Sports tourism in simple terms means to travel for the sake of either watching or participating in a sports event, which also includes sightseeing of that region. It refers to a specific travel outside the usual environment for either passive or active involvement in competitive sport.

Overview of Sports Tourism

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Indian fans are showing great interest in sports and are traveling to far off places to watch their favorite athletes perform.

The concept of people traveling to participate and watch sports dates back to the ancient Olympic Games and the practice of encouraging tourism through sport has existed for over a century.

However, sport and tourism professionals alike are realizing the significant potential of sports tourism and are aggressively pursuing this market requirement.

India has always been big in the tourism industry because of its extreme diversity. However, India’s sports tourism is also carving a niche for itself in the Indian tourism industry, attracting many adventurers to grab flights to India.

Sports tourism in India is an absolute must for all the thrill and adventure seekers. The Historical and geographical diversities of India open up great avenues for adventure sports and activities.

India is a huge country with an extremely varied topography. Be it skiing on the great Himalayan ranges, bicycling on the wobbly Indian roads or rafting on gushing rivers.

India holidays offer a range of opportunities to its visitors to test out their sporting skills! Not surprisingly, cheap flights to India are increasingly becoming more popular among sports freaks!

Sports Tourism in India

While cricket is the main attraction for tourists from other countries, India falls far behind in other sports and their tourism.

Thailand has developed into a major golf tourism destination in a span of 20 years. India needs to bring in tournaments and major players because the amount of money a golf lover spends on a holiday is much more than other sports.

A team of 20 American millionaires and golfers recently flew into Kolkata on a private jet to participate in the iconic Royal Calcutta Golf Club. So we can see that there’s demand for such events, and if we can build golfing infrastructure in a place like Goa, which is on the international tourist map, we can generate income that runs into hundreds of millions.

Aspects of Sports Tourism

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Not just cricket, but Indian sports fans are making it a point to watch traditional sports live as well.

Sports are an investment in the tourism industry, they Create economic growth through filled hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments. They attract high-yield visitors, especially repeaters.

They Create exposure and enhances a positive image for your community. A new product is launched with a new tourism destination. It Builds community relationships and strengthens corporate support. An opportunity is created for the youth and a source of entertainment is launched.

Favorable image for the destination is being generated with the development of new infrastructure. Media is being used to extend the normal communications reach.

Growth in Recent Years

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More and more foreign nationals are coming to India during major sports events – Also Indian are traveling far more than earlier to watch Indian teams and athletes perform abroad.

A holiday with friends or family to witness a mega sporting event is no longer a foreign concept for Indian travelers. Today, sporting enthusiasts in India are willing to spend to set across the world to experience the thrill and excitement of watching their favorite game live.

Big mainstream tour operators who set up a separate division to tap the potential of Sports Tourism. An alien concept in India about a decade ago, Sports Tourism, has evolved rapidly over the past five years. A large number of agents and tour operators are introducing interesting packages surrounding major sporting events.

Sports tourism is witnessing 10-12 percent growth as Indians are showing more enthusiasm for visiting a country to attend the sports event, according to industry experts.

Globally sports tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry. According to estimates, global sports tourism was worth USD 7 billion in 2017. While it is a mature industry overseas, in India it is in infancy

The first love for Indians is cricket and they travel to watch the game, whether in India or overseas. There has also been a shift in the interest for other sporting events like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics. 

Future of Sports Tourism

Scope and future of sports tourism are not going to end in India because of its diverse topography and climatic condition. You can enjoy on land and water, underwater and in the air whatsoever form of adventure sports in India. Future of sports tourism and adventure sports in India is very bright.

Low-cost regional airlines (and more affordable long-haul flights) are also in demand for sporting events as flights become more convenient and more affordable.

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Overall, the sports tourism market is expected to grow annually at around 6% for the next five years.

Although Sports Tourism in India is growing rapidly, where a large number of entrepreneurs are willing to invest in it. In order to support them, the government needs to arrange an overall cleaning of infrastructure management, security issues, and marketing strategies.

The travel operators themselves feel the need to introduce more value-added services so as to attract international tourists to India.

Owing to New Delhi’s developed infrastructure and transportation, the Indian government has always given it a top priority while hosting sporting events like the two Asian Games (1951 and 1982) and Commonwealth Games 2010.

However, sport event organizers and state tourism boards in India should be ready to invest in other metro cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. With booming interest among Indian sports enthusiasts to explore their interests in different sports fields, and various NTO’s across the world encouraging tie-ups with Indian tour operators, there is sufficient fodder for India to emerge as a Sports Tourism destination and boost overall tourism in the country. It only needs to be utilized efficiently in order to gain significant benefits.

KreedOn Opines

Sports tourism has a big scope of booming in India but we need to focus on opening sports tourism spots in the right place where we can attract a lot of foreign nationals and then India’s sports tourism will earn well. Maintaining and polishing the issues related to sports tourism can take some time but when it is done, it will be a big hit for the sports industry.

Amrita is a content writer/editor and social media manager at KreedOn. Amrita looks after the content creation and marketing of the website. Her love for sports made her join this organization where her intention is to help every athlete get the recognition they deserve through her profession. Amrita started writing when only sketching cartoons at the back of her notebook seemed a little too vague for a school pass out.

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