An indication of the significance of the sport event tourism market includes an increasing proliferation of new international events. Factors that influence this trend include a desire of media to cover new, exciting events, investments of sponsors who utilise sponsorship to reach their consumers, and competition among destinations to attract events (Getz, 1998). He adds that it is now widely recognised that sport events contribute significantly towards increasing tourist traffic and driving economic development of a region. As a result, hosting and bidding for events have presently become integral components of the overall tourism product of several countries. Organisations such as Event Corporations and Sport Commissions have been established whose sole mandate is to develop and manage event strategies on behalf of the city or region (South Africa, 2002). Globally several destinations have incorporated sport tourism into their national marketing plans. Such destinations include United States of America (USA), Malaysia,
China, Ireland, Thailand, Korea, Nepal, Barbados, Brunei, Portugal and Australia (Neirotti, 2005: 19). She further notes that in the USA more than 2570 cities have actively engaged in attracting sport events to their area, while most of these cities have commissioned formation of a sport authority to deal with bidding to host new events and to deal with existing events. As an example from a global perspective, this important focus of sport tourism events has been recognised to an extent that an organisation, namely, the Sport Events Cities Network (SECN), was created in 2005. SECN is an international network, which comprises cities that are involved in organising and staging major sporting events, as a sub-sector of sport tourism. These cities are listed in the table below. Table 2.2: SECN cities that participated in a research study on sport strategy for international promotion City Country Auckland New Zealand Barcelona Spain Cape Town South Africa Estoril Portugal Fukuoka Japan Henley United Kingdom Melbourne Australia Newport United States of America Porto Cervo Italy Rio de Janeiro Brazil San Diego United States of America Singapore Malaysia Torino Italy Valencia Spain Adapted from SECN (2006: 33)
SECN’s mission is to promote cooperation among member cities and to foster exchanges for best practices amongst the members. SECN (2006: 2) states that sport events can be used for international promotion of a city and region and that using the event in such a manner will lead to benefits that are linked to branding opportunities and to maximising benefits that are extended beyond the particular event...