Sports Tourism Grows in Thailand
While a large proportion of holiday-makers travel to Thailand in search of blissful beaches and clear blue skies, Thailand’s sports tourism sector is also experiencing significant growth. In fact, according to Khun Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Thai minister of Tourism and Sports, this market segment has a particularly bright future.
“Thailand is entering the sports tourism era,” she said, speaking at the Thailand Travel Mart Plus 2016 in Chiang Mai. “It should be the ‘dream sports destination’ for international sports visitors in the future.”
According to a report on www.scandasia.com, the sports tourism sector is usually focused on two kinds of holiday – those that observe large sporting events such as the Olympics, and those that focus on visitors active, whether hiking, cycling or joining a martial arts retreat. Khun Kobkarn revealed that events like the Thailand Golf Championship and FIVB Volleyball Grand Prix have boosted the country’s image as an internationally-renowned sports tourism destination.
In Denmark, for example, Live Travel, an agency based in Copenhagen, has recorded a 20-30 percent increase in the demand for sports holidays in Thailand over the last 12 months.
“I see great potential is in this type of travel and I’m positive that more Danes will expand their holiday in Thailand to include cycling,” said Lars Vinterberg, a partner at. “More Danes are interested in following their hobby on their vacation, and more importantly, they want unique experiences. Bicycling is that kind of vacation. You get exercise, unique experiences and you also have closer contact with the population,” he said.
In addition to cycling holidays in the Kingdom, Muay Thai camps on islands like Phuket and Koh Samui are also becoming increasingly popular. Not only are these programmes excellent for visitors that want to keep fit, but they also offer a different way for visitors people to immerse themselves in Thailand’s unique culture.
Yoga retreats are also growing in popularity and are complemented by Thailand’s deeply spiritual culture. These kinds of programmes often tie in detox diets and even massage therapy, alongside yoga and other exercise.