Indians are combining their love for travelling and sports by planning their holidays around popular sports events, and boosting sports tourism from India as they do so.
Sports events have always been an attraction for Indians but lately they have been materialising their passion.
Reports suggest that Indians are now travelling more, both within and outside the country, to attend their choice of sports event, thus having accelerated the sports tourism industry by 10-12 pc.
“Globally sports tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry. According to estimates, global sports tourism was worth USD 7 billion (EUR 5.93 billion) in 2017. While it is a mature industry overseas, in India it is in infancy (stage),” Cox and Kings Head, relationships, Karan Anand told the Indian press.
“There has also been a shift in the interest for other sporting events like the Soccer World Cup or the Olympics. We see 10-12 pc growth in arrivals to these destinations, when a major sporting event takes place,” he added.
While Indians have been travelling to Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and England to watch cricket matches, over the last 10 years there has also been an increase in crowd that goes to the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup and Grand Prix Formula One.
For events like the Olympics people choose a specific sport event to go to or just travel for the opening ceremony, Anand told the press. People enjoy the atmosphere there and also at other events like the Soccer World Cup, which also attracts a lot of Indians, particularly men.
On the other hand, big companies are sending their top performers on incentive trips to the events, while also using the opportunity for team building exercises.
The first rise in sports travelling was seen in 2008 with the Indian Premier League, followed by the 2011 ICC World Cup. People also planned their holidays and honeymoon around these games, it has been reported.
“We noticed another interesting trend during the 2015, ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Cricket fans explored these two destinations as among the most preferred honeymoon or holiday destination,” Manmeet Ahluwalia, head of marketing at Expedia India, was quoted in a report.
“Many people use these trips as an excuse for a longer holiday, combining their sporting passions with a general love for travel. On the other side, many in the tourism industry have also begun to realise the value of wooing these tourists – many of them fall into the high-spending category, stay longer than other tourist categories, are high-calibre and often stimulate other tourism,” said Abhijit Mishra, director, KAYAK, India and Middle East.