GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Tourism Planning with Sport in the GCC Countries: Opportunities and Challenges
Paper Proposal Text :
Mr Neil Graney
Tourism Planning with Sport in the GCC Countries: Opportunities and Challenges
Department of Sport Development
Northumbria University
Newcastle Upon-Tyne
United Kingdom
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When revealed in 2009, the Dubai Strategic Plan identified tourism as a key growth area to diversify the oil reliant economy. The plan sets out to attract 20million annual visitors by 2020, to aid this ambitious growth target a multi-billion dollar project called Dubailand was unveiled. Self labelled as the worlds most ambitious Leisure, Tourism and Entertainment destination, Dubailand would offer 3billion sq ft of theme parks, culture, arts, shopping, residential areas, hotels and sport to visiting tourists.
Sport was identified as one of the key tourism industries. Since the early 1990’s leading global cities have acknowledged sport as a key driver to assist urban renewal and regeneration. Smith (2007, 2009, 2010) Gold and Gold (2008) and Sadd (2010) highlight the positive social and economic impact of staging mega or major events, whilst identifying the development of ‘sport city zones’ as tourism sources for urban areas. GCC countries have seen a rapid increase in the development and staging of professional sport over the last 20 years. For example, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi regularly feature on the Formula 1 circuit, whilst the ATP Tennis Tour and European Golf Tour regularly feature in the region. More recently International test playing cricket teams have trained and toured in the in UAE and in 2006 Doha (Qatar) hosted the Asian Games. In recognition of this development, FIFA announced that Qatar would host the 2022 Football World Cup, amidst controversy around the actual bidding process and Qatar’s lack of experience in hosting such a global event.
The development of legacies left by such sport events has mirrored developments within the generic urban planning and tourism development processes. Since the early 1990’s, clear links can be made between the ‘new urbanism’ movement and the requirements of hosting large scale professional sport events. After identifying these developments in further detail, the paper will propose current opportunities sport provides in collaboration with urban and tourism development; it will discuss case study models of urban planning which have successfully delivered urban development, tourism objectives and sport collectively in global cities such as Barcelona, Melbourne and Manchester. The paper will shift focus to explore the challenges faced by Dubai, (UAE) and other tourist destinations in the GCC, to provide a sporting infrastructure which delivers tourism growth and longevity within key tourism markets, whilst also acknowledging broader urban planning and renewal objectives.
Particular focus will identify the socio-cultural impacts and implications of tourism development following the objectives of ‘new urbanism’, shifting the focus from economic goal attainment, to focus on the planning and delivery of sport infrastructure and its impact upon society.
Key words – tourism, sport, urban planning, society