Sport and tourism are deeply connected and Italians well know that. This link was recently highlighted by BIT – the most important fair in the field – which has set up the area Destination Sport for the second year in a row. Furthermore, organisers wanted to match the event with Milan Marathon in order to host the Village that will be the hub for all the participants.
BIT has also published a study that gives an idea how fast sports tourism is expanding. In Italy, this sector generates between 12 and 15 millions of international arrivals per year, with a turnover of 800 billion Euros. Furthermore, the National Observatory for Tourism has put in evidence that 15.5% of Italian tourists and 18, 6% foreign ones choose sport holidays.
Running is one of the sports able to mobilize a great number of people internationally. If we think about the New York marathon, the number of sport tourists is enormous and it represents a great deal for the accommodation providers, such as Airbnb.
Italians have well understood the importance of sport tourism and some agencies are becoming very sport-oriented in the packages they offer. For instance, Antonio Baldisserotto – owner of Terramia travel agency – in Ferrara had 7 marathons to offer. The deals are very heterogeneous and they range from the New York marathon, half marathons in islands, ski marathons in Italy and also the Chinese marathon on the Great Wall.
Taking into consideration the fact that Mr Baldisserotto brings to New York 1900 people per year, this is a very fruitful business indeed. And it is a growing business to be better tailored on the exigencies of the guests. On this subject, more and more hotels are offering “running rooms” for the day to sport tourists willing to simply take a shower.
Italians are becoming very interested in sport tourism, offering several fitness festivals in different locations and sponsoring the greatest sport venue, strongly connected to UNESCO world heritage: the amazing beaches.