matches and events on their mobile phones, smartphones etc. The use
of the media to communicate effectually is considered as an integral aspect in sports.
Growth of Sports Tourism – The development of infrastructure, communication, and
possession of interest and enthusiasm on the part of the individuals leads to an increase in the
rate of sports tourism. The individuals, who are planning sports tourism to another city or
country, may also get engaged in other activities that are sources of leisure and recreation.
Therefore, in this manner, they are able to simultaneously plan their sports tourism and
leisure tourism. In addition, the sports tourism may also plan organizational marketing and
bidding capacity of the community.
Classification of Sports Tourism
There are several classifications of sports tourism. One of the theories suggested that
the sports tourism is defined as hard sports tourism and soft sports tourism. The other theory
suggested that there are three types of sports tourism, which includes sports event tourism,
celebrity and nostalgia sports tourism, active sports tourism, inbound sports tourism and
outbound sports tourism (Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
Hard and Soft Sports Tourism - Hard definition of sports tourism refers to the number
of individuals, who are participating in competitive sports events. Generally these kinds of
events are the stimulus that interests the visitors to make a visit to these events. Olympic
Games, FIFA World Cup, F1 Grand Prix and regional events such as NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series could be described as hard sports tourism. On the other hand, soft definition is
moderately the travel of the tourists for participating in sporting events that are organized
primarily for recreation purposes, or signing up for leisure interests. Hiking, skiing and
canoeing can be described as the soft sports tourism.
Sports Events Tourism - Sports event tourism refers to the individuals, who plan a
visit to the city with the purpose of observing the events. In most cases, there are large
number of individuals, who develop interest in sports. Whenever, there are any sports events
or matches, individuals usually develop keenness and enthusiasm and take pleasure in
watching them. In some cases, they may even cut down their working hours, in order to
watch a sporting event. A good example of this would be during the Olympics. Each Olympic
host city receives an enormous amount of tourism. In simple terms, when any sports events
are organized, then individuals plan their trips to the city or even another country.
Nostalgia Sports Tourism - Nostalgia sports tourism involves traveling to well-known
and prominent sports-related places. Normally, the individuals feel impressed by the
tournaments and the places, where the sporting events are organized. When they generate
awareness, where the sporting event is organized, they usually develop motivation regarding
the place and plan their visit. Visits to various sporting halls, which are well-known such as,
the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee and the Baseball Hall
of Fame in Cooperstown, New York are appropriate examples of these sports-related
formations. In addition, sports museums, such as the NASCAR museum in Charlotte, North
Carolina, and the well-known sports venues, such as, Lambeau Field in Green Bay,
Wisconsin and so forth, come into this category.
Active Sports Tourism – The individuals, who travel primarily for the purpose of
participating in any sports events are termed as active sports tourism. These participatory
events can take on a wide variety of forms in a wide variety of sports. In the present
existence, as well as since the ancient past, individuals are developing a keen interest and
enthusiasm in the sports events. One of the aspects that is of utmost significance is,
participation in active sports tourism involves thorough preparation. In most cases, the
individuals need to acquire knowledge and information and develop their skills and
capabilities through acquisition of training from a professional trainer. Golf, kayaking, tennis,
fishing, cricket, swimming, surfing and so forth are a few examples of sports that individuals
travel to participate in.
Inbound Sports Tourism - Sports tourism is comprehensively defined by the adventure
sports and games in India. There are undeniably various destinations within the country that
contribute in sports tourism. There are different sports activities that one can get engaged in
during their vacation. There are various types of adventure sports, these include,
mountaineering, rock-climbing, scuba diving, water rafting, kayaking, canoeing, sailing,
surfing, and water scooting. Aero sports are like, ballooning, paragliding, and hand gliding.
These sports make provision of the scope for sports enthusiasts from throughout the world.
Adventure hot sports within the country take place in Goa, Andaman and Nicobar, Kerala,
Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Sikkim,
Outbound Sports Tourism – In India, individuals in most cases, plan a holiday with
their friends and relatives with the purpose to watch a sporting event. In the present existence,
there has been an increase in the number of sports enthusiasts, who spend large amounts of
money on trips, with the purpose of watching sporting events. The outbound sports tourism is
referred to the tourism, which involves the travelling of Indians to destinations, outside the
country. In the present world, there are number of Indians, who are travelling abroad to watch
a comprehensive range of sporting events. These include, cricket, soccer, tennis, badminton,
wrestling and so forth. While sports tourism within the country is primarily outbound, there
are small inroads being made on the inbound and domestic front. In accordance to the
industry experts, the segment is expected to illustrate a growth rate of 10 to 20 percent in
Characteristics of Sports Tourists
The characteristics of sports tourists have been stated as follows:
Interest and Enthusiasm - The sports tourists usually develop interest in various
aspects, which may or may not be taken into consideration by the other individuals. They are
normally health conscious and get engaged in various physical activities, such as running,
yoga, and so forth. The individuals, who are active in sports, are usually both males and
females, they are affluent individuals, they are active, not only in sports, but also other areas,
such as in the implementation of household chores as well as in the performance of job
duties. These individuals, may or may not have a college degree. In some cases, they just
graduate from high school and begin to participate in sporting events. Studies conducted on
athletes have usually highlighted that when individuals are sports enthusiasts, they usually
have to wake up early in the morning in order to get engaged in practice sessions. Individuals
need to adequately prepare themselves, particularly when they have to participate in a
sporting event (Ross, 2001).
Travelling by Themselves - Travelling in some cases is not safe, particularly for the
women. In India, there has been prevalence of crime and violence, and there have been an
increase in the number of women, belonging to various age groups, who have been subjected
to criminal and violent acts. One of the significant characteristics is, when individuals have to
participate in a sporting event, they are required to travel from one place to another and bear
all the expenses. In some cases, individuals may travel along with their friends or family
members, whereas in others, they need to travel on their own. Hence, these individuals are
usually keen and interested in organizing their travel from one place to another. They are
usually aware of the aspects that are used to overcome all kinds of vulnerability and
apprehensiveness that may arise within the course of their expedition.
Health and Well-being – In most cases, the sports tourists pay adequate attention in
taking care of their health and well-being. They are knowledgeable and aware of all the
aspects that are needed to take proper care of one’s health. For these individuals, maintenance
of good health and remaining free of various types of illnesses and health problems is of
utmost significance. The various aspects that they normally take into consideration in order to
maintain good health are, getting engaged in physical activities, consuming a healthy and
nutritious diet, remaining free from stress and tension and developing positive thinking. It is
also vital for the individuals to take adequate sleep of six to eight hours a day. It is essential
for them to put into practice various measures in order to acquire the energy and dynamism
that is necessary to participate in sports tourism.
Discipline – In order to gain success in the achievement of tasks, it is vital for the
individuals to be disciplined. In most cases, when sports enthusiasts are involved into practice
sessions, they need to possess the traits of discipline and efficiency. Training and preparation
usually takes place under the supervision of the skilled and proficient trainer. The one, who
possesses adequate knowledge and has already had a career in the sport would be an ideal
person. Normally the trainers, who are involved in providing training to the individuals are
strict in attitude. It means that they enable them to get involved in the practice sessions early
in the morning, they are made to get involved in rigorous practice exercises, made to
consume a healthy and a nutritious diet, give up certain food items and so forth. These
aspects enables one to understand that active sports tourists are required to follow a strict
routine and give up certain things.
Effective Communication – The sports enthusiasts may or may not be well educated.
They may possess a college degree, could be a high school or a middle school graduate or
just possess the basic literacy skills. The individuals via participating in sporting events and
travelling to different places, develop effective communication skills. The reason being, they
need to interact with number of people, hence, it is vital for them to be polite and ethical in
their way of communication with others. There have been cases of athletes, who possess an
introvert nature and are not willing to communicate with others. In some cases, individuals
possess certain negative viewpoints that if they would communicate with others, they would
be harmed or experience unfavourable effects. Hence, for this reason, these individuals
usually feel comfortable in communicating with the individuals, who are known to them.
Participating in sports and gaining publicity does render a significant contribution in
inculcating among them the traits of righteousness, ethics and morality.
Diligence and Resourcefulness – In some cases, the individuals develop an interest
and enthusiasm in participating in sports events from the adolescent stage. Usually
individuals develop interest in studies and employment opportunities as well as sports
activities. Individuals from the initial stage usually are introduced to various sports. In other
words, when they get enrolled in pre-school, they are trained in terms of various types of
sports, these include, tennis, badminton, running, water sports etc. When they get enrolled in
regular schools, they begin to participate in competitions and tournaments, particularly when
they develop an interest and skills in a specific sport. With involvement in sports tourism, the
individuals are able to develop the traits of diligence and resourcefulness within them. These
traits are primarily recognized in the implementation of other tasks and functions, such as
studying, working etc.
Responsible Behaviour – Within one’s daily life, the individuals are required to carry
out other tasks and functions as well. These include, management of the household, taking
care of the needs and requirements of other family members and so forth. Getting involved in
various sports or just one particular sport enables in inculcating responsible behaviour among
the individuals. The individuals are able to recognize their responsibilities towards their
family members and render a significant contribution in leading to their well-being. In some
cases, these individuals participate in sports tournaments, not just to enhance the status and
reputation of their families, but also the community as a whole. When the individuals, travel
to other countries to participate in sporting events, they are on the whole responsible for
representing the entire nation.
Adaptable Nature – Possessing an adaptable nature is one of the important
characteristics of sports tourists. They can easily adapt to the changing conditions and
different situations or circumstances. These situations and circumstances can be related to
sports events or may be some other concerns. These abilities form a sport to measure for
each, for the students on educational tours that one can structure; for the athletes, who want to
cope up with a task in which speed and endurance get combined with the power of choice and
the speed at having to make decisions, especially for the older individuals, who can be fitted
with a motor task and knowledgeable who is, at the same time, even considered to be a
healthy competition (Giorgio, & Spinelli, n.d.).
Development of Intellectual Abilities – These individuals, when render an active
participation in sports events or even when plan trips, just for the purpose of observance, do
work upon development of their intellectual abilities. These abilities usually get developed,
when the individuals surf the internet in order to search various types of sports and the
information regarding them. They usually get engaged in reading various texts and materials
relating to sports and even develop an interest for the acquisition of training. Throughout the
country, there are various training institutes that contribute in preparing the individuals.
Studies in sports events were multiple and most of them have put emphasis primarily on the
calculation of economic impacts, generated by so called mega-events (Giorgio, & Spinelli,
Marketable Development – Sports tourism does render an imperative contribution in
the marketable and financial development of the individuals. The active sports tourists work
hard, in some cases, they even have to get engaged in long hours of practice in order promote
competence and expertise. Participation in sports activities, with the development of skills
and competence does render an imperative contribution in leading to marketable development
of the individuals. As a new product in the global tourism market, sports tourism is based on
the sports resources. The sports resources are used in various kinds of sports events for the
purpose of planning, structuring, designing and combining as the pertinent products, which
can stimulate the consumption desire and demand of the individuals. Meanwhile it's a new
form, which can enable the individuals to participate in the sports and obtain the natural
experiences. There is considerable academic attention that has put emphasis of sports tourism
on marketable development (Wickramaratne, & Kumari, 2016).
Institutional and Regulatory Framework
The institutional framework of the Indian sports industry aspires on the four pillars.
(Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
Government of India created a Department for Sports and Youth Affairs in 1982. It
was later renamed as Department of Youth Affairs and Sports/Ministry of Youth Affairs and
In 1984, Sports Authority of India (SAI) was formed by the Government of India,
which was initially given the task of maintenance and management of stadiums. Later on,
SAI widened its activities with the main objective of improving the sports facilities and
performance of the Indian sports persons. SAI is managed by the general body and governing
body. The general body is chaired by the Honourable Prime Minister of India and the
governing body is chaired by the Union Minister of Human Resource Development.
In India, presently, there are 52 National Sports Federations receiving funds from the
Government for their activities. At the international level, the competitive sports
establishment is completely autonomous. Each international federation has its own governing
body and is proficient to formulate its regulations regarding the rules. Although, at one time
or the other, a particular national group may influence or control the affairs of an international
federation. The same is also applicable to the International Olympic Committee. Similarly,
national federations within India are also autonomous and are registered as societies.
In addition, there are various independent institutions under the Ministry of Youth
Affairs and Sports, such as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), working directly with
their respective international federations and organisations and run parallel to the other
departments under this ministry. IOA is affiliated to the International Olympic Committee
(IOC), and is the supreme body for 64 federations.
The Department of Sports, now the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has self-
governing bodies under its administrative control: (Sports Tourism in India, 2014).
(i) The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is the nodal agency at the national level to promote
excellence in sports.
(ii) The Lakshmi Bai University of Physical Education (LNUPE) is the national apex
institution for Physical Education.
(iii) National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) is responsible for test-planning, result
management, disciplinary and appellate functions to prevent doping in sports.
(iv) National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is responsible for dope testing and related
(v) National Playing Fields Association of India (NPFAI) has been recently established to
safeguard, promote and maintain playing fields throughout the country.
(vi) The National Institute of Sports Science and Medicine (NISSM) is proposed to be
established as self-governing body, which will be a centre of excellence for providing
integrated, quality assured services, training of experts, who will subsequently drive
innovation and research and co-operation to constructively influence sporting performance.
(vii) The National Institute of Coaching Education is being de-merged from SAI and
developed as a coaching institute of excellence for coaches at NIS Patiala.
In the present world, not only in India, but in other countries of the world as well,
individuals are developing interest and enthusiasm in sports tourism to a large extent. There
are two categories of sports tourists, the ones, who participate in the sporting events and the
other, who travel for the purpose of watching the sporting events. Factors that influence
sports tourism are economic factors, technological factors and socio-cultural factors. The
classification of sports tourism are into, hard and soft sports tourism, sports events tourism,
nostalgia sports tourism, active sports tourism, inbound sports tourism and outbound sports
tourism. Sports tourists possess various characteristics, these are, interest and enthusiasm,
travelling by themselves, health and well-being, discipline, effective communication,
diligence and resourcefulness, responsible behaviour, adaptable nature, development of
intellectual abilities and marketable development.
There have been establishment of organizations in India, with the main objective of
promoting sports tourism. In India, there are 52 National Sports Federations receiving funds
from the Government for their activities. The non-governmental institutions are SAI,
LNUPE, NADA, NDTL, NPFAI, NISSM and the National Institute of Coaching Education.
Sports tourism is regarded to be of utmost significance. The individuals, develop interest and
enthusiasm in sports for not only earning reputation for their family, community or the entire
nation, but they have been able to bought about economic growth and development. There are
number of individuals participating in sporting events, irrespective of their categories and
backgrounds. Hence, it is essential to ensure formulation of measures takes place adequately
to promote sports tourism.
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