The Prospect of Sports Tourism in Cyprus: A Research Proposal
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The Prospect of Sports Tourism in Cyprus
paper presents a research proposal on the prospect of sports tourism in Cyprus.
The author believes that sports tourism in the country would be feasible. Cyprus
has a combination of ideal weather and terrain makes
that makes it a great place for diverse athletics activities all year round. At
the seashore there is swimming, sailing, parasailing, body surfing and scuba
diving. Fishing is another popular activity. The country’s more than 200
kilometers of nature trails are ideal for hikers. Other potential sport
activities include horseback riding at the Lapatsa Sporting Center southwest of
Nicosia; skiing on Mount Olympus; tennis throughout Cyprus, bike riding in many
areas and towns; and golf.
While definitions of tourism are well accepted and fairly consistent throughout the world, definitions of sports tourism range from narrow ones involving travel solely for participation in competitive sporting activity to broader definitions where the “sporting” activity might be more leisure or adventure activity incidental to the main purpose of travel. For the purpose of this study, the author adapts Australia’s definition of sports tourism. Australia, for the purposes of developing its National Sports Tourism Strategy, defined sports tourism according to its classifications; domestic sports tourism and international sports tourism. The first is defined as any sports-related trip of over 40 kms and involving a stay of at least one night away from home; while the second is any trip to Australia a prime purpose of which is to participate in a sporting activity, either as a spectator, participant or official.
Background of the Study
International tourism remains a consistently productive industry in a volatile global economy. Tourism and travel make up one of the world’s largest industries. In 1999 the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) also reports that across the global economy, travel and tourism generates, directly and indirectly: 11% of GDP; 200 million jobs; 8% of total employment; and 5.5 million new jobs per year until 2010. World Tourism Organization (WTO) data for 1999 show that 663 million people spent at least one night in a foreign country, up 4.1 per cent over the previous year. Spending on international tourism reached US$453 billion — a growth rate of nearly 3 per cent over 1998 (WTO, 2002).
These results are in line with WTO's long-term growth forecast Tourism: 2020 Vision which predicts that the tourism sector will expand by an average of 4.1 per cent a year over the next two decades. Annual international arrivals are expected to surpass one billion by the year 2010 and reach 1.6 billion by the year 2020 (WTO, 2002). Reasons for this sustained growth include greater disposable income in tourism generating countries, and, especially in some of the emerging economies of Asia, more leisure time, earlier retirement, improvements in infrastructure and transport (particularly air transport), and changes in consumer spending preferences.
With the evolution of tourism industry, comes the commercialisation of tourism (Urry, 1990). Evidence shows that over the last four decades, the dominant model of tourism production has been shifting from Fordist mass tourism to post-Fordism model of tourism production (Urry, 1990). Basically, Fordism is a stage in the development of 20th century capitalism. It is marked by intense relationships between governments, unions, and international capital (Urry, 1990). Moreover, Urry (1990), states that distinct divisions associated with the Fordist model are being broken down because the era of mass communication has transformed the taste of tourists.
The mass consumption of a standardized product is a guide to new ways of competing and co-operating (Williams & Montanari, 1995). Increasingly, changing cultural values, business and national competition for tourism, and improvements in Information and Communication technology (ICT) are all facilitating greater emphasis on more individualistic or specialized forms of holidays (Williams & Montanari, 1995).
Tourism is an "invisible" industry, encompassing transportation, lodging, and entertainment (Harrill & Potts, 2003). Unfortunately, tourism is also invisible to many planners, so tourism development is often left to private developers and leisure service providers. Scholarship on tourism planning remains scarce some 15 years after it was announced as one of planning's "emerging specializations" (Inskeep, 1988, p. 360). Given tourism's substantial social, economic, and environmental impacts--positive and negative--planners can no longer afford to dismiss tourism as tangential to other planning functions.
Sports and active recreation have become very large and successful industries worldwide. A 1994 European Commission Report on the European Community and Sport estimated that the sports industry is responsible for 2.5 per cent of world trade. The factors influencing the growth of sport and recreation are similar to those influencing tourism growth - notably increased disposable income, greater availability of leisure time and changing consumer preferences. An increased awareness of the benefits for all ages of greater physical activity has also been important. In addition, the role of the media in promoting sports has been critical.
A number of factors have contributed to this greater international media attention on sport and recreation, especially in western economies: (1) increased demand for sports programming from television broadcasters to meet consumer demand, the advent of dedicated sports channels (e.g.. Fox Sports, ESPN, C7 Sports), and the availability of satellite technology allowing live coverage; (2) increased prominence of professional sports persons across a range of sports, e.g. golf, tennis, basketball, baseball, surfing, rugby and soccer; (3) large amounts of money being spent by corporations directly and indirectly sponsoring events, teams and individuals for commercial advantage; and (4) sports associations becoming more like large-scale business enterprises.
The growth of sports tourism can also be attributed to: (5) growth of merchandise associated with particular sports, sporting activities and sporting teams; (6) significant advertising, promotion, and activity associated with high-profile international sporting events, e.g. the Olympic Games, soccer World Cups, Grand Slam tennis, Formula One Grand Prix, and national sporting competitions; and (7) increasing opportunities for participation, especially in western economies, through changing leisure patterns, ageing of the population, increased disposable income, and increased awareness of the benefits of physical activity.
Significantly, perhaps, the sports market, and hence the sports tourism market, is becoming increasingly internationalized. As previously mentioned, the availability of sports-only TV channels which display sports from numerous countries around the world, as well as increasing coverage of an ever-expanding range of sporting events through more mainstream media outlets, means there is an increasing awareness of the range of sporting activities being pursued around the world including in countries such as Cyprus.
Sports Tourism and Postmodernism
The terms "postmodernism" and "postmodernity" are associated with diverse interrelated phenomena that developed after World War II in varied spheres of activity, such as art, architecture, science, politics, cinema, sports, and tourism (Denzin, 1991). Inconsistent use of these terms is recognized even by scholars who promote the postmodern perspective. Bouman (1992) suggested that "postmodernity means many different things to many different people" (p. vii). However, Cohen, Reichel, Scwartz and Uriely refer the term postmodernity as a particular set of generalized developments that may constitute a new cultural paradigm and social consciousness (e.g., Lash & Urry, 1987; Rojek, 1995; Urry, 1990).
Among the various developments associated with the notion of postmodern tourism, one could point to the proliferation of simulated environments and "hyperreal" experiences, the growing awareness of the natural, the rise of small and specialized travel agencies, and the growing attraction of nostalgia and heritage tourism. Nevertheless, a complete discussion of these varied developments in the field of tourism is beyond the scope of this paper.
Specific attention is paid in this study to the phenomenon of de-differentiation, which is recognized as one of the most fundamental features of the postmodern era (Lash & Urry, 1987,1994; Urry, 1990). In this context, the modern period has been characterized by horizontal and vertical processes of differentiation between normative, aesthetic, and institutional spheres of social activity. Horizontally, these processes involve the development of distinct fields of activity, each with its own conventions and modes of evaluation. Vertically, these processes are responsible for traditional distinctions between "high" and "low" culture, or between the consumption of fine art and popular pleasure. The postmodern condition, by contrast, involves a breakdown in the distinctiveness of each of these spheres of social activity.
The notion of de-differentiation was applied in the tourism literature by scholars stressing the decreasing distinctiveness of tourism as a field of social activity (Lash & Urry, 1994; Munt, 1994; Urry, 1990). In this context, Lash and Urry (1994) suggested that tourism could once be characterized by three forms of exchange relationships: financial exchange for rights to occupy mobile property, financial exchange for temporary possession of accommodations and facilities away from home, and financial exchange for ability to gaze at unfamiliar sites. Currently, however, these forms of exchange are no longer confined to tourism practices and may occur in various contexts of everyday life, such as shopping, eating-out, sports, education, and so on. In the era of mass media and simulated environments, this trend is primarily evident with respect to the aspect of visual consumption. Consequently, Lash and Urry (1994) indicated a process through which people become tourists most of the time, whether they are taking a vacation or conducting daily activities. They label the decreasing distinctiveness of tourism as a particular sphere of activity as the "end of tourism."
A similar process of horizontal de-differentiation between tourism and the routine of everyday life is delineated by Munt (1994), who argues that "tourism is everything and everything is tourism" (p.104). In this context, he mentions the growing tendency to combine a variety of activities, such as adventure trekking, climbing, skiing, and mountain biking with tourism. More significantly, he stresses the penetration of the domain of tourism by intellectual activities, such as the proliferation of ecological, archeological, anthropological, and scientific types of tourism. In addition to the intellectualization of tourism, he points out a process of "professionalisation" in the consumption of tourism. In this context, Munt (1994) suggests that the separation of occupational professionalism and the consumption of leisure are beginning to blur.
Statement of the Problem
This research will determine the general attitude of Cyprus citizens towards sports tourism.
Most tourism planners consider maintaining and improving resident-tourist relations critical to the long-term viability of tourism destinations (Ap & Crompton, 1998). Resident attitudes toward tourism development range along a continuum from negative to positive. Milman and Pizam (1988) found that despite positive feelings toward tourists, residents often noted specific negative impacts. These impacts included increases in unsafe traffic conditions, crime, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Benefits perceived by residents included increased employment opportunities, income, tax revenues, and quality of life. Many tourism researchers have assumed that determining sources of negative impacts can result in policies that mitigate them and improve resident attitudes (e. g., Lankford, 1994). McCool and Martin (1994) hypothesized that residents with strong feelings of community attachment were more likely to have negative attitudes toward tourism development than less attached residents, but their results refuted this notion.
During the years of mass tourism after World War II, the tourism industry stressed tourism's positive economic benefits. By the 1970s, however, researchers such as Jordan (1980) began documenting negative social, economic, and environmental impacts of tourism. Over the last 20 years, a more balanced perspective has emerged, with researchers investigating both positive and negative impacts as reflected in resident attitudes (Ap & Crompton, 1998). Mental states or dispositions, attitudes are "reinforced by perceptions and beliefs of reality, but are closely related to deeply held values and even to personality-unlike opinions, they do not change quickly" (Getz, 1994, p. 247). Resident attitudes are now recognized by tourism researchers as related to both the processes and outcomes of tourism development (Lindberg &Johnson, 1997).
Although many research articles address attitudes toward tourism development, few researchers examine this issue with community attachment. Um and Crompton (1987) suggested measuring resident attachment levels in a host community as length of residence, birthplace, and ethnic heritage. McCool and Martin (1994) examined relationships between tourism attitudes, length of residence, level of tourism development, and feelings of community attachment. Williams, McDonald, Riden, and Uysal (1995) measured community attachment as length of residence, age, and income, and Jurowski (1998) asked respondents to rate their quality of life and satisfaction with the community as a place to live.
Um and Crompton (1987) found that resident perceptions of tourism impacts on environmental quality did not relate significantly to attachment levels. However, the authors did find that, except for the environmental dimension, the more attached residents were to a community in terms of length of residence, birthplace, and heritage, the less positively they perceived tourism development impacts in their community. Conversely, McCool and Martin (1994) reported that strongly attached residents rated the positive dimension of tourism higher than unattached residents, although they were more concerned about sharing the costs of tourism development. Similarly, Williams et al. (1995) found that residents with high levels of attachment, measured as regional identity, tended to be more supportive of tourism development than less attached residents. Jurowski (1998) reported that residents with stronger feelings for their community were more supportive of tourism development and more optimistic about the impacts of tourism on the quality of life in their community.
Purpose and Objectives of the Study
Generally, the purpose of the study is to conduct a descriptive study on the possibility of developing sports tourism in Cyprus. Specifically, the study aims to:
1. Assess the sports tourism environment in Cyprus,
2. Analyse people’s attitude on sports tourism by conducting survey and interview.
This study will use descriptive research method. This type of research method uses observation and surveys. In this method, it is possible that the study would be cheap and quick. It could also suggest unanticipated hypotheses. Nonetheless, it would be very hard to rule out alternative explanations and especially infer causations. This descriptive type of research utilised observations in this study. Descriptive research is a type of research that is primarily concerned with describing the nature or conditions and degree in detail of the present situation (Landman, 1988; Creswell, 1994). The emphasis is on describing rather than on judging or interpreting. The aim of descriptive research is to verify formulated hypotheses that refer to the present situation in order to elucidate it.
This study utilizes two sources of research: primary and secondary. Primary research data will be obtained through this new research study. Questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews will be conducted. On the other hand, the secondary research data will be obtained from previous studies on the same topic.
The research described in this document will be based on qualitative research methods. Qualitative approaches to research are based on a "world view" which is holistic. Under these approaches, it is believed that there is not a single reality; reality is based upon perceptions that are different for each person and change over time; and What we know has meaning only within a given situation or context.
This study will also employ qualitative research methods because I intend to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research. Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the Cyprus culture will be analysed.
Furthermore qualitative research can be multimethod in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Accordingly, qualitative researchers deploy a wide range of interconnected methods, hoping always to get a better fix on the subject matter at hand.
The reasoning process used in qualitative research involves perceptually putting pieces together to make wholes. From this process meaning is produced. However, because perception varies with the individual, many different meanings are possible.
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