Olympics needs to reach more, says TUI

Olympics needs to reach more, says TUI

Ticket prices at mega-events such as the Olympics need to be addressed so more can attend, according to TUI. Speaking at the sports tourism session at WTM today, Marc Bennett, managing director at Thomson Sport Europe described the sports tourism industry as being in a ‘fragile eco-system’. “There is a very fine balance that needs to be addressed so that events are reachable to a broader spectrum than it currently is,” he explained. Meanwhile former athlete David Moorcroft, who chaired the debate, suggested that non-committal fans with a smaller budget could prove to be an important market. “In my belief there has been an increase in people who want the Olympic experience cheaply and go for the atmosphere,” he said. “These people do not always go for sport, so there is potential there and they may be a better market as they’re more likely to stay in hostels and make more use public transport.” Tom Jenkins, executive director at ETOA agreed with Moorcroft but said these bookings would be last minute. “Research in Sydney showed that the decision lead time for Australians [during the Sydney Olympic games] and they changed their minds in the last one to two months,” said Jenkins. Jenkins, continuing ETOA’s previous comment on the Olympics, maintained the view that hosting the games was ‘toxic’ for British tourism. “When Sydney held the Olympics, Australia had fewer arrivals every year after 2000 until the Athens games kicked in in 2004,” he said. Jenkins further revealed that two thirds of its operators believe the UK will see a slump in occupancy and warned that sports tourism fans had a ‘tight, narrow focus’ which would not spread around London or the rest of the UK. However, Roshene Sing, chief marketing officer for South Africa Tourism, said that hosting the World Cup had not only increased visitors, but increased awareness of the country. “Month on month, we have seen a 12.8% increase on arrivals from August,” she explained. “Brand positivity has increased too, which allows us to attract more visitors.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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