Sports tourism, in every country, struggles for recognition and prominence when the industry that it belongs to is assessed on its contribution to the country’s coffers. This pandemic has made such struggle even more challenging for sports events organizers.
Leading the global catastrophe on sports tourism is the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to summer of next year. This difficult decision was unavoidable, but rightfully made by the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee, for obvious reasons.
In every corner of the globe, basketball, football, volleyball, baseball, rugby, formula racing, triathlons, marathons, major tennis and golf tournaments were called off since mid-March. The Bundesliga, La Liga, and the English Premiere League, among others, resumed to finish their fixtures, many weeks delayed, and with astronomical losses, minus the much-anticipated hoopla for the winners. They were all played to empty stadiums meant to hold as much as a hundred thousand fans.
Other sports leagues will soon start, but sadly, some events such as Wimbledon, Formula One, Boston Marathon, and the Southeast Asian Paralympic Games here in the country are already declared postponed.
Bannering the fighting spirit of sports, the industry continues to prepare for when it will finally stage these annual events. Preparations are underway around the world, including here in the Philippines. This is based on a report filed by Philippine Sports Tourism Awards president Charles Lim.
Clark and Subic have been urged to jumpstart the recovery of the country’s sports tourism. These two venues received podium rewards after successfully hosting dozens of events during the 30th Southeast Asian Games last year, which was participated in by athletes from 11 countries. These sportsmen enjoyed not just the games they played, but also the hospitality of the host communities and the captivating beauty of their suburbs.
Once quarantine is lifted, and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will give local organizers the go-signal for various sports events. Both host cities are expected to prioritize health safety for athletes, organizers, spectators, and the host communities in general. They will definitely follow the guidelines set by the IATF, the Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Tourism, and the international sports associations.
“The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) believes that as resilient as the Filipinos are, Subic tourism will spring back to the heights it has reached pre-COVID as one of the most popular destinations in the country,” assured SBMA chairman Wilma Eismer.
Calendared for when the quarantine is lifted are several top-notch, high profile events in Subic such as the Ironman (Full Distance), International Triathlon, Le Garde’s Triathlon, My Daily Collagen Triathlon, Black Arrow 5150, and Century Tuna 70.3.
Sports tourism in the country is expected to bounce back into its pre-COVID figures with the continued support of the fans and the excitement of athletes from all over the country to join the various events. A lot of these local and international competitors are practically the same ones who join the events every year, a testimony to how much they enjoy our country and our people.
Details of other sports events scheduled for post-quarantine will be highlighted in next week’s column.
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE
DOCTOR: How old are your kids?
PATIENT: 44, from my wife who passed away, and 13, from my second wife.
DOCTOR: That’s quite a big age difference!
PATIENT: Well, the older daughter didn’t give me any grandchildren, so I made my own.
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