Sports tourism is one of the most rapid growing sectors of the global travel and tourism industry, and it pours in stunning revenue of over $600 billion annually. It inspires a trip that is connected with either active participation in a sporting event or as a spectator watching sport with chair gripping excitement and cheering up a favorite team or an athlete to a mind boggling victory.

It is certainly a very high voltage visual entertainment when you are in the spectator’s seat. The excitement, challenge and the fun take a massive scale when you are very much into the sports as a participant. Here, the demand of your physical ability and skill is overwhelming, goading you to emerge a winner with flying colors.

Sports tourism has been put into two broad categories like Hard Sport tourism and Soft Sport tourism. Hard sport tourism is linked with the huge volume of spectators that gather to watch a legendary sporting event of international fame like the Olympics, FIFA World cup soccer, Wimbledon Tennis, Formula 1 Grand Prix or European Cup soccer. This has a tremendous viewership appeal.

The sports enthusiasts travel across the continents with drums, bugles, colored costumes, weird masks and hairdos to cheer their sporting heroes and favorite teams. The passion turns into an explosive frenzy. Victories trigger chaotic mirth while defeats throw the supporters into abyss of gloom. It is literally an earth shaking event that keeps the entire world focused with keen anticipation around the world class sporting battles.

In Soft Sports Tourism, the sports buffs travel far and wide to take part in sporting events like golfing, hiking, skiing, canoeing and boating regattas to draw in excitement and kick, and to spend their leisure times on health friendly activities.

However, both Hard and Soft sporting events attract millions of fans bubbling with energy and excitement and the cities hosting these events are literally flooded with inflowing money. It is a great foreign exchange earner, but the initial investment in building a world class infrastructure to answer to the needs of this mammoth crowd would be substantial.

Some of the sports tourism experts have categorized it from altogether a different angle that is Celebrity or Nostalgia Sports tourism and Active Sports tourism. The former type of tourism sees a visit by sports lovers to sports hall of fame with a target of spending some quality time with famous sports personalities and celebrity athletes. Here, the sports tourist may spend long hours with the athlete or the player whom he always admired. It is a wonderful experience and this type of nostalgic tourism is quite popular. In Active Sports tourism, individuals or teams travel to sporting arenas to take part in an individual or team game. The trip may be government sponsored or it may well be the result of an individual effort.

Sports tourism builds up a platform that fosters a great international meet at every interface. The athletes confront rivals from other countries vying for fame and reward. Teams face challenges from opponents, and they need to give a hard fight to prove themselves and stand up on the victory podium showered with fame and glory. The spectator tourists, supporters and diehard fans intermingle in a cosmopolitan crowd having an international population mix. Despite the keen competitive spirit and rivalry pervading in the background, a feeling of fraternity and well wishes hang in the air in the arenas of competitive sports, making sports tourism an amazing piece of experience.

Sports tourism exposes the tourist to the standard of achievement a country has reached so far as development of physical ability, skill and health are concerned. It is in fact a measure of  all round progress of a country as health and physical prowess of a nation is an important indicator of its development.

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