Its contemporary definition could be summed up as spending at least one night away from home with the aim of seeing or doing a sporting activity”, according to Marc Langenbach, lecturer in the geography of tourism and sport at Grenoble Alpes University. 

Sports tourism is a fundamental axis, generating around 10% of the world’s expenditure on tourism. It has an estimated growth rate of 17.5% between 2023-2030, moving masses intra and intercontinentally. Sports tourism can promote social, economic and environmental action, it accelerates development and can leave a long-lasting positive legacy.

In this context, the growing popularity of major sporting events, such as tournaments and international competitions, is an essential lever for tourist destinations wishing to develop their appeal. The challenge, however, remains how best to link these major tourist events with more local sporting activities. 

Le tourisme sportif réunit des passionnés d'une discipline, qu'ils soient pratiquants ou non.

Olympic Games 2024: a positive or negative impact on tourism? 

The most popular example for this year is of course the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which is estimated to attract no fewer than 15.3 million visitors to the capital! With a unique opportunity for Paris to shine as a sporting tourist destination, while also promoting Parisian culture and history. 

However, as Jean-François Rial, ex-president of the Paris tourist board, notes in the article “JO de Paris 2024 : le grand flou des retombées touristiques“, “we can expect a long-term benefit, but there will undoubtedly be a negative effect on 2024“. 

Indeed, difficulties are to be expected in terms of traffic and infrastructure, increased cost of living for locals, as well as costly maintenance of facilities once the Olympics are over. 

Efforts have been made to address these issues, for example by controlling the price of temporary accommodation for the duration of the Games, and by planning to convert the Olympic Village into a new living quarter as early as 2025 (and thus meet the need for new housing in Seine St Denis). 

The city also emphasized the development of active transportation, with: 

  • the promise to build 60km of cycle paths linking the Olympic facilities (the “Olympistes”) 
  • the creation of 10,000 temporary bicycle parking spaces around competition venues 
  • 3,000 additional Vélib’ bicycles put into service. 

These initiatives have the dual effect of facilitating access to Olympic facilities, while at the same time linking local sporting activities to this international competition. 

Sports tourism and local practice 

Another example of this linkage is the “Paris 2024 Legacy” initiative for the future reuse of facilities to develop amateur sport after the event. For example, the Olympic Aquatics Center, built for the Games, will be transformed into a swimming center open to the public after 2024. 

Pour les JO de Paris 2024 la ville de Paris va créer de nouvelles infrastructures cyclables.

The Games have also stimulated the creation of several amateur sports programs, such as “Sentez-Vous Sport”, which encourages sporting activities in companies, or “Olympic Day”, a day dedicated to sporting activities in Parisian schools. Finally, the Games should also help to develop amateur sport in the field of disability, with the creation of new accessible infrastructures and the promotion of adapted sport. 

Analyze attendance, measure benefits 

But how can we quantify the impact of sport tourism in the short and long term, typically in the case of the Olympic and Paralympic Games? 

Attendance data is essential in this respect, as it enables to assess the real impact of an event, and to objectify the way it is felt. 

The expertise that Eco-Counter has been able to develop to provide keys to understanding involves pooling different data sources to build observatory projects that combine quantitative data (how many visits?) and qualitative data (who are my visitors? where do they come from? what are the economic benefits?): the VisitorFlow solution. 

In May 2021, Eco-Counter was selected by the Mobility Committee for an observatory project combining footfall data (obtained by Eco-Counter systems) and data provided by Geovelo. The aim is to gain precise knowledge of usage around these facilities, as well as the attractiveness of outstanding sites during the events of the 2024 Olympic Games. 

This combination of data is at the heart of the Cycling Insights solution, now available in France and internationally, and already used by several French cities, including Montpellier. 

The data and their combination enable us to measure, on a day-to-day basis, the real impact and spin-offs of sports tourism, in everyday practice and during exceptional events. 

Communicating the benefits of sport 

One last important aspect of promoting sports tourism, particularly in the context of events: communication! 

Our Eco-DISPLAY displays are being used more and more frequently to communicate on these subjects, and will be particularly useful for promoting active mobility during the Olympic Games. It’s a safe bet that the systems already in place will record peak ridership on rue de Rivoli, Boulevard Sébastopol and quai d’Austerlitz! 


L'afficheur de données de comptage Eco-DISPLAY Classic+ a deux faces entièrement personnalisables que vous pouvez adapter à votre communication du moment.

As above for the start of the Tour de France in Denmark, the design of the furniture, like the scrolling text, is also fully customizable, a great opportunity to communicate and disseminate messages to encourage cycling and walking! 

Would you like to know more about the installation of Eco-DISPLAY displays, their customization, or to obtain complete studies on sports and/or urban tourism?