Call for proposal


Over the past fifty years, sport tourism has been in perpetual motion to become a global structured market. In the 1980s, the concept of sport tourism appeared in the literature in Europe and in the United States to define a set of practices, which were both sport and tourism (Glyptis, 1982; De Knop, 1987).

Weed & Bull (2003, 2009) consider sport tourism as an entity, not the sum of two separate elements. These authors define sport tourism "as a social, economic and cultural phenomenon deriving from the unique interaction between activities, people and place" (2003: 258). It is therefore rather a question of properly highlighting and providing key concepts, approaches and tools, which management sciences can offer, yet also taken from socio-economic human and social sciences

Lapeyronie (2009) pointed out that, in most sources, the concept of sport tourism is analysed differently; it is polysemic to the extent that it can be understood as movement to go practice sports, go to a sports show or even practice sports while at a resort, which is already a three-point approach. Gibson (1998) distinguished three domains: “active sport tourism, which refers to people who travel to take part in sports; event sport tourism, which refers to a sports event; and nostalgia sport tourism, which includes visits to sports museums, famous sports venues, and sports themed cruises”. Pigeassou (2004) used the same items overall, yet adding activism sport tourism, that is to say traveling induced by sports movement organizations, especially federal or professional, or the setting up of sports shows or events. Hinch and Higham (2011) pointed out that pioneering work in sport tourism considers sports as being at the origin of the motivation of movement itself, which differs from Lapeyronie’s approach: “sport tourism is based on movement introducing a key variable (destination) and the processes of choice (motivation, decision)”. Pigeassou wrote (2004) adding: “(in sport tourism) the desire to experience sports culture drives the tourist activity” and Sobry (2005) called “opportunity sport tourism”. It excludes the limitation to traveling in connection with a sports event only (Deery, Jago, Fredline, 2004), although the socio-economic activities of sports events have been strongly evolving under tourist professionals and organizers.

Indeed, the global turnover of this sector was estimated at $ 800 billion in 2016, with an exceptional growth rate, having increased by 100 billion each year over the past four years (This introduction partly takes up the reflection of Bouchet P., Sobry C. " Sport tourism: Contemporary Issues and New Trends on a Global Market” in M., Aymar, P., & Hautbois, C. (Eds.). (2019). The Global Sport Economy: Contemporary Issues. Routledge).

Active sport tourism or opportunity sport tourism includes those who travel to take part in competitive or non-competitive sporting events, recreational sports or to try out a discipline such as leisure interest during the holiday.

Literature has defined and well defined this type of sport tourism (S. Gammon & T. Robinson 1997; D. Getz 1997; H.J. Gibson 1998; C. Pigeassou 1998; J. Standeven & P. De Knop 1998) and more recently, several scholars underline its importance for the development of the territory that they also consider superior to tourism linked to participation in major sporting events (M. Roche 1992; J. Ritchie & G.I. Crouch 2005; D. S. J. Page 2014; I.S. Lee & G. Brown 2017).

The works of Bouchet and Lebrun (2009) suggested extending the domains of sport tourism as well, considering sport tourism as defined once the choice of a tourist stay has been made by a holidaymaker, in a destination largely determined by the practice of one or more physical activities, in either a natural or an artificial place, more or less developed, or by the active participation in a show or a sports expedition, over several days, either embellished by one or more unexpected, accidental or contingent physical activities, or by an event or even by the presence of family or friends on the premises.

By integrating “opportunity sport tourism”, the fields of application of this economic sector are growing and allowing a better understanding of how companies create jobs and participate in the animation and the valorization of a place (Bouchet and Bouhaouala, 2009) for various clienteles, whether on or off season, per day in a local tourism or during a short, medium or long stay in different types of sedentary or mobile accommodation. Given the nature, diversification and composition of the sport tourism product considered as a set of services, the segmentation of demand by benefits then appears to be relevant to reflect the heterogeneity of holidaymakers. This form of segmentation is based on the concepts of defining attributes creating the products and, consequently, the positioning of products and brands. The role of the marketing promoter of sport tourism − associative, public and/or private − will be to identify which attributes contribute to the overall positive or negative attitude of tourists towards the destination which they value.

This dimension of sport tourism - which includes, just to give some examples, extreme sports, those in contact with nature, the so-called "slow adventure", etc. (Wolf-Watz 2014; M. Taks et al. 2015;P. Varley & T. Semple, 2015) - has the advantage of being less expensive, less burdensome at an organizational level, and therefore more sustainable from an economic point of view (S.Y. Cheung et al. 2016; D.W.S. Choi et al. 2016). Moreover, it can even determine a higher percentage of spending by international visitors because it tends to increase incentive, higher activity, higher frequency of the number of trips, in different periods of the year, although of short duration, favouring the economic and environmental sustainability of the territory and urban regeneration. (C. Gratton et al. 2000; C.M. Hall 2004; T.D. Hinch et al. 2016).

The growing interest in sport tourism is related to the economic impact associated and the attractiveness generated because of the values and representations it conveys mainly in terms of environment, ecology, freedom or concern for well-being. These key elements lead to debates at the heart of the reflection on local and/or national institutional communication, fair trade and relationship management. In this new context, sport tourism will then constitute an opportunity for the development and sustainability of the socio-economic activities of tourist destinations with specific characteristics and assets in relation to their heritage, gastronomic and physical offer. It is therefore considered as a producer of virtuous socio-economic effects enabling to go beyond all definitions limited by disciplinary, categorical or technical points of view until now (Bouchet and Bouhaouala, 2009).

However, in the light of future changes, the analysis of sport tourism is complex because of its interface between the strategies of firms and market and non-market organizations on the one hand, and between holidaymakers’ buying and consuming behavior on the other hand. In fact, the current literature on the sector attests to the problem of consumer goods, prosumer, as factors of growth and uncertainty in an increasingly competitive and mature market. In addition, the integration of social and cultural goals into the providers’ strategies and marketing mix should, concomitantly, adapt to issues related to the customers’ ecological, security and technological concerns.

As Jaureguiberry and Lachance (2016) pointed out, the hypermodern traveler differs from the former traveler because of one’s permanent interconnection to the world and one’s family through GPS, SMS, e-mail or sites, affinity or even through one’s professional environment while creating a safety net in one’s movements and a stop to the feeling of adventure or the cut with one’s daily life. In terms of foresight, four important issues seem likely to influence the strategic actions of sport tourism providers in the future: branding and smart destination, the social and cultural responsibility of service providers, hyper-segmentation and hyper-connection of tourists, and, their co-creation and co-production of stays.

The aim of the 7th IRNIST Conference is to identify some practices useful for optimizing the presence of active sports tourists in favour of the development of a destination in socio-cultural, political-institutional, economic, environmental, and potential attractions of the destinations.

This conference is organized together with WeComSport and Master CMES of Department of Communication and Social Reasearch of Sapienza, University of Rome

Major topics:

  • active sport tourism and sports practice
  • active sport and territorial identity
  • sport tourism and destination marketing
  • sport tourism and local network
  • sport tourism and local development
  • new professions of sport tourism
  • sport tourism and sustainable development
  • regional development and sustainable economy
  • impact of extreme sports and slow adventure
  • sport tourism communication and destination image
  • social and economic Covid-19 impact for sport tourism


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