urban planning & infrastructures
The development of ‘Sports-City’ zones and their potential values as tourism resources
In the past decade, various cities around the world have developed sports-themed areas fully dedicated to sports – “Sports-City” zones. While the concept of such areas may differ from one city to another, they all have a common goal, explains Andrew Smith: to increase tourism around sport. The author looked at four specific cases – Manchester (United Kingdom), Cardiff (United Kingdom), Dubai (United Arab Emirates) and Doha (Qatar) – with the aim to assess tourism potential of Sports-City zones. Here are his findings.
According to Andrew Smith, what makes the success of a Sports-City zone on a touristic standpoint is the ability of the area to attract tourists for whom sport is not the primary motivation to visit a city. He identifies three subsidiary factors which contribute to the success – or not – of Sports-City zones:
1. The attractiveness of the Sports-City zone itself:
The presence of social infrastructure – including the availability of a diverse range of sport and non-sport attractions – and the capacity to develop a genuine sporting place is of critical importance to ensure a touristic success.
2. Bundling the Sports-City zone with other parts of the urban tourismscape:
It is important that cities make the effort to combine both sport and non-sport-related attractions.
3. Attractiveness of the city itself:
The success of the Sport-City zone is tied with the success of the city itself as a touristic destination.
Smith concludes by stating that Sports-City zones could become valuable tourism assets if they are able to provide a more comprehensive set of themed resources. To achieve this, there needs to be an attempt to diversify the users of these areas so that they are not used solely by elite athletes or spectators. By supplementing stadia and other venues with more participatory sports facilities, museums, halls of fame, exhibitions and other sports attractions, these zones may be able to attract visitors even when events are not taking place.
If your city is looking to develop a Sports-City zone or to revitalize one, these are definitely great ideas to keep in mind!