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Ewa Malchrowicz-Mośko


In the recent years, we observe a growing popularity of sport tourism which includes travelling to practice sports outside one's living area, participating in sports events (both actively as an athlete, and passively as a spectator) as well as visiting sports related attractions such as sports museums or famous stadiums. Participation in major sports events, including the Olympic Games, has grown in popularity among the tourists, affecting the development of sport tourism. Olympic museums also become a major tourist attraction. Presently, many countries in the world compete to organize the Olympic event as it is widely believed that such enterprises result in an economic gain for tourist destinations and improve the attractiveness of regions as potential tourist destinations. Towns and countries more often choose sports events are a means of advertisement, to make an impression in the global media and to improve their global image. Organizing the Olympic Games brings about many social and cultural benefits as well, among others it enables multicultural communication and facilitates social integration. However, the majority of studies on sport tourism focus on the marketing and economic benefits of the major sporting events. The social and cultural impact still constitutes the minority of all the research on the subject matter, whereas it needs to be pointed out that similarly to the economic results, social and cultural impact is not solely positive. Presently, a number of negative effects of organizing major sporting events can be observed, this includes the economy, social and cultural influence as well as ecology – the reason for the above being the failure to apply the principles of sustainable development by the event organizers. Such negative effects can include, among others, too high economic cost of organizing a sporting event borne by the host-state, inappropriate behavior of spectators who intrude on the life of local societies, displacement of people due to land development for the investments required for the event, or the negative impact on the natural environment – for example, excessive deforestation related to the construction of Olympic Villages (i.e. as seen during the organization of the event in Sochi). Another issue is the use of sporting infrastructure after the event. Some olympic villages instead of becoming a tourist attraction are simply left to ruin. An example of such a situation being the facilities in Sarajevo or in Berlin (another problem is the improper use of football stadiums after the World or European Championship event). All this results in some countries becoming disinterested in hosting the Olympic Games – in the example of Sweden and Norway who withdrew from organizing the event in 2022. The aim of the present study is to perform a theoretical analysis of possible benefits and losses resulting from hosting a sporting event in the social and cultural perspective. Based on the literature on the subject available worldwide, it aims to present the impact of sport tourism, taking into account both participants – the tourists and the local populace. The analysis shall include the impact of participating in major sporting events on the individual, local populace, the nation as well as tourist destinations – moreover, the analysis includes selected examples of how hosting a major sporting event affects the development of tourism.

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