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SPORTS TOURISM

India has always been big in the tourism industry because of its extreme diversity. However, sports tourism in India is also carving a niche for itself in Indian tourism industry attracting more and more tourists. The term 'sport tourism' basically means tourism that is based on the theme of sports. India is one of the regions in the world that is vastly catching up craze of sports tourism. Sports Tourism refers to travel which involves either observing or participating in a sporting event staying apart from their usual environment.


Hockey, the national game of India, is one of the top names in the game and has won several gold medals in the Olympic Games. Other popular sports in India include cricket, football, tennis, archery badminton and boxing. Formula one is another sport that is slowly but surely catching the fancy of Indians. As far popularity goes, the game of cricket has absolutely no competition in India. India won several major international cricket tournaments and this has further enhanced the popularity of the game in the country. Every foreign tourist who lands up in the country is sure to be greeted with scenes of children playing the sport in every ground and almost every street.

 
 
  A Hockey match between India and Pakistan


Travellers to India indulge in a wide range of sport activities for adding leisure to the vacations. Adventure activities like mountaineering, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, surfing, water scooting, and paragliding provide ample opportunities to sports lovers and enthusiasts to enjoy an invigorating vacation in India. Indian destinations that are popular for organising adventure activities are Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal and Andaman & NicobarIslands. The Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh has become a hub of adventure sports including trekking, skiing, river rafting and mountain cycling while Manali, Shimla and Kufri are renowned for their skiing spots. The wonderful coastal stretches of Indian states make it an attractive spot for aquatic sports lovers.

The idea of people travelling to participate and watch sport dates back to the ancient Olympic Games and the practice of stimulating tourism through sport has existed for over a century. Very recently sport and tourism professionals alike are realizing the significant potential of sport tourism in India and are aggressively pursuing the market place. Major sporting events have a notable impact on the development of tourism. International events such as world cups, the Olympics and Formula 1 Grand Prix always attract a large number of tourists and help in boosting the Indian tourism not only in the city but also the country as a whole. The happening of a major sporting event in a city like New Delhi, Mumbai which are also known for their rich cultural and historical values, helped the tourism industry grow in a commendable manner.

CRICKET

 
 
  Virat Kohli playing against Pakistan


Cricket is one of the world’s biggest international sporting events with millions of fans across the globe. There are several mega cricket events like World Cup cricket, T20 World cup cricket, International test series and One day international. The cricket-crazy country has hosted the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2008 which is a professional league for Twenty20 cricket competition in India. In India, IPL results in big tourist inflow and boosted our foreign exchange. Tourism from Cricket related revenue is normally the largest part of the economic impact of an event includes accommodation, food and beverage and other expenses. Direct event revenues include admission fees, sponsorships. Indirect and induced economic activity includes people and businesses re- spending revenue from an event in the community.

GOLF

 
 
  A girl hitting the ball while playing Golf


Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible. Golf, unlike most ball games, cannot and does not utilize a standardized playing area, and coping with the varied terrains encountered on different courses is a key part of the game. The game at the usual level is played on a course with an arranged progression of 18 holes, though recreational courses can be smaller, often having nine holes. Each hole on the course must contain a teeing ground to start from, and a putting green containing the actual hole or cup 4 1/4 inches (11 cm) in diameter. There are other standard forms of terrain in between, such as the fairway, rough (long grass), bunkers (or “sand traps”), and various hazards (water, rocks) but each hole on a course is unique in its specific layout and arrangement. Golf is played for the lowest number of strokes by an individual, known as stroke play, or the lowest score on the most individual holes in a complete round by an individual or team, known as match play. Stroke play is the most commonly seen format at all levels, but most especially at the elite level.

FOOTBALL

 
 
  Players defending the football in a match


Football has numberless fans across the world. It is India’s second most popular sport, next to the game of cricket. In this increasingly unified yet divided world, sports mega-events, particularly the FIFA world cup and EURO cup, have become high demand focal points that have symbolic value well beyond the results on the fields of sporting competition. Major sporting tournaments are regarded as event to be marketed and managed. The lure of large and spectacular sports’ events is an expedient way to attract media interest in a host city and nation, which, it is hoped, will translate into an influx of capital through tourism and new investment.

WRESTLING

 
 
  An Indian player in wrestling court


Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling-type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. The sport can either be genuinely competitive or sportive entertainment (see professional wrestling). Wrestling comes in different types such as folkstyle, freestyle, Greco-Roman, catch/submission, judo, sambo and others. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two (occasionally more) competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems. Wrestling represents one of the oldest forms of combat. The origins of wrestling go back 15,000 years through cave drawings. Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs show wrestlers using most of the holds known in the present-day sport. Literary references to it occur as early as the Old Testament and the ancient Indian Vedas. In the Book of Genesis, the Patriarch Jacob is said to have wrestled with God or an angel.[3] The Iliad, in which Homer recounts the Trojan War of the 13th or 12th century BC, also contains mentions of wrestling. Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata contain references to martial arts including wrestling. In ancient Greece wrestling occupied a prominent place in legend and literature; wrestling competition, brutal in many aspects, served as the focal sport of the ancient Olympic Games. The ancient Romans borrowed heavily from Greek wrestling, but eliminated much of its brutality.

TENNIS

 
 
  Sania Mirza playing Tennis


Tennis is another sport that is experiencing major growth in India. Global recognition of sport tourism from the game of tennis has been increasing in different part of world. As a result of this, the game of tennis is becoming more organized and structured.

Sporting events always helped counties to upgrade their services and get an overall uplift. They also offer the potential for regional identity enhancement, in which a successful event links the host community with imagery of healthy living, achievement and the outdoor environment.

Furthermore, major sporting event does leave a huge impact on the city where the event is organized as well as the country which has organized it and its tourism sector.

KABADDI

 
 
  Players stopping player to reach the line in a Kabaddi match


Kabaddi is a contact team sport played between two teams of seven players each. The objective of the game is for a single player on offense, referred to as a “raider”, to run into the opposing team’s half of a court, tag out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath. Points are scored tagged by the raider, while the opposing team earns a point for stopping the raider. Players are taken out of the game if they are tagged or tackled, but are brought back in for each point scored by their team from a tag or tackle. Kabaddi has been played at the Asian Games since 1990. The Indian national team had won every men’s and women’s kabaddi competition in the Asian Games from 1990 through 2014.

VOLLYBALL

 
 
  Players of two teams playing Vollyball


Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since Tokyo 1964. The complete set of rules is extensive, but play essentially proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a ‘rally’ by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team’s court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times, but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court.

BADMINTON

 
 
  Saina Nehwal playing in a match


Badminton is a racquet sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net on the Badminton court. Although it may be played with larger teams, the most common forms of the game are “singles” (with one player per side) and “doubles” (with two players per side). Badminton is often played as a casual outdoor activity in a yard or on a beach; formal games are played on a rectangular indoor court. Points are scored by striking the shuttlecock with the racquet and landing it within the opposing side’s half of the court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. Play ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor or if a fault has been called by the umpire, service judge, or (in their absence) the opposing side. The shuttlecock is a feathered or (in informal matches) plastic projectile which flies differently from the balls used in many other sports. In particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly.

(For full story read SAFARI INDIA)