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Keith Wood Joins WTM’s Sport Tourism Team

Keith Wood Joins WTM’s Sport Tourism Team

World Travel Market 2014 will be assessing the relationship between sporting events and the travel industry during its Sport Tourism programme, and a number of high-calibre sports tourism professionals, including Keith Wood, will be at WTM to give their views and assessments about the potential for destinations to capitalise on high-profile forthcoming sport events. WTM Sports Tourism

The WTM Sport Tourism programme, which is sponsored by Eurosport, kicks off on Tuesday 4th November from 15.45-17.00, with a session called Rugby World Cup 2015 – the Potential for Sport Tourism, which will look at the opportunities available when the Rugby World Cup is held in England next year. Held over six weeks, the Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s largest sports events and a major catalyst for sport tourism in the host countries.

‘Propping’ up the session will be former British & Irish Lion and captain of Ireland Keith Wood – now a successful strategic planner for the sport and tourism sectors – who will moderate a panel of experts from the world of rugby, sport, global events and host destinations. 
After leaving the world of professional rugby playing, Keith founded W2 Consulting, which specialises in project evaluation and strategic planning in the sport and tourism sector.

On his team for the session will be a number of experts, including Brett Gosper, Chief Executive of the International Rugby Board and Managing Director of Rugby World Cup Ltd, who is also a former rugby player and former advertising executive.

The session will look at the success of New Zealand, which launched a wide-scale national sport tourism strategy around its hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, which resulted in significant sport, economic, social and promotional benefits for the host country.

Session two, Future Trends in Sport Tourism as a Destination Development Strategy, will take place on Wednesday 5th November from 10.00-11.00. The session will be overseen by sport tourism expert Professor Terry Stevens, who will lead a discussion identifying the key trends for the sector and how regions are embracing sport tourism as part of their destination development strategy.

He will be joined by a panel of major event organisers, host destinations and sports marketing experts, including;

  • Mike Laflin, a former athlete and now Chief Executive, Sportcal, one of the leading authorities on global sports market intelligence
  •  Lars Lundov, Chief Executive, Sport Event Denmark, which has secured over 250 international sports events for the country.

Simon Press, WTM Senior Director, said: “Sport tourism is acknowledged as the tourism industry’s fastest growing sector and national and regional destinations are recognising the huge potential of hosting sport tourism as a key element of their destination marketing and growth development.

“It’s not just the mega events such as the FIFA World Cup and Rugby World Cup that reap rewards – destinations and regions are also realising locally hosted events have much to offer their tourism prospects.”

Vincent David, Marketing Deputy Director, Eurosport, added: “Sport tourism currently accounts for more than 10% of the global travel and tourism industry. Eurosport can therefore help this industry sector grow further by putting a destination on the map and into millions of homes across the world through its unrivalled Pan-European reach and highly engaged global audience. The Eurosport Group works with 60 tourism boards and so WTM is the perfect place for us to meet with existing partners and potential new clients.”

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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