Sports Tourism has been identified as the best potential high yield niche segment to boost occupancy in the shoulder season in Bermuda, it was announced at a press conference yesterday.
A statement from the Ministry of Tourism said: “Sports Tourism is one of the ‘core’ tourism segments identified in the National Tourism Plan to 2022. A new Sports Tourism Strategy just completed for the Bermuda Department of Tourism and highlights the long-term potential of this sector stating that it has the potential to be the highest sustainable earning niche within the Leisure Tourism market.
“The study recommends continuing to focus on the rich natural sports tourism assets available in Bermuda such as Golf, Sailing, Beach Sports and Fishing in addition to growing the existing sports events into successful ‘sporting festivals’ like the World Rugby Classic in sports such as Hockey, Lacrosse, Beach Sports, Cricket, Soccer etc.
“It also identified the new emerging explosive trends in the Active Lifestyle Sports such as Adventure and Endurance racing that is ideally suited for Bermuda as ‘new’ events that need to be fostered and developed.
“Some interesting statistics support this trend:
• More than 48 million people now run in the USA, up 81% since 2000.
• More than 48 million people now participate in Road Cycling, up 31% since 2000
• More than 1.9 million people now participate in Triathlons up 304 % since 2000.
• In 2011 the number of female road race finishers was 7.68 million growing more than 71% since 2005.
“Sports Tourism in Bermuda increases individual visitor spending and visitor’s ‘complete satisfaction’ ratings significantly and positions Bermuda positively as an ‘active lifestyle’ destination matching with the countries new tourism slogan ‘so much more’.
“The budget for Sports Tourism will be increased to drive the goal of doubling the visitor attendance to existing events and growing new events to add an additional 14 weeks of Sports Festivals events over the next three to five years.”
Chairman of the Tourism Board Maxwell Burgess commented: ‘We want Sports Events and Festivals to fill our hotels primarily in the winter and shoulder seasons, and provide our visitors with an active positive experience of Bermuda so they will return and also talk about Bermuda when they go back home. This is a sustainable niche that along with Business Tourism will be the most profitable for Bermuda over the next 10 years’.
Randolph Horton, who sits on the Tourism Board and heads up the Sports Sub Committee, commented: ‘The Sports Tourism unit will be run like a business. We will set our goals for increasing bed nights and economic & media impact and then go about achieving them. As in sports we expect to be judged on results. The Board have committed to giving us the resources we need to get the job done and we will be starting immediately using the new Sports Tourism Strategy as our guideline’