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Sports tourism gaining momentum in India: Booking.com

 

In recent years, sports tourism has emerged as a significant and rapidly growing segment of the travel industry. Industry research suggests that the global sports tourism market is expected to reach USD 1.8 billion by 2030, driven by passionate fans who seek to combine travel with their love of sports.

Major sporting events have been attracting fans worldwide, highlighting their dedication and excitement for sports. According to Booking.com’s Travel Trends data for 2024, 45% of global travelers aim to travel for sports and attend events such as the World Cup, Paris Olympics, and Formula 1. This trend is particularly strong in India, where nearly three-quarters (73%) of travelers plan to attend international sporting events in 2024. Booking.com’s flight data also ranks India among the top five Asian booker countries for the upcoming Paris Olympics 2024.

Domestic Sports Fandom

Sports enthusiasm extends beyond international events, with 76% of Indians expressing a willingness to travel for local sports competitions and events within their home city or state, while 70% show interest in national events such as the Indian Premier League, Pro Kabaddi, and Indian Super League.

Sports as a Travel Factor

Booking.com’s Travel Trends data for 2024 also reveals that 23% of Indian travelers factor in sporting events when selecting travel destinations. The key drivers motivating Indians to travel for sports include:

Game Excitement: 71% of Indians would travel to see their favorite player, team, or sport in person.
Connecting with Friends and Family: 67% view sporting events as an opportunity to reunite with friends or family living elsewhere.
Meeting New Fans: 65% of Indians travel to sporting events to connect with other fans in a new destination.
Reason for a Holiday: 56% of Indians travel for sporting events to turn the occasion into a trip.
Santosh Kumar, Country Manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia at Booking.com, stated, “Sports tourism allows travelers to combine the joy of exploring new destinations while enjoying their favorite teams or players in action, thereby boosting local economies and tourism. Factors such as easier visa access, improved connectivity, and rising disposable incomes are contributing to this trend. Booking.com remains dedicated to enhancing sports enthusiasts’ travel experiences by offering various travel components such as rental cars, flights, attractions, and unique accommodations for a comprehensive, integrated itinerary.”

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