The value of sport to us

By | Category: Travel news

This morning Visit Britain has released figures showing that nearly one million overseas visitors watched a game of football here last year. More importantly, they spent £706 million which is the equivalent of £785 per fan and £200 more than the average visitor to our shores spends.
No wonder Visit Britain and the government would like more of them to visit our countries. But it does also tend to highlight what CD-Traveller pointed out yesterday that football is an expensive day out. It seems odd that football fans should shell out more a third more than the average visitor and sum not far away from the big spenders.
We should be grateful. And grateful for another reason because they don’t just end up in London as many visitors do. Over 40% of them went to see Manchester United and Liverpool play. The research also suggests that football attracts visitors to Britain in normally quiet periods. Fans tend to come in the first three months of the year when hoteliers, restaurants and retailers have quieter periods.
And where do these visitors come from? Ireland, Norway, USA, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Sweden and Iceland make up the largest share of football visitors which makes one wonder why French and Italian visits are not higher. But the French make up for it by visiting rugby matches as do the Irish. Americans come for the golf and people from the Middle and Far East come for horse racing.
In all, sport tourism is worth about £2.3 billion – a very great deal of money. And that’s before we start paying to go to events and matches!

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