Loughborough University
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Evidencing the sports–tourism interrelationship: a case study approach

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posted on 2010-11-24, 14:08 authored by Martin R. Reeves
Sport and tourism have received considerable attention in the research literature, but until recently as separate spheres of activity. However, an international review of sports-tourism literature conducted by Jackson and Glyptis (1992) revealed much evidence of a significant interrelationship, and identified the need for more empirical work. This research contributes to the more detailed and systematic quantification of the significance of sport as a tourism generator, which cannot be effectively established from existing tourism statistics, and towards the more effective analysis of the volume of sports-related tourism, and associated behaviour. The research provides a number of detailed primary case studies of what are now increasingly typical, yet under-researched, styles of sports-related tourism behaviour. The first study focuses on research with Butlins Holiday Worlds and provides evidence of sports-related tourism behaviour in a traditional holiday setting. Activity holidays represent another growing area of sports-related tourism. Twr-Y-Felin is one of the largest outdoor activity holiday organisations in Wales, in terms of volume and diversity of courses offered. This second case study reviews the holiday motivations, activity styles, holiday patterns etc. of a large sample of sports activity holiday takers. Analysis of the 1994 World Athletics Cup, the third case study, provides significant data on sports spectator behaviour, including the significance of the event in generating tourist trips, associated activity whilst travelling for sports spectating, distances travelled, length of stay, spending patterns etc. The final case study focuses on the most dedicated and committed of sports tourists; those representing their Country in international sport. A detailed case study of international athletes examines the generation of tourism through elite level sports participation, competition and training. The thesis proposes that sports-related tourism behaviour can be conceived as a continuum from, at one extreme, incidental and sporadic sports activity whilst on holiday, to tourism behaviour driven exclusively by the needs of, and interest in particular sports activities. This research has synthesised the findings from the four case studies and draws overall conclusions regarding sports tourism behaviour. In attempting to more clearly conceptualise this field and broaden understanding, this work highlights the various behavioural types and also identifies where other research contributions can be made.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Loughborough University

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© Martin R. Reeves

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Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en


Guy Jackson

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  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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    Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences Theses


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