Sports tourism involves traveling to specific locations to watch sporting events or to participate in sports. Many travel firms market all inclusive travel deals which include tickets to sporting events, accommodation and meals for sports fans. Some people prefer to make their own travel arrangements and buy transportation and event tickets without the assistance of travel agents.
Fans of major sports can buy travel packages to major events such as the Olympics or the soccer world cup. These often last for weeks or months; sports tourism packages usually include tickets to several different games or matches that occur during the course of the tournament. During lengthy trips, some fans have the option of adding excursions into the travel package so that they can visit local tourist sites between sporting events. Travel firms often sell various types of packages; some are aimed at budget conscious travelers, while other deals are designed to suit the needs of business executives. Other clients may want to stay in luxury accommodations during the trip.
Many sporting events last for no more than a few hours and informal sports tourism involves individuals traveling long distances to watch a single matchup before returning home. Some of these independent travelers do not visit tourist sites or explore the area. In some instances, groups of sports fans charter coaches or buses so that they can discuss the sport on the way to the event and talk about the outcome on the way home. Fans of some sports have been known to riot after sporting events and police in such cities often escort people on sports tourism trips into and out of the sports arena.
Aside from watching sports events, many tourists participate in sports such as snorkeling, rock climbing and other types of outdoor pursuits. In some instances, these individuals have to undergo some training before they can participate in certain activities such as climbing steep mountainsides of diving at certain depths. Some travel operators cater to both serious sports participants and recreational travelers who want to experience outdoor pursuits but who also want to tour historic sites and participate in non-sports related activities.
Sports tourism can involve travel to sporting locations even when no events are scheduled to take place. Many sports stadiums have museums and schedule tours that enable sports fans to get a behind the scenes view of their favorite sports teams. Some tennis and golf clubs allow visitors to use the same facilities that are normally used by professionals partaking in major events.