Understanding cycle tourism experiences at the Tour Down Under

Authors: Shipway, R., King, K., Lee, I.S. and Brown, G.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/23235/

Journal: Journal of Sport and Tourism

Volume: 0

Issue: 0

Pages: 1-19

Publisher: Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group

DOI: 10.1080/14775085.2016.1155473

Sport tourism experiences are subjective and emotional, laden with symbolic meaning. This study explores the experiences of participants who adopted the multiple roles of both an active participant and event spectator, within the parameters of one chosen sporting event. A professional cycling race event, the Tour Down Under in South Australia was chosen for this investigation, and 20 face-to-face individual interviews were conducted with cycle tourists. The three main themes emerging from the data were the interaction of people and temporary spaces on a sport tourism ‘stage’; the co-creation of authentic personal experiences and meanings; and identity reinforcement and the development of a sense of belonging. Consequently, a model for understanding sport event tourism experiences is proposed. The findings suggest that providing tourists with authentic and memorable experiences lies at the heart of what constitutes sport tourism. Whilst the results demonstrate that cycling events provide the individual with a sense of belonging or membership to a wider social group, they also illustrate that there is a continued need for more focused and nuanced approaches towards understanding sport tourism experiences that reflect the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of the interaction between sport, events and tourism.

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Authors: Shipway, R., King, K., Lee, I.S. and Brown, G.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/23235/

Journal: Journal of Sport and Tourism

Volume: 20

Issue: 1

Pages: 21-39

eISSN: 1029-5399

ISSN: 1477-5085

DOI: 10.1080/14775085.2016.1155473

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Sport tourism experiences are subjective and emotional, laden with symbolic meaning. This study explores the experiences of participants who adopted the multiple roles of both an active participant and event spectator, within the parameters of one chosen sporting event. A professional cycling race event, the Tour Down Under in South Australia was chosen for this investigation, and 20 face-to-face individual interviews were conducted with cycle tourists. The three main themes emerging from the data were the interaction of people and temporary spaces on a sport tourism ‘stage’; the co-creation of authentic personal experiences and meanings; and identity reinforcement and the development of a sense of belonging. Consequently, a model for understanding sport event tourism experiences is proposed. The findings suggest that providing tourists with authentic and memorable experiences lies at the heart of what constitutes sport tourism. Whilst the results demonstrate that cycling events provide the individual with a sense of belonging or membership to a wider social group, they also illustrate that there is a continued need for more focused and nuanced approaches towards understanding sport tourism experiences that reflect the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of the interaction between sport, events and tourism.

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