The first attempts towards the development of sports tourism were made in the United States and Canada, while the first undergraduate program was presented by the University of Luton in the UK. Communities across British Columbia are particularly aware of the value of interacting with tourism and sports industries, with sport conferences and multi sports events developing and growing successfully.
Among countries that boast developed sports tourism is Ireland, regarded as a wonderful host for any sporting event. Visitors are offered a wealth of charming beauty, unrivalled hospitality, modern infrastructure, an enthusiastic young population interested in sport, and a thriving economy, each of these factors contributing essentially to the development of profitable sports tourism.
From cozy local pubs to challenging championship golf courses, from the tranquility of spas to exciting racecourses, Ireland offers a stunning array of opportunities to each of its visitors. The country is home to luxurious hotels, award-winning cuisine, ancient beauty spots, distinctive culture and wonderful water sports among others.
Because of its superb geographical position, Ireland hosts a variety of international sports events, welcoming spectators from Europe, America and Asia. Ireland sport tourism is undergoing a new phase in its development, with the expenditure by visitors to the country of nearly $5.8 billion and close to 140,000 in employment as of 2004. The last decade has witnessed development of the tourism industry in importance to Irish economy, while this industry is still characterized by dominance of small to medium sized enterprises as major rivals in the international tourism marketplace.
Introduced by the National Government in 2000, the International Sports Tourism Initiative aims at sponsoring sports events that would contribute to the growing number of consumers in holiday purchase markets through communicating activity holiday message through the global media coverage international events deliver. The Initiative is administered by the National Tourism Development Authority, which works in close collaboration with the organizers of sponsored events to benefit from publicity and media.
The Authority is also responsible for promoting first-class sports facilities in Ireland, as well as co-operating actively with local, national and international sports bodies and organizations. The International Sports Tourism Initiative isn't a grant scheme, but a framework for commercial relationship, with the support being provided to events delivering significant tourism benefits to the country.
This support is given only for events that take place within the timeframe of the initiative of 2000-2007, and toward major international events occurring beyond 2007. Thus, major sporting events on the calendar include Failte Ireland Irish Masters Snooker 2005, British Superbike Championship 2005, Ireland Windsurfing Triple Crown 2005, Nissan Irish Open 2005, AIB Irish Open 2005, Smurfit European Open 2005, Samsung Super League of Ireland 2005 and British Formula 3 and GT Championship 2005 among others.