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Expedia reveals the rise of sports tourism

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With the rugby currently underway in England and less than a year until the summer games in Brazil, fans around the world are gearing up for some of the biggest and best international events on the sporting calendar.

New research released today- by shows that, for the nation’s most enthusiastic sports supporters, simply watching a live match from the comfort of their own sofa or the local pub no longer cuts it. The study shows that more than one in four Kiwis (28%) are planning to travel overseas to the host cities of major international sporting events in the next 12 to 24 months.

Of the top sporting events coming up in 2015 and 2016, it will come as no surprise that it is the major rugby tournament of the year that is tempting more Kiwis to travel than any other sporting event on the calendar. In the run up to this tournament, 38% of those who said they would travel to support their team overseas were planning to head to the Northern Hemisphere to indulge their love of the game, compared to just 12% planning to travel to Rio in 2016. Other sporting events on the Kiwi travel agenda include the Monaco Grand Prix, Wimbledon and The Australian Open. Travel Expert Kelly Cull comments: "There are some really exciting sporting events coming up over the next year, both locally and internationally, and for a nation that is so devoted to its sport, there’s nothing quite like watching the action live! A major sporting event is a great excuse to make the most of an overseas holiday and explore new destinations."

While sports tourism is rife among all Kiwi fans, the research reveals Aucklanders have the largest appetite for sport. More than a third (36%) from this region are likely to travel for an international game, compared to less than a third of Cantabrians (32%) and one in five Wellingtonians (21%). And, interestingly, it’s not just Kiwi blokes heading away for sporting matches, with the research revealing only a 10% gap between the sexes, as 23% of women and 33% of men are keen to travel.

As for the best sporting travel companion, fifty three percent of Kiwis are most likely to travel with their husband, wife or partner, above travelling with their friends (18%), family (18%) or solo (8%). Men are little more likely than women to travel with their mates (29% vs. 23% of women), while women would rather holiday with their family (32% vs. 19% of men).

When it comes to cost, Cull says: "There’s no escaping the fact that travelling to international cities at the time of big sporting events can be expensive. My top tip is to book now, as availability for major sporting events is often limited and prices are likely to rise as the big event draws near. Booking early and bundling your flight and hotel into a package can greatly help with savings."

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