Given a chance, who wouldn’t want to travel? But travelling for sports? That’s a different story altogether.
We typically travel either for business or leisure, and if it’s the latter we usually have relaxation in mind. And relaxation doesn’t usually involve moving too much!
Sports Tourism is a niche of the travel industry with sports at its core—either through spectating or participation. You need not go abroad to watch the World Cup or Olympics, or be an athlete yourself to be called a sports tourist—you already are when you went out of town for that basketball game! Indeed spectating is the most relaxed form of sports tourism, but why stay behind the scenes when you can be part of the action?
A year ago I went to Singapore for some hard labor—not for employment as typically expected with most Pinoys—I went to run a marathon! Even Singaporeans that I met were surprised that I visited their country for four days just to run. I was a perfect example of a sports tourist!
The Philippines has much more to offer than Singapore as far as tourism is concerned. The latter despite being one of the smallest countries in the world it is frequented annually by a lot of visitors. It is so small in fact that you can practically cover the entire island in less than a day! So what keeps tourists coming back to Singapore? Sports! Aside from world class marathons, the country is also popular for its F1 races and now they even host a 70.3 Ironman race. Imagine all the income these tourists bring to their economy annually?
The Philippines may not have as developed tourism infrastructure as other countries but as far as sports tourism is concerned we’ve got so much to offer. Recently our surfing spots are becoming world famous and also a similarly world-class 70.3 Ironman race reached our shores. Even our local running scene attracts some foreign elite athletes. It may not be as much as with other countries but it’s a good start. Mainly fuelled by locals, Philippine sports tourism needs all the support it can get, but what’s in it for you?
With sports tourism you get to view a place in an unusual perspective—like watching a movie behind the scenes. But don’t be contented with “viewing,” participate! Participation in sports allows you to “experience” the place—and you don’t need to be an elite athlete to enjoy it. We can say that sports tourists don’t just “visit” the place, they “experience” it! And the Philippine advantage is that you have a lot to choose from for every budget!
For starters you can try “jogging” along baywalk (or a nearby park). Once you get started everything becomes easier, and before you knew it you’d be taking that six hour bus ride or that next flight out just to participate with your favorite sports!
I was once just like every yuppie out there stuck between the walls of the office cube during office hours but through sports I was set free! Little did I know that aside from being good for health, through sports I’d be able to experience the world in a unique way! Don’t just take my word for it; experience it for your own. Stop thinking and start doing. Are you ready to make your own experiences?
Note: This article was originally intended for print.