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Perhaps, it’s a good time to assess what tourism in general means to your area, and in this business, sports tourism in particular. And, more importantly, it can be a time to look at unused assets and opportunities that you may have right in your own back yard and re-energize your economic base.
In the Madison, Wisconsin area, sports tourism means University of Wisconsin games as well as Ironman and USA Cycling events. But it also means bringing in sports that may not be top of mind, like Tug of War tournaments and Ultimate Frisbee.
In an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, Judy Frankel with the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the Madison area is not necessarily looking to bring in softball, baseball, volleyball and hockey tournaments. Other areas of the state take care of those sports.
“We have a community that encourages being outside and being active,” said Frankel. “We have so many ways in which you can do it, whether you’re renting a B-Cycle for 10 minutes or you’re doing a 100-mile bike ride.” The active lifestyle of the community has encouraged the Ironman franchise to be in the area through 2018 in a state where overall tourism in 2013 was up 4.3 percent to an economic impact of $17.5 billion.
Lubbock, Texas is celebrating the week in a more engaging way. John Osborne, the president and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Visit Lubbock, wrote an editorial in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on how residents of the Hub City can actively promote Lubbock as a tourism destination, sports or otherwise with the “Live Love Lubbock” campaign, adding the hashtag #LiveLoveLubbock to social media photos of the area, offering prize incentives for the posts.
Other sports commissions and CVBs are holding “FAM” trips, sponsor luncheons and other activities to engage and update their community leaders on what tourism means to the region.
As you celebrate National Tourism Week, take the opportunity to look at your sports landscape and how your own community assets can help make it grow. Be an advocate for your community and the industry.