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Is Entertainment Travel the Next Vacation Trend?

Staff writer – March 11, 2019

Entertainment travel means that you build a trip around an event such as a sports match, concert, or music festival, so the event location decides the travel destination for you. You can then see what else the location has to offer.

Let’s say you are a huge tennis fan and have always dreamed of attending one of the major tournaments you have only seen on TV. Well, there is Wimbledon in July of 2019, and the Davis Cup Finals in November. You choose one, and you book your event tickets and flight to London or Madrid. Naturally, you will research what else these cities have to offer and plan a wonderful vacation. But it all started with tennis.  


You are not alone

Statistica reported that the sports tourism industry hit $90 billion in 2017. The Travel Industry Association of America found that nearly 40% of Americans travel upwards of 50 miles to attend sporting events. A British study estimates that 800,000 people traveled to Britain in 2014 for football (soccer) matches. In addition to attending games, tourists enjoy touring stadiums and ball parks. Nostalgia plays a part in this, most notably for Americans and baseball.  


Music tourism is also growing. 5.5 billion travelers visited Nashville, USA, for its music in 2016 . And an estimated 42% of visitors to New Orleans that same year participated in a musical activity such as the Jazz Festival. Music festivals in particular, such as Mad Cool in Madrid, bring travelers to their host cities.


Feel the Electricity

Sure, you can watch any event on your TV, laptop, or iPad, but the experience of cheering on your favorite team or watching your favorite band, enveloped in a crowd of people who also love them, has no rival. This is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

A large number of travelers are trading simple “rest and relaxation” trips for transformative experiences. Entertainment travel is a great way to do this, especially for people who are passionate about sports or music. If you love Manchester United, imagine the electricity you will feel in a sea of Manchester United fans!

Spending at Destination

While most people try to save money at home, they splurge on vacations. In this experience economy, travelers are now spending more money at their destination—and that’s not on souvenirs.

Tickets for concerts and sports matches are expensive, but it’s a small price to pay for the experience of a lifetime. Some travelers are willing to spend more to get better seats, even VIP seats. Because, if you’re spending money on the World Cup final match, why not go all in? (Plus, imagine the photos you can post on social media!)

And the Cycle Continues

The growing entertainment tourism industry stimulates the creation and growth of new sporting and concert events. These events are not limited to the usual suspects: soccer, NFL, baseball, rugby, and racing. Quidditch is gaining ground across the US, as are other sports such as pickleball and roller derby.

As attendees share their experiences on social media, interest in the events grows, and more people travel to watch them or participate themselves. Social media is a powerful way to get the attention of niche markets.

Travel agencies and tour organizers can further leverage entertainment travel’s potential by promoting live events alongside the other attractions of the events’ locations. If a sports or music fan is traveling with family or friends, their must be something for everyone.