People often travel to explore the unknown and to experience new cultures. But as more people get involved in sports—not play, but to cheer for their teams—several business opportunities have come to light.
With the ongoing FIFA World Cup, fans from all over the world planned their trips to support their country. Though most of the fans immediately backed out of some plans because their respective teams fell out of the league, it created an opportunity for budget travelers as airlines and hotels try to fill the reserved seats and rooms at lower prices. This is not actually a bad thing because as long as there are tourists, the hospitality and airline industries will still do great.
Sports tourism is not that new. As early as the 19th century, the connection between sports and travel has already been observed. Sports has been a unifying force for every country, whether they are competing locally or abroad. And every year, more and more sports events are happening across the globe— the Olympic Games, FIFA, FIBA, NBA, Superbowl, boxing events, and so on.
Some people have a preference when traveling. Some people like the beach more than the mountains. Some people like the business of major cities. And some people want to immerse in the communities that they are interested in. This preferential traveling is also evident in sports tourism. Some people prefer one sports event over the other. This means that there is always a market for each sport.
According to reports, sports tourism industry in 2017 generated $7 billion globally. Now we get why some countries fight in order to host certain sports events. This industry can be categorized into two: hard and soft. In hard sports tourism, people travel to participate in sporting events, usually as fans. In soft sports tourism, tourists actually participate in recreational sports like white water rafting, hiking, or skiing.