Sports tourism is witnessing 10-12 per cent growth as Indians are showing more enthusiasm for visiting a country to attend sports events, according to industry experts. “Globally, sports tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry. According to estimates, global sports tourism was worth $7 billion in 2017. While it is a mature industry overseas, in India it is in infancy (stage),” says Karan Anand, Head of Relationships, Cox and Kings. The first love for Indians is cricket and they travel to watch the game, whether in India or overseas, he added. “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 per cent growth in arrivals to these destinations, when a major sporting event takes place,” he said.
Indians travel to Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and England to watch cricket matches. However, over the last 10 years, there has been growing interest to watch the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup, and Grand Prix Formula One motor events. The Olympics or Soccer World Cup are highlights for Indians and they love the atmosphere associated with the games, Anand said, adding that there are people who travel to specific sporting events during the Olympics or a few of them only travel for the opening ceremony. He said this segment is primarily dominated by men who come together to watch the sporting event.