Assessment: City Town Reimaging Using Sport Strategies

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City/Town Re-Imaging Using Sport Strategies

City Re-Imaging Using Sport Strategies

Changing a city or town over to be more of a "sports" destination can be difficult, and Belfast, Northern Ireland is no exception. It has to be considered carefully, because it may not have the rate of success for which one hopes. However, there are many ways to determine whether it is a good idea. One of the best ways is through a SWOT analysis. Another way is to determine the level of interest through considering volunteers. This is helpful because people will more easily volunteer for things in which they are interested. If they like sports and they want to see a more sports-oriented town or city where they live, they're going to be willing to volunteer and help out to see that come to pass (Adorno, 2000; Xu & Ngai, 2011). By looking at these issues one can determine whether a sports-oriented plan for Belfast would be a good idea, or whether it would be better to focus efforts on another city for sports and/or another way Belfast could bring in more tourism dollars.

In conducting a SWOT analysis, the Belfast area has to be examined. How does that area currently relate to tourism and sports? How could the two areas be brought together to provide extra value for those who are interested in sports and who want to come to Belfast on holiday? Not doing this correctly can provide a skewed version of what is actually accurate, and that would not provide the researcher with the information needed as to how to make Belfast sport tourism friendly. Whether the city would be more suited to long-term sports or whether it would be better suited to occasional major events, there is no way to determine what will truly be best for the city until a thorough SWOT analysis is conducted and until it can be determined whether volunteers would be interested in making the dreams of a sport tourism Belfast into a true reality for the city.

SWOT Analysis - Belfast

Would Belfast be suitable as a sport tourism city? People who love sports will travel all over the world to get involved or to come to a large event. Because of that, it is highly important to decide if the area to which these people would be coming would be suitable for the kinds of sports in which they would be interested (Gammon & Robinson, 2003; Gibson, 1998; Hall, 1992). In order to accomplish that an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will be conducted to see whether Belfast is going to be a good host destination for a sporting event or for more sport tourism in general. There are various issues faced by the City of Belfast, but only those that relate to a sports tourism event or the creation of sports tourism destination will be addressed here.

If there is anything that can be seen in the analysis that will have a significant impact on the sporting events or those who may come to the area to participate in those events, that should clearly be discussed (Hinch & Higham, 2004; Smith, 2001). There will always be strengths and weaknesses for any city when it comes to a sporting event or the idea of making the city more sports tourism friendly (Page & Hall, 2003). If a particular city has not been well-known for sports or has not held a major sporting event before, there will likely be even more issues that will have to be faced before it will be possible to move the city forward and prepare it to handle a large influx of sports tourism. Planning may be lacking, for one thing (Gammon & Robinson, 2003). Shopkeepers and others may not be ready for the tourism that would come along with a major sporting event or with working to make a city into a better destination for sports tourism.

Strengths

Belfast has a large number of strengths when it comes to either hosting a sporting event or providing more sports-themed tourism activities within its boundaries. These strengths include:

The city is large and the population is growing rapidly, so there are certainly enough people there to sustain the growth of sports tourism and to encourage others to come to the city for sporting activities.

Belfast has both natural beauty and a great deal of culture. Both of those things can bring people to the area when they want to participate in a sport or watch some type of sport during their holiday.

The language barrier would be low, since most people speak the common language of the city.

Accommodations are readily available, and there are places to sleep and places to eat in the town no matter what a person's price range or the kind of food or lodging they really enjoy.

A temporary increase in the population would not be a burden for the shopping, tourist attractions, and medical facilities in the town and the surrounding area, since they are large enough to handle the extra visitors.

The city is already accustomed to tourism and tourist groups, so there is no reason not to have more, and sports can only bring more new and interesting people in the Belfast area for their holidays.

Sports are already popular in Belfast, and people get together there to play and watch sports.

During recent years the people of Belfast have become more interested in watching and participating in sports, which means there is a real possibility that trend will continue in the future.

Friendly people, overall, live in the town, and they seem to have no problem welcoming those who are on holiday in the area.

Prices in the area are reasonable. Anyone who came to Belfast for a sporting event or to participate in some kind of sport while on holiday would be more likely to be able to do that affordably.

Weaknesses

Even though Belfast is a city of many strengths, there are also weaknesses that have to be faced when considering something as monumental as sport tourism. Some of these weaknesses include:

There are a large number of restaurants and hotels, but if there was to be an overly large number of sports tourists coming to the city all at once the accommodations could face some strain.

Strained accommodations could cause some visitors to need to stay outside of the city in a neighboring area, which might not be an ideal thing for them. It could cause them to need to travel farther to participate in or watch the sport for which they came to the area on holiday.

There has never been a large sport tourism influence in Belfast before, which could result in the area not being prepared for all it would bring.

Even though it is part of the UK, it is still a long way for many people to travel for a sporting event or to engage in a particular kind of sport - one in which they can often partake closer to home.

The rainy and unpredictable weather is worth considering when trying to bring outdoor sports of any kind to the area.

The time of year in which the tourism is undertaken will matter strongly with any kind of outdoor sport, and there are many factors such as the temperature and safety concerns that will need consideration.

If there are not enough people in the city who are enthusiastic about the sport tourism event, it could fail.

Not everyone in Belfast and the surrounding area is going to welcome the "invasion" of their city by a bunch of tourists, even if the duration of their stay is relatively short-lived in nature.

It is possible that price gouging and other nefarious tactics would take place, souring the tourists' experience there.

Sporting events are major undertakings that require much thought, planning, and effort - and that is true no matter where they are.

Opportunities

Many opportunities are available in Belfast. Some of the most pleasant ones for sports tourism include:

It may be possible to get more people interested in coming to Belfast at a later date or coming back at a later date because of the sports tourism and all the advertising that would go along with it.

Tourism numbers for the city could go up all year round because it would be in the minds of more people as a holiday destination.

Belfast would be able to show the world what it has to offer to the people who come to visit there.

Developing successful sport tourism now could lead to an influx in it at some point in the future, bringing even more opportunities with it.

Shopkeepers and other people who work in the city would be able to grow their businesses by making money from the extra people coming into the area for sporting events.

People who are very fond of a particular sport (or perhaps any sport) would enjoy and appreciate… [END OF PREVIEW]

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