With a bumper calendar of mega sporting events, sport tourism is set to play a catalytic role in sparking the recovery of global tourism in 2010.
Travel experts predict that the travel industry’s fastest growing sector will post record profits and contribute an astonishing 14% of overall travel and tourism receipts in the year ahead.
July’s World Sport Destination Expo will play a pivotal role, offering the world’s leading sporting destinations a structured opportunity to sign future business and unlock new markets at the first exhibition dedicated to this booming sector.
With 2010 billed “the year of sports tourism”, analysts predict that Canada, South Africa, India, China and Spain are amongst those destinations set for a year of healthy growth.
February will see the Olympic Games return to Canada for the third time as Vancouver plays host to XXI Winter Olympic Games.
Government travel and tourism boards view the Games as a key event to generate interest in Canada, and revitalise its tourism-related industries.
South Africa expects more than 450,000 foreign arrivals for the month long 2010 FIFA World Cup which kick off in Joburg on June 11th.
According to Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the combined success of 2009’s IPL, the British & Irish Lions tour and the Confederations Cup, laid the foundations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup to return South Africa to its pre-recession tourism high.
India’s tourism industry is counting on sports tourism to boost inbound visit numbers, which fell 6.3 per cent during 2009. Ashish Kishore, head of hotel and retail business Yatra.com expects October’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi to spark an upsurge in international visitors as well as boost traveller confidence. “If India gives a positive image to the world at that time, then it will be a golden period for Indian tourism,” he said.
The 2010 Asian Games being held in Guangzhou, China 12-27 November completes 2010’s quartet of mega event. Forecasters predict that the 16th Asian Games will break all visitor records as Guangzhou will stage the biggest event in the Asian Games 59-year history.
World Sport Destination Expo – the first ever exhibition dedicated to the $600 billion a year sport tourism industry – will take place in Johannesburg in the final week of the FIFA World Cup.
www.worldsportdestinationexpo.com, 5-9 July 2010, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg