A recent report by U.S.-based Allied Market Research shows that Asia-Pacific is emerging as a region that will have a high growth rate in sports tourism because more and more sporting events are held here, attracting an increasing number of international athletes.

According to the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism, sports tourism has only boomed in Vietnam over the past 5-7 years, with typical products being tours designed to sell with marathons or those organized by tourism businesses for Vietnamese people to go abroad to watch the national football team’s matches.

Runners competing in Trang An Marathon 2023

Currently, the number of sports events is increasing in Vietnam. In running alone, there are currently about 80 marathon events held nationwide with different distances and terrains.

Since the beginning of 2024, dozens of marathons and half-marathons have been held, attracting a large number of athletes. These include Mau Son Mount Paths (Lang Son), Tien Phong Marathon (Phu Yen), VPBank VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight 2024 (Ho Chi Minh City), and THACO Marathon for Traffic Safety - Dien Bien Phu (Dien Bien). The races have many novel ideas to attract athletes and tourists such as running across scenic spots and areas with beautiful landscapes, or being organized at night.

Sports tournaments in localities with complex mountainous terrain and beautiful scenery have now become an attractive feature of many localities. One of the most impressive running events is the Vietnam Ultra Marathon 2024 held in Lac hamlet, Chieng Chau commune, Mai Chau district, the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh, with more than 2,200 athletes from 38 countries.

“Participating in the marathon in Mai Chau is not only a race, but also an experience of discovering new exciting lands. Along the running routes, athletes were immersed in beautiful scenery, and directly experienced the unique and charming local features. From exploring the trails that few people visit, to experiencing the local culture. Mai Chau has brought interesting and unforgettable memories to me and my friends,” shared Athlete Michal Lesniak from Poland, who has won many major races in Europe and Asia

Earlier this year, the northern mountainous province of Son La also successfully organized the Vietnam Trail Marathon in Moc Chau district with a record number of participating athletes: 4,200. Not only did it welcome a large number of visitors when the tournament was held, Son La could also promote the beauty of its nature and people.

“Trail running brings extremely special emotions because athletes not only get to exercise, awaken their own potential, but also can immerse themselves in the majestic nature. That's why athletes feel extremely happy,” said Nguyen Manh Hung, General Secretary of the Vietnam Athletics Federation.

In March of this year, the UIM F1H2O World Championship, and the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship were organized in the coastal city of Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh province, drawing tens of thousands of visitors to Binh Dinh.

In fact, sports tourists often spend a lot on hotel rooms, restaurants and shopping and visiting tourist attractions. In addition, more and more professional teams are playing in international venues and fans want to follow them, allowing destinations to attract more attention from tourists.

According to Pham Ha, Chairman of Lux Group - a tourism development corporation, to turn sports into a key product of Vietnamese tourism, it is important to have thorough research and long-term orientations to build and upgrade infrastructure in a professional and modern direction.

Vietnam also needs to have an event promotion strategy to increase the opportunity to host more international sports events, and boost coordination between the tourism and sports sectors.

“To effectively exploit sports events, travel businesses need to create an information mechanism with the sports management side to grasp the event schedule as soon as possible to build suitable products,” said Director of Vplus Vietnam Travel and Event Joint Stock Company Nguyen Duc Anh.

Chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents Vu The Binh said that to attract tourists, travel agents need to design tours that include different activities. To do this, event organizers need to shake hands with tourism businesses to create rich product packages, helping athletes and their relatives have the best experience when coming to Vietnam.

Localities need to create open procedures in licensing the organization of sports tournaments to serve tourism, and encourage travel companies to form alliances to sell products related to sports tourism.

To make sports tourism a key product, the sector needs to coordinate with localities, tourism businesses, service establishments and related parties, and have more incentive policies to attract more and more sports-loving tourists to Vietnam.

Source: VNA