Sports tourism refers to travel that involves either observing or participating in a sporting event. Often, people who do this type of tourism are fans of that particular sport being played at a destination, and witnessing or participating in that sport is the primary purpose of their trip. Of course, most sports tourists tend to extend their trips to explore the destination beyond the playing field.
If you’re a die-hard sports fan, it’s likely you already know where in the world the main events will be happening this year. But, if you’re a sports fan and are only looking for a sport related excuse to travel, here are a few options that might inspire you to pack your bags and go.
New York City
The city that never sleeps always has something going on, including world renowned sporting events. Its famous U.S. Open takes place between August and September (this year is from August 28th to September 10th), and it is the fourth and final event of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.
The city is also home to the New York City Marathon, which is held on the first Sunday of November (this year is on November 5th) and it takes over 50,000 runners across all five boroughs of the city on a course that is 26.2 miles long. This marathon is so popular that some people can only register by winning a ticket lottery. If you’ve never gone sightseeing outside Manhattan, this is a challenging but excellent way to do it!
The Kentucky Derby is the second oldest horse race in America and the most popular event of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. For its ever first race on May 17, 1875, over 10,000 spectators went to Louisville, Kentucky to witness what is now known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” because of its duration.
The race is held yearly in Louisville during the first Saturday in May and it caps off the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival. Beyond the race, you can enjoy and get a feel of Louisville by strolling through its Central Park, amble along the historic district, or visit other nearby parks for hiking, biking, and fossil finding. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll love the Louisville Slugger Museum, a celebration of the sport's legends.
Like the U.S., England celebrates its sports with big and prestigious events. Among its most famous is the Wimbledon – the oldest tennis event in the world. While this is the third event in the tennis Grand Slam, it is considered to be the most prestigious of all four. The event is held in Wimbledon, a suburb of London, between June and July.
For golf enthusiasts, there’s the British Open. This is the oldest of the four major tournaments of golf, dating back to the 1860s. The tournament is held in July each year (this year from July 20th to the 23rd) at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport.
France is another nation that is big on sporting events. Among its most popular are the French Open (also known as the Tournoi de Roland-Garros). This is one of the four Grand Slam Tennis events, and it’s been held since 1891 for men and 1897 for women.
And of course, there’s the Tour de France, the oldest, most famous, and most prestigious of the cycling Grand Tours that also includes the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. The 2017 Tour de France will be held from July 1st to the 23rd, and its Grand Depart will be in Düsseldorf, Germany. From there, cyclers will go through 21 day-long segments (stages) over a 23-day period to cover around 2,200 miles (3,500 km).
If you have a passion for sailing, then you must head to Bermuda this year. The America's Cup is one of the oldest international sporting trophies in history. The sport is a competition between two sailing yachts. One yacht is the defender who represents the yacht club (holder of the America’s Cup) and the second yacht is the challenger, representing the yacht club that is challenging for the cup.
Once you’re done enjoying the race, you can go and relax on Bermuda’s pink-sand beaches, dive in one of its many shipwrecks, go deep-sea fishing, or explore its historic forts. It might be a small island, but there’s a lot to see and do there.
Where else would you travel to see or participate in your favorite sport?
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