Sport tourism from the GCC is rapidly being acknowledged as fast growing sector in the $4.5 trillion global travel and tourism industry
Source: Business in Qatar and Beyond (BQ)
The 21st century is witnessing a gradual replacement of sun and sea vacations by sport-related vacation and a new generation of tourists is emerging that nurtures increasing interest in sport events.
The travel market in the GCC, and particularly the upper end of the market sees travel as integral part of their lifestyle. An interest in travel coupled with passion for sports creates a strong motivation to travel and experience sporting events.
With the advent of budget airways, direct flights, and healthy competition in the travel and hospitality sectors, travelling to sporting events has become increasingly common. “The GCC has strong interest in experiencing travel to the most exclusive sporting events around the globe with a particular interest in World Cup and other top football events as well as in Grand Slam Tennis, F1 Racing and some North American golf and horse racing events. We recognize that the GCC is a market that has significant interest in travel to certain key global sporting events,” explained RoadTrips business development director Dustin Kaylor.
The trend to travel for sports has even transcended major sporting events according to some participants at the MALT Congress, who opined that some travellers seek out individual extreme sport experiences. “We are seeing lots of demand for special interest with food, culture and sport being key requirements: it could be a helicopter flight, a speedboat down the Thames or a hot air balloon flight over the English countryside,” explained Mr. Rob Russel, Owner, AC Tours London
Specialists and professionals in the travel and hospital industry agree that this segment of travellers is particularly resistant to economic conditions. Kaylor added: “People will be somewhat more selective in choosing events and destinations, but their desire to witness top global sporting events is strong and they will travel.”