Role of Sports Tourism in Economic development

This paper discusses the first steps involved in the construction of a model dealing with the sport tourism sector and its relationship with local economic development: the local productive system of sport tourism (LPSST). First, the problem is outlined: how can one make sport tourism activities a lever of local economic development? The sport tourism discussed relates to a ‘French definition’ of this topic. Indeed, in France, research about sport tourism essentially considers this physical activity to be an active one. This means that the subject under study is quite far removed from both the tourism connected with the main sporting events, such as the Olympics or world soccer championships, and that connected with sport museums, etc. The sport tourist discussed here is, primarily, a practising sportsperson. The first section introduces the different actors concerned: suppliers of this sector, territories, government bodies and policy purposed. Second, the main theoretical aspects and fundamental points of the LPSST model are explained: what are the conceptual bases of this model? Which theoretical fields could help in the understanding of this problem? Following this, the subject is highlighted by the new economic geography (NEG) and local development theories. Within this theoretical aspect, particular attention is given to Krugman's works. The study is built on one particular hypothesis: following recent theoretical works LPSST is considered as the more efficient configuration to allow local economic development with the sport tourism sector. Third, it is proposed to study the geographical concentration of sport tourism suppliers. This particular point is considered to be an important parameter in the study. More particularly, the question asked is in which spaces the creation of the LPSST could be envisaged? Which territories offer a concentration level of suppliers to allow the realization of this model? The example chosen relates to ten outdoor activities in France. Finally, the paper describes the way in which sport tourism activities are spatially positioned and the possible reasons behind this localization? It is shown that ‘natural advantages’ is the main reason behind the concentration. Others types of economies, considered in the literature as a means of improving dynamic economy, have not yet been really experimented with in this sector.

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