Tourism and sport at the international scale

Niche tourism strategies:

Niche tourism is a form of tourism that caters for the needs of small numbers of tourists. There are many forms of niche tourism, which include Adventure tourism, Ecotourism, Heritage tourism, Movie tourism, Agro tourism, Medical tourism, Silver (grey) tourism, Dark tourism

Mass tourism caters for needs of a large number of people. This includes packaged tours and itineraries.

Mass Tourism in Mallorca, Spain. Source:


  • Travel in large groups thus it is safer.
  • It is cheaper because the cost is shared among everyone.
  • It boosts socialization because you travel with people you know.
  • It is well organised.


  • It is expensive in the long term because some travel and tourism agencies cheat you.
  • You are forced to visit places you might not want to go to because you are in a group.
  • Leads to environmental degradation: noise pollution, water pollution, air pollution etc
  • Can sometimes lead to terrorist attacks.

Adventure tourism

This is a type of niche tourism whereby the tourists travel to remote areas which are sometimes risky or dangerous to the tourists. This may include:

  • Travels to Mt Everest, Nepal. Embarking on a trip to this summit cost about $50,000.
  • Visit to Antarctica
  • Sahara Tour
  • Mariana Trench

Adventure tourism can either be expensive to as high as $50,000 to mount Everest or it can be as cheap as $3000 to places such as Machu Picchu. It is a form of tourism that benefits the local community and also gives the tourist the opportunity to discover aspects of nature that are less known.

Besides, adventure tourism also protects the natural environment in a sustainable way because most of the tourists are well educated people. And according to the world tourism organization, over half of the adventure tourists are women.

Extreme environment tourism

This involves dangerous landscapes often with a difficult climate, and remote places that are sparsely settled or not occupied at all. Characteristics of adventure tourists are that they are without children, high-paid jobs/good income earners etc

Adventure tourism in the Sahara

Movie location tourism

This is a form of tourism that takes place in areas where popular movies have been shot

  • Lord of the Rings acted in New Zealand
  • Coronation Street acted in Manchester
  • Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland
  • The Hobbit in New Zealand
  • Gossip Girl in Manhattan
  • Theme parks such as Disneyland have created a setting that looks like the movie to attract viewers

Hobbiton movie set and tours, Matamata

Heritage tourism

Giza, Egypt. Wikepedia

It refers to travel to experience the place, artifacts, historic sites or indigenous people. It is sometimes referred to as historical tourism.

The roles of TNCs in expanding international tourism

A TNC is a company that has branches in many parts of the world but has its headquarters in a developed country. In many developing countries, tourism is used as national strategy to promote development. Examples of these countries include Kenya, Ghana, Thailand and the Maldives. These countries, however, do not have the necessary financial resources to invest in the infrastructure needed to boost tourism our attract tourism.

Infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water as well as the infrastructure are needed to open up these tourist destinations such as buildings. Consequently, some TNCs have decided to invest in the tourist industry in most of these countries. Examples of such TNCs include Hilton hotels, Sheraton hotels, KFC etc.

These TNCs offer some advantages or some benefits and costs to the countries in which they are located.

Benefits of TNCs in investing the developing countries

  • Develop employment such as tour guides
  • They increase government revenue received through things like profit tax
  • The TNCs introduce foreign direct investment
  • It helps to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserve thus help to stabilize the country’s currency against international currencies.
  • It helps to make the country popular.
  • TNCs help to advertise tourism.
  • TNCs help to develop the skills of the local people by giving training

Disadvantages of TNCs in investing the developing countries

  • Usually some people will be unable to afford what the TNC is providing.
  • TNCs increase the cost of living.
  • Land prices become expensive.
  • Leads to environmental pollution – Noise pollution, visual pollution, water pollution
  • The profits are usually repatriated.
  • The people work under poor working conditions.
  • Sometimes they disrespect the local culture of the people.

TNCs play a crucial role in the development of tourism in three main ways:

In terms primary tourist resources, TNCs may invest in tourist attractions such as Disneyland in Maryland, USA, Canada, France.

In terms of secondary tourist resources, TNCs may invest in airlines (eg Emirates, Easy jet, Virgin Atlantic, Monarch etc, or invest in the food industry such as McDonald’s, KFC, etc. Hotels such as Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday INN and like are all TNCs in the secondary tourist industry,

In terms of tertiary tourist services, TNCs may invest in tour agencies such as Thomas Cook, Thomson Travel and Expedia.

Question: In what way can TNCs expand the tourism potential in developing countries?

Stake holders in the tourism industry

Stakeholders are people who have an interest in something. In the case of tourism, the major stakeholders are the beneficiaries or the people who are directly affected by the tourist industry. A number of them are listed below:

Stakeholders in tourism industry

Advantages and disadvantages of TNCs to:


  • TNCs help to make tourism accessible to tourist and expand tourist sites
  • TNCs can invest in infrastructure to attract tourists
  • The presence TNCs attract tourists from home countries and elsewhere.
  • Activities of TNCs can affect the natural beauty of tourist sites.


  • Greater variety of goods and services at their disposal
  • There is an increase in the number of available jobs.
  • TNCs would compete with local companies and may put them out of business.


  • More job opportunities.
  • TNCs would provide other perks like subsidized healthcare, holidays etc.
  • In LICs, the TNCs may provide training services for employees.
  • The working conditions may not be favourable
  • High paying jobs does not go to local employees
  • Technology use may render some employees redundant


  • Would get more revenue from tax.
  • Would reduce the unemployed benefits that the government would have to provide.
  • TNCs take the profit back to their home country.
  • Large TNCs can control the government in LICs


  • TNCs serve as motivation for the competitors to improve the quality of their goods or services.
  • The TNCs may expose the industry and increase the demand for the good or service.
  • TNCs may take competitors out of business.
  • TNCs reduce the number of customers coming to the local business.

Costs and benefits of tourism as a national development strategy

Tourism has long been used as a development strategy in many LICs in the world, especially small island developing states (SIDs). Examples of such countries include: Tunisia, Papua New Guinea, The Maldives, Vietnam, Nepal, Sao Tome, Mauritius, Cyprus. Even though tourism provides benefits to these countries, there is no doubt that there are associated costs involved in using tourism as a strategy.

Economic benefits of tourism to SIDS

  • Increases the GDP of a country directly and indirectly through the ‘multiplier’ effect. Multiplier effect: this means that the revenue obtained from the tourism industry could benefit other industries which could yield further income in other industries.
  • Taxes increase government revenue. Government obtains tax from the tourists which can be used to invest in other projects in the country such as schools.
  • Increase the foreign exchange earnings of a country . This can help to stabilize the country’s currency. Can be used to import technology and machinery, invest in other industries.
  • Through foreign direct investment.
  • Creates employment for the local people.
  • Attracts foreign investments.

Economic costs

  • May divert government attention from needy areas of the economy. Such as education and health.
  • Requires government expenditure on tourism: The government would have to spend a lot of money providing good roads etc.
  • Profits may go overseas – In the form of ‘leakage’. Leakage: when the profit is taken outside the country.
  • Spread effect is limited and may therefore cause regional inequalities. It may only bring about regional development and not national development.
  • Inflates prices for land, housing, food and clothing.

Social benefits

  • May enhance the role and status of women in the society. How foreigners behave with their wives would usually influence how people in, for instance, LICs would treat their wives.
  • Encourages female education.
  • Encourages travel, mobility and social integration.
  • Saves indigenous culture of the people due to tourist interest in them.
  • Contact with other cultures may enrich domestic culture through widening of ideas.
  • Increases international understanding of diverse cultures.
  • Culture exchanges stimulate broadening horizons.

Social costs

  • Breakdown in traditional family values which creates a materialistic society.
  • Social pathology, including an increase in prostitution, drug use and petty crime.
  • Increased health risks e.g. Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Breakdown in families due to stress between younger generation and the elderly. Children begin to copy tourists and disrespect his/her parents.
  • Mass tourism may create hatred from host population
  • Westernization of culture may lead to the depletion of the cultural heritage of the local people.
  • Destruction of natural culture may lead to the depletion of the cultural heritage of the local people.

Environmental benefits

  • Improvement in landscape and architectural standards
  • Establishment of nature reserves and national parks protects the environment.
  • Promotes interest in monuments and historic sites which encourages preservation and maintenance of the sites.

Environmental costs

  • Tourist complexes do not reflect local architecture
  • The natural environment and wild life habitat could be destroyed to allow for the development of secondary tourist facilities such as hotels, nightclubs etc.
  • Excessive pressure leads to air, noise and visual pollution
  • Traffic congestion and pollution

Case study of tourism as a development stratety in SIDs

  1. Kenya National Tourism
  2. Medical Tourism in Tunisia
  3. Tourism in the Maldives (Click here to download presentation)

Case Study: Medical Tourism in Tunisia

Medical tourism is travel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment or improving health or fitness. Synonym: health tourism

Nature Of tourism in Tunisia:

The development of tourism in Tunisia goes back to the date 1960. As of 2000, there were about 197,400 hotel beds in 95,977 rooms with an occupancy rate of 56%. In addition, Tunisia decided to focus on health tourism because the country slumped into the stagnation stage (Butler’s model of tourism development) when other North African countries began to blossom on the tourism scene with beach tourism.

Tourism strategies employed:

  • The Tunisian government capitalized on their natural resources by providing therapy services in spas
  • Many more secondary tourist resources were built for medical health care by opening many more public hospitals and clinics.
  • The government strengthened the country’s currency through foreign exchange obtained from the tourism sector
  • The government took advantage of the opening of more secondary tourist resources to provide jobs for the public (up to 17% of the workforce).
  • The Ministry of Tourism promoted tourism by taking care of the costs of the tourists, like accommodation in five-star hotels and plane tickets.


The most lucrative holiday business (tour operators) in Tunisia belong to European top TNCs like Thomas Cook and Thomson/TUI, hence the insurance paid by the European tourists are repatriated back to their home countries of the tourists.

Success of tourism strategies:

  • The Tunisian government reported that between the years 2005 to 2008 there was an increase in the number of tourists by 671,200.
  • In May 2009 the government declared the opening of the world’s third-largest spa resort.
  • The creation of the Enfidha airport in 2009, which can handle up to four million passengers annually, contributed in the developing the country’s infrastructure.

Challenges facing tourism industry in Tunisia

In 2015, a gunman attacked a beach resort in Tunisia, killing several people and injuring many others. Most of these were British tourist who visited for medical treatment. Consequently, the number of tourist declined in the subsequent years until recently, when the government introduced tight security in all tourist destinations in the country to boost the confidence of tourist to return to Tunisia for their summer vacation.

Question: To what extent can tourism be used as a development strategy in a small island developing state?

Political, economic and cultural factors affecting the hosting of international sporting events

An international sporting event is a sporting event that involves a large number of countries. Even though regional or continental sporting events are considered international tournaments, in the context of this topic international sporting events are those represented by countries from different continents. Examples of such events include London Olympic Games 2012, Beijing Olympic Games 2008, Brazil World Cup 2014 and Russia 2018.

Note that the world cup is named after a country whilst the Olympic Games are named after a city.

Certain factors must be considered by a country can host such international sporting events. These include:

Political factors

  • The level of peace and stability in the country: If the country is more stable it is more likely to host sporting games. Chances of terrorism are reduced.
  • Political isolation can affect your chances of hosting an international sporting game. Countries like Cuba, North Korea and Iran stand a less chance of hosting an international sporting event because they have been isolated by the western countries and their allies due to their political beliefs and ties with ‘so-called’ terrorist organizations.
  • The membership of a country to international organizations: The commonwealth nation. If you are a member of this group then you can host the commonwealth games.

Economic factors

  • The level of economic development in the country can affect its hosting of international sporting events. This is because hosting an international sporting event involves a lot of expenditure on infrastructural facilities. Thus poor countries hardly host international games.
  • The number of cities in the country. A country must have a certain minimum amount of cities to be able to host games. This is because the matches must be played in various cities. If the country has a limited number of cities then they would combine too countries. For instance, when Ghana and Nigeria combined to host AFCON. Many cities are also needed because many people are needed to come and watch the games.
  • The financial benefits that accrue to the country hosting an international event would be an important factor to consider. This is because international sporting events usually involve a large number of visitors who are prepared to spend on various services in the country. This includes hotels etc. Thus the country would host such an event in order to attract tourists and improve their local businesses. The amount of foreign exchange that the country would benefit from is a factor to consider. This would improve the GDP and stabilise the country’s currency.

Social factors

  • Whether the country has a history of actively participating in that sporting event and succeeding in it. If the country doesn’t like that sport, they would not host it. For instance, Ghana would never host a cricket game.
  • The level of interest of the people in the sporting event. If the people like watching it or participating in it then the people would vote for it to host it.

Case study: The Costs and Benefits of hosting and International Sporting Event – Beijing Olympics 2008

Evaluate the role of tourism as a development strategy in low-income countries. [10]

In recent years there has been a rapid growth of international tourism, and this has been viewed as a stimulus to economic development in developing countries. However, the effectiveness of using tourism as a development strategy has been questioned.

Good answers will put forward both sides of the argument, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of tourism as a development strategy. On the positive side, it could be argued that tourism leads to the development of such things as infrastructure and communications, the multiplier effect, foreign currency, employment, and a greater integration into the world economy.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the impacts of tourism are limited and spatially concentrated, including factors such as tourist enclaves, mainly low-paid and unskilled labour, “leakage” of revenues, domination by TNCs, and uncertainty regarding tourist numbers due to natural hazard events or political problems.

Tokyo 2020: Olympic medals: An alternative table – with US 15th

5 replies on “Tourism and sport at the international scale”

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