Maximising the potential of mass participatory sporting events for tourism destination development
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Over the last decade sports tourism has seen rapid changes, one such growth area has been in the area of mass participatory sporting events (MPSE). MPSE attract participants who travel to participate in events such as marathons and triathlons. MPSE now play a role in promoting a destination, however their potential in terms of destination development in Ireland is generally unrealised. The research project will identify the benefits of MPSE for tourism destination development by analysing the participant’s demographics and their direct economic expenditure, it will evaluate the destination and event attributes which are considered most important by the participant and it will explore the current levels of collaboration that currently exists between MPSE organisers and destination marketing organisations. The research design will use a mixed method approach of quantitative and qualitative methods, it will include surveys and interviews. Five purposive handpicked MPSE have been chosen for the research project. A pilot study has been conducted on the 2015 Tralee International Marathon. The next stage of the research project is to develop the qualitative research methodology with quantitative data collection to commence in May with the Killarney Marathon. Due to the lack of in depth research in Ireland the potential economic and tourism benefits of mass participatory sporting events to destinations may not be fully understood by tourism planners/providers and event organisers. This research project will assist in filling this research gap. The research project will assist all stakeholders in identifying the factors necessary to maximise the potential of MPSE for tourism destination development and assist in the best use of state funding. The research project will allow tourism planners and event organisers develop a coherent marketing strategy and help them identify future trends.
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