Last week I purchased tickets to Australian Open in Melbourne. It will be our first time to see a live tennis match – so exciting! Although at our house we don’t quite care about sports (very un-Australian, I know), Australian Open is something that just belongs to our summer routine. Those hot nights in front of the TV, watching the star players give their best, sweat dripping from the tips of their noses, outside the sound of crickets, the thrill of watching a long dramatic head-to-head match… a wonderful time that I am looking forward to every year. Read here a guest post by Dana Torres about the Australian sport tourism landscape.
The sports tourism culture in Australia continues to expand, offering several attractive opportunities for visitors. In the past months, approximately eight million tourists have visited Australia, an increase of more than ten percent over the preceding year. What then is the draw and what are the preferred recreational activities for visitors and locals? The list is lengthy… from grand-slam tennis to opera, tourists have virtually unlimited options.
Australia has become a major destination for tennis enthusiasts from around the world. This summer, for example, the country will host one of the major Grand Slam Tennis events, the Australian Open, with tickets available through sites such as Queen of Tickets. The Australian Open, the first in the series of four Grand Slams, has been attracting tourists to Melbourne since 1905, continuing to gain momentum each year. By 2017, the Open is expected to bring in around 700,000 fans alone within a two-week period!
Tennis, Golf, and Australia’s Sports
In addition to tennis, several other sports attractions draw spectators nationally and internationally. Major sports events, sports museums, sports restaurants, concerts, water sports, summer recreation, are just a few of the regional activities that provide an outlet for tourists of all ages. In fact, almost every type of recreation has become popular in Australia. Rugby, Australian football, golf events, marathons, Formula 1 – Grand Prix, and cricket; there is no question that sports are a national past time. Tourists and locals recognize that summer is synonymous with sporting events, as well as numerous individual and family activities such as golf, backpacking, hiking, camping, and leisure outings.
On the green, Australia’s golf courses provide a great opportunity for summertime (and year-round) recreation. Tourists are treated to a wide range of courses in some of the most breathtaking locals found anywhere in the world. Aussie greens rank amongst six of the top courses in the world with courses available in a variety of climates with challenging and inviting designs. From Tasmania to Victoria’s Sandbelt, growing numbers of tourists have gained a profound appreciation for Australian golf.
Clearly, leisure holidays provide the driving force behind the increase in Australia’s tourist industry. While travel for business appears to be tapering, with an almost two percent drop in the past several months, international visitors have spent an estimated $38 billion during this twelve-month period. The number of visitors above fifteen years of age has topped seven million during this same interval. An increase was evident in almost every segments of Australian tourism, with exceptionally high growth in the areas of holiday visitors and education. Australian citizens have also shown an increase in participation in spectator sports and local day trips, as well as in overnight expenditures.
Clearly, Australia has positioned itself as a leading contender in the realm of international sports tourism. Hosting such events as the Australian Grand-Slam Open this summer, and offering numerous sports, shopping and dining opportunities, and holiday events. Moreover, it appears that these trends will only continue to rise in the coming years!