With less than two months to go before FIFA announces which nation will host the 2018 Football World Cup, new research, published today, by Pangaea Network has shown that the travel industry believes that hosting a global football tournament has more impact on a nation than any other sporting event. Football was almost four times more popular than the next sport, motor racing, followed by athletics in third place.
Of those asked, 22% believe that England will win the bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup, with Russia (polling 14%) second most likely and Portugal and Spain (12%) in third place.
With the Commonwealth Games, Football World Cup, Winter Olympics and Ryder Cup being the high points of 2010’s sporting calendar and the Rugby World Cup and Olympics on the horizon, the subject of leveraging global sporting events is very much in the mind of governments and tourism professionals around the world.
The survey has provided insightful data about the benefits and effects of sporting events on nations. An overwhelming 88% of respondents believe that a sporting event can change the perception of a country. Other aspects, such as employment prospects are positive (25%) and tourism (20%). Because of this, hosting an event is not thought to be a waste of money but more about the long-term investment for the future of the country, tourism and its contribution to the economy.
Asked if a country had hosted a sporting event well or poorly, most countries were placed on both lists, with the exception of Australia, China, South Africa and Switzerland, which were only mentioned positively.
The perception of Spain (which hosted the Barcelona Olympics in 1992), South Africa and New Zealand have all changed for the better as a result of hosting major events whilst India’s recent staging of the 2010 Commonwealth Games was considered to have had a detrimental effect on the country’s standing.
Asked whether other regions in addition to the host city, can benefit, 76% believed that they can, particularly if the host nation is a long haul holiday destination. However 65% believed that up to a quarter of travellers would avoid a host nation during the actual event.
Within the travel sector hotels and airlines are considered to benefit the most from a global sporting event.
Sports brands are driving the marketing
Respondents commented that campaigns by sports brands and sponsors were the most visible and considered highly memorable. Of host nations they sited South Africa, China and Australia as having the most innovative marketing around their events.
Fans book ahead
Sporting events consistently buck the current late booking trend with 58% of travellers booking tickets to an event more than seven months in advance. Travellers were booking more than seven months ahead for accommodation (46%) and travel arrangements (53%). In addition 63% of respondents believed that those attending a sporting event did so in addition to their main holiday.
Overcharging is a major concern
Whilst 61% of those asked believe people will pay a premium to travel to a sporting event, a huge 92% think that charges made by their own industry during events are too high.
Jo Johnson Chairman of Pangaea Network commented: “This research reveals that perception is everything. It demonstrates that tourism has to be an integral part of the hosting strategy and, if successful, can bring significant long-term benefits to a nation. Hosting nations have a window of opportunity when the world’s spotlight is on them, rather than their competitors – there can’t be a better tourism marketing opportunity than that.”
The research results will be discussed at a Pangaea Network sponsored panel session during the Global Sports Congress in London on 1 November 2010.
Pangaea Network now offers its clients travel marketing solutions in over 20 international markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Latin America, Portugal, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and the USA.
Upon request Pangaea Network will be happy to provide you with the full research findings. Please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Around 100 international participants from Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Maldives, Netherlands, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom completed the survey. A broad range of sectors is represented from hotel operators, tour operators, travel agents and transport companies. Their business size varies from smaller to larger companies: 63% of the respondent’s businesses employ less than 30 staff and 22% more than 100 staff members. The latter largely made up of airline, hotel and tour operator companies.