The Effect of Sporting Events on Travel and Tourism in Eastern Europe
Kazakhstan recently hosted the Asian Winter Games, where more than 800 athletes from around Asia attending. To prepare for the games, Kazakhstan invested more than 1 billion dollars into accommodation, public transportation, and airports, creating opportunities for travel and tourism in the future.
On the 2nd of December 2010, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced Russia as the winning bid for the football World Cup in 2018. By winning the right to host the World Cup, Russia continued to capture important world sporting competitions in addition to the Summer Universiade in Kazan in 2013 and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
These large scale sporting events will help to increase the country’s popularity amongst local and international travellers. These events imply a serious preparation of infrastructure in the country, with airports being the most important focus.
Russia occupied the 11th position in the number of international arrivals with almost 22 million trips to the country in 2010. However, tourists visit Russia with a level of caution due to high levels of red tape, high accommodation prices, poor quality of services and potential terrorist threats.
Despite these disadvantages, the number of trips to Russia can potentially reach up to 40 million people by 2020. However, new travel accommodation and expanded transportation networks do not guarantee a growing number of foreign visitors . The majority of international travellers still perceive it as mysterious and closed country and the Russian tourism sector will need serious reforms for these forecasts to come true. Hosting major sporting events is one step towards improving the country’s image amongst international travellers.