UK Tourism: What’s Sport Got To Do With It?
Are you excited about the World Cup? We certainly are. Nothing seems to bring people together like sport, and of course, we’re rooting for England.
All eyes are on Brazil right now, and we can’t help but think of the effect the tournament will have on their tourism industry. The question is even more pertinent when we consider the fact that we’re hosting our own world cup (the Rugby one) next year here in the UK.
Ever since the Olympics in 2012, we’ve seen tourism figures for visitors to the UK go from strength to strength. We were lucky to avoid the so-called post-Olympic ‘curse’ that sparks a lull in tourism.
The spotlight was put on London, and London delivered. Its status (and by proxy, the whole country’s status) as a must-visit destination doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. What role does sport play in this?
Some would argue that the recent success of UK tourism is not so much to do with the golden aftermath of the Olympics, and more attributable to the fact that there were a series of internationally high-profile events in quick succession: the royal wedding, the Golden Jubilee, the royal birth.
There is probably an element of truth to this – the fact that the royals are a significant draw for tourists can’t be underestimated. But it would be obtuse to deny the role sporting attractions have to play.
We are a sporting nation, famous not only for ubiquitous football, but for cricket, tennis, rugby…the list goes on. The homes of these sports, such as Lords cricket ground or Twickenham stadium, draw plenty of visitors to their museums and stadium tours.
Then there’s the fact that we are home to some of the most high profile football clubs in the world. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are just a
few examples of clubs with an international brand and fans across the globe.
For these fans, the chance to come to the UK and experience the home grounds of their favourite clubs first hand is more than enough reason to pick the UK as a holiday destination.
A wealth of organisations benefit from the slew of sports tourists visiting the UK. Sports tour operators arrange visits to stadium tours and games, and sports bars and restaurants such as the recently opened Café Football in Westfield Stratford City also capitalise on the trend.
So what will the future hold for tourism in 2015? Inevitably there’ll be plenty of rugby enthusiasts descending on the capital to enjoy the games and the atmosphere. And if current trends are anything to go by, the tournament will only enhance the UK’s reputation as a globally significant sports tourism destination.