E2 PLACES Tourism and sport at the local and national scale

Key Question: How have physical and human factors shaped places into sites of leisure?

[Weeks 4 and 5] By the end of Week 5, you should be able to:

  • Explain how human and physical factors lead to the growth of rural and urban tourism hotspots including the role of primary and secondary touristic resources.
  • Discuss the variations in sphere of influence for different kinds of sporting and touristic facilities, including neighborhood parks and gyms, city stadiums and national parks.
  • Identify factors affecting the geography of a national sports league, including the location of its hierarchy of teams and the distribution of supporters.
  • Outline how large-scale sporting, musical, cultural or religious festivals serve as sites of leisure and their associated costs and benefits.

Text: Codrington, Chapter 18 (also available on Veracross) Codrington Chapter 18 – LST places

Part 1 – Tourism Hotspots

A. Determining what is a tourism hotspot.

Tourism hotspots are places that experience high levels of tourist arrivals. These places can also be called tourist honeypots.

Tourism hotspots usually have a very large number of visits at the same time. This can lead to seasonal hotspots and diurnal (daily)  hotspots.

  • Identify two examples of a seasonal and diurnal tourism hotspot?

Venice, Italy: Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) has been described as ‘the drawing room of Europe’ and is a favorite with the tens of thousands of daily visitors to the city.

Diurnal hotspots have high levels of visitors at certain times of day, such as day trippers who visit Venice. The city receives many tourists during the middle of the day and far fewer in the morning or late afternoon as people return to their cruise ships for the evening. The number of tourists peaks in the middle of the day as tourists arrive and gradually leave after lunch.

B. Reasons for hotspot growth

There are many factors that can encourage the growth of tourism in a specific area. These are in addition to the factors that increase tourism in general, such as increasing income, leisure time and infrastructure.

To develop into a tourism “Hotspots’ the place needs to have:

I. Attractions: primary tourist resources or some secondary tourist resource — ie attractions  == scenic landscapes , coastal resorts, heritage and historic building, but also the necessary

II. Tourist support facilities/ infrastructure — e.g. secondary resources like hotels and tourist shops/ entertainment  and tourist services , and infrastructure  such as  public facilities (toilets, electricity, water etc) so that tourist are comfortable.

III. Transport to the location both to the place ( an airport which is served by cheaper airlines) ensures may people can easily and cheaply visit the place.

C. Factors affecting the growth of rural and urban hotspots

Aside from the tourist resources in the destination itself, there are several other reasons why tourism hotspots grow.

I. Government Policy: Government policy can encourage the development of a tourist hotspot. Deliberately attracting tourists to one location can help keep other locations tourist free. This is very closely connected to the issue of ‘zoning’.

II. Zoning: Local government plans often involve the ‘zoning’ of an area. This means that some areas are put aside for conservation, others for tourism, others for local use, and so on. Each zone has specific activities within it. Tourist hotspots may develop in areas such as parts of a city centre, village centres or specific mountains that are deliberately chosen to develop the infrastructure required for large numbers of visitors.

III. Gateway/entry points: Several tourism hotpots are not actually destinations in themselves, but places where people have to pass through in order to get to the place they are aiming for. Due to the number of people passing through, these places often develop secondary tourist attractions in themselves, and become tourist centres. These places include Lukla in Nepal, which is the main town at the beginning of the trail to Everest Base Camp. Another example is towns on international borders where people can cross from one country to another, such as Calais in France which has a high number of visitors because it is the nearest continental port to the United Kingdom.

IV. Adverstising: Advertising and travel programs often promote the same locations to the extent they become very popular. For example, the Grand Canyon is known across the world as a primary tourist attraction, resulting in around five million tourist visitors each year (GrandCanyon.Com, 2017).

V. Word of mouth and social media:  Some places are less well known but still attract a large number of visitors as word of mouth travels. Social media, including sites like Instagram and Facebook, can ensure that travel trends spread quickly. This can sometimes result in the rapid development of a tourist hotspot to the extent that the local services cannot effectively cope. The Philippine island of Boracay was inundated by 1.56 million visitors in 2015, over the government’s target limit of 1.5 million (Burgos, 2016). The excessive tourism caused traffic jams, air and water pollution and lead many visitors to question the over-development of the island and its role in destroying the beach paradise promised on many social media posts.

Case Study: Harbin, China

Read: The Secret to Harbin’s Tourism Success: A Las Vegas-Style Snow Festival     DEBRA BRUNO    JAN 30, 2013

  • Read the article and identify all the factors that created this tourist hotspot.
  • Include primary and secondary tourist resources and other factors.

D. Tourism hotspots: Check-In

  1. Define ‘tourism hotspot’. [2]
  2. Give examples of tourism hotspots. [3]
  3. Describe the conditions necessary for tourism hotspots to develop. [4]
  4. Distinguish between a seasonal hotspot and a diurnal hotspot. [2]
  5. Suggest reasons why some locations experience tourism growth and become tourism hotspots. [4]

Part 2 – Urban Tourist Hotspots

A. Primary and secondary touristic resources in the Innerstad of Vienna

Use the TRIP ADVISOR SITE: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Neighborhood-g190454-n7714393-Inner_City-Vienna.html Only look at the INNERESTAD neighborhood and use the map view and the filters to explore some:

Primary tourist/recreational resources: The pre-existing attractions for tourism or recreation (that is, those not built specifically for the purpose), including climate, scenery, wildlife, indigenous people, cultural and heritage sites.

  • Write down some examples of the attractions that are primary tourist resources in the Innerestad:
  • Determine the most visited or top attraction in the Innerestad.

Secondary tourist/recreational resources: Facilities that have been built specifically for tourism and leisure e.g. accommodation, catering, entertainment and shopping.

  • Look at the secondary tourist resources here: hotels and restaurants
  • Describe the pattern of hotels you observed (how does it compare to the IA results)
  • Describe the pattern of restaurants — the problem is that not all of them are shown.
  • How do these resources influence growth?

B. Responses of urban areas to tourism

Choose one city and read the corresponding article with your partner, then summarize the main points in 3 or 4 sentences and share with the group. Research online if you can find a more recent article from 2019 for your city.

AMSTERDAM: Amsterdam Doesn’t Want Any More Stores for Tourists


So-called “Nutella Shops” are among the businesses now in the Dutch capital’s crosshairs.

FLORENCE: Florence Loses Its Mind Over Tourists Eating Sandwiches


Italians may be Europe’s greatest gastronomic hardliners, but this time they’ve gone too far.

VENICE: Venice Fights Back FEARGUS O’SULLIVAN   FEB 10, 2017

The world’s most beautiful city has never been more threatened. But a passionate movement of locals is determined to keep it alive.

BARCELONA Barcelona’s Fight Against Bar Crawls      FEARGUS O’SULLIVAN    JUL 8, 2015

It’s all part of the city’s struggle with its role as a tourism hotspot.

Part 3 – Geography of a National Sports League

By the end of this section you should be able to outline a case study of the factors that affect the geography of a national sports league.

You should be able to:

  • Describe the hierarchy of ONE national sports league
  • Explain the location its hierarchy of the teams.
  • Examine the distribution of the team supporters.
  • Analyze the relationship between the team’s success in the hierarchy and location .
  • Analyze the relationship between the team’s success and the supporter base.
  • Outline in detail a CASE STUDY of ONE national Sports League – Apply all of these questions to ONE NATIONAL SPORTS LEAGUE in detail.

A. Sports at a National Scale: a National Sports League

Key Terms –

Sports League: An organization that co-ordinates a group of individual clubs that play each other in a specific sport over a period of time for a championship.

E.g. group of locals that play against each other (international schools in one region) or a professional league (Premier league in the UK).

Hierarchy: Placing things in an order of importance, e.g. placing football leagues and football teams in an order of importance.

A national sports league:

 In a country, a number of leagues are tied together in a hierarchical fashion; i.e. teams from different places in the country compete against each other are grouped together in different  levels. The best teams get promoted to a higher division and the worst teams are relegated (do down) to a lower group.

They are often called pyramids, due to their tendency to split into an increasing number of regional divisions, the further down the pyramid one descends. League systems of some sort are used in most sports in most countries[1].

For example: Look at the diagram: The English Football League system


In North America, a similar league system exists, but without promotion or relegation. Teams are called “franchises” Most professional sports are divided into major and minor leagues[2]

I. Why have a national league system?

A team sport can choose among a variety of organizational forms. The first decision is to create a league. Teams form leagues in part because players, coaches and owners enjoy contesting for a championship, but the primary factor determining the form of professional leagues is its financial consequence. Leagues create the opportunity to market a game as both the contest itself and one of a series that leads to a championship. Because the quest for a championship generates fan interest, league matches leading to a championship are covered more extensively by the media, which thereby provide free promotion. Leagues also reduce transactions costs by enabling teams to coordinate scheduling, rather than relying on a series of bilateral agreements.

II. Location of the leagues hierarchy of teams

Where are the different teams and how is the team’s  location linked to the team’s position in the hierarchy?

  • For example- What do you think? Are teams from big cities more successful than teams from small towns?

There are several geographical factors that affect the location of sports teams. These include

  • Population of the nearby area
  • Affluence of the population
  • Relative interest in a sport compared to others
  • Cost of land (bid rent)
  • Existing land use
  • History

In most sports leagues, the teams towards the top of the league hierarchy are from larger, wealthier settlements. These teams generally have more supporters and more income from selling tickets and merchandise. They can spend this income on better players and facilities, and therefore become even more successful.

History is also important. Teams often play in sports grounds that have been a feature of the local urban area for decades. This is particularly the case in mature cities in Europe and North America, where sports teams often play in grounds in the inner city. If they were to try to buy the land today, the land would be too expensive, but when they were first built they were actually on the edge of the urban area and the land was available and cheap. This was when the spectators were living and working nearby in the factories which have now closed down. These facilities have been ‘left behind’ as the city grew around them, resulting in their central location.

However, this is no longer always the case. In the USA, it’s not uncommon for teams to move not just within cities but from one coast to another. The main reason for doing so is to generate higher revenue from advertising, sponsorship, and the sale of land when they vacate their old grounds.

US sports teams on the move. Source: Workom, n.d.. Map of US Sports Teams. http://workom.co/map-of-us-sports-teams.html#Accessed 13th November 2017.

In Europe this is less common but still does occur. For example, until 2003 Wimbledon Football Club was based in south London. It then moved to the satellite town of Milton Keynes as part of a development scheme in the new destination involving the Ikea furniture group and the Asda supermarket chain (owned by Walmart). The team changed its name to the Milton Keynes Dons. This hugely controversial decision was a political issue, as sports teams are a key feature of local identity.[3]

III. Distribution of Supporters

Where the supporters of each of the teams are from.

  • Examine the spatial relationship between where the team’s area and their supporter base. What patterns do you see?

London’s football supporters map:   http://bigthink.com/ideas/26493?page=all

  • Where are the supporters relative to the team’s location?
  • Are all the supporters from the same area as the team is from?
  • Do you support your local team?

Most supporters will come from the local area. Traditionally supporters are drawn from the same area as where the player come from, i.e. the place is represented by its local players. The centres of gravity for each ‘fanland’ tend to be around the home grounds of each teamThere are no clear boundaries between clubs. Some clubs have large fan base covering large areas – these tend to be successful clubs eg Westham However, there is not straightforward pattern — difficult to determine a trend.

Some supporters may be from other parts of the country. A few supporters may be from other parts of the world.

This is because:

-it is tradition to support the local team (entertainment / or locals participate (used to)

– people support their local team as games are easy to get to – roads, rail and bus.

– local team often does community work eg. visiting local schools and running soccer camps to encourage kids to become fans.

HOWEVER, some people who grew up in the local area may have moved away!

However, today the distribution of supporters can be much wider than the spatial limit of physical attendance at a match. There are several reasons:

  • Mass media – live satellite TV means that fans can watch in real time wherever they are in the world
  • Advertising – English Premier League teams are big business in much of Southeast Asia
  • Touring – teams tour new markets, such as basketball players in China or soccer players in Malaysia, bringing new interest in the game
  • Socio-cultural globalization – as cultures merge together and information flows more freely, interests from one culture can be passed to another
  • International events – as some events such as the Olympics and the soccer World Cup become ever more popular, interest is generated in the leagues and smaller competitions that lead into the larger international scale event
  • Success –> increase fan base from bandwagon supporters
  • International scope of supporters – Better teams have more money to buy more expensive foreign players.  Eg. Many people from Ivory Coast supported Chelsea because of Drogba.

IV. Sphere of influence of a team’s sports facility

Sphere of influence: The average distance people are willing to travel to get to a particular service, in this case a stadium

  • What is the sphere of influence of the team’s stadium?
  • Find at an example where a stadium has moved away from its team. 

B. Case Study of a National Sports League

Create an infographic/poster for a National Sports League of your choice. Your research should include the following: 

  • Introduction to your national league
  • Description and map / diagram of the hierarchy structure and how it is relates to the location of teams
  • Include some data on the recent success of teams
  • Analysis of geographic factors influencing the success of teams
  • Analysis of statistics about supporter attendance or other indicators of size and a team’s success in the league.
  • Examine any other interesting geographic factors determining the relationship between the supporter base and the team’s success 

Choose either:  USA Basketball or a national football league of your choice.




“Case study: NBA league in North America”


 Here is a list of professional sports leagues


C. Check In – National Sports League 

  1. Identify three geographical factors that may affect the distribution of league teams. [3]
  2. Suggest why the most successful teams are often those from large, wealthy urban areas. [4]
  3. Discuss the relationship between historical factors and the location of teams and their home grounds today. [6]
  4. Explain how sports leagues such as the English Football Premier League have fans distributed globally. [4]
  5.  Explain the hierarchy of a league and the location of its teams (5 marks)
  6. Analyze the relationship between team location and the residence of its supporters (5 marks).
  7. Analyze the relationship between team location and the team’s success in the league. (5 marks).
  8. Examine the factors affecting the geography of a national sports league. (10)
  9. “A successful team needs to be close to its supporter base”. Discuss this statement (10 marks)

Part 4 – Temporary Sites of Leisure

A site of leisure is any place in which a leisure activity takes place. Most sites are permanent – such as a football stadium, a swimming pool, a hiking trail or a ski slope. The actual leisure activity may not always be taking place, but the facilities that they use are always there. For example, many ski lifts are not dismantled at the end of the winter season; they are used for the summer hiking tourists.

A temporary leisure site is one that is not continually used for that leisure activity.Temporary sites are sites that are returned to another use after the leisure activity has taken place. Example: farmers’ fields that are used for music festivals, such as the Glastonbury Music Festival held on Worthy Farm (along with land from over twenty other farms), England. The site is normally a dairy farm, with the cows temporarily moved to other farms during the months the site is preparing, hosting and cleaning up after the music festival (Vincent, 2017).

A. Consequences of temporary sites of leisure

Temporary sites of leisure must cope with large numbers of people using the site at the same time, followed by periods with little or no use. The intensive use can bring specific problems that are harder to manage than sites of permanent leisure activity:

I. Economic  – Visitors can bring an economic boost to the area for local business. This can be direct and indirect:

  • Direct: People are employed by the activity itself for security, ticket sales, construction, cleaning, traffic management and so on.
  • Indirect: Nearby businesses may benefit from the additional customers for food, drinks, transport (including car parking), accommodation and so on.

However, there can be negative economic impacts too:

  • Not everyone benefits from the event – some people may experience a downturn in their business. Prices may rise, so local people struggle to afford products
  • Associated problems such as traffic congestion may increase costs for some businesses

II. Social – Social benefits include:

  • Heightened cultural awareness
  • Local people can attend an event that they might not otherwise be able to travel to
  • Increased aspiration – local people may be motivated to participate in activities they otherwise might not be aware of

However, negative social impacts include:

  • Overcrowding – too many people in the area
  • Crime – an increase in petty theft
  • Breakdown of existing social structures – the sense of community can be disrupted

III. Environmental – While most events struggle with the environmental issues, there can be positives too. For example, some events – such as the Panama festival in the Lone Star Valley in Tasmania, Australia, had a very clear sustainable focus and resulted in almost no litter being left behind after the event, indicating that the festival had successfully promoted its message of sustainability (Brice, 2017). Aspects are improving,

Unfortunately, most events struggle to cope with the environmental impact. One of the main reasons is the lack of permanence, leading to the need for disposable materials to be used (paper plates, plastic forks, and so on). Other problems include:

  • Noise pollution
  • Traffic congestion and associated air pollution
  • Waste disposal
  • Lack of recycling facilities

IV. Political – Political issues can be seen as a subset of social issues. Political benefits can include:

  • Communal decision making
  • Community priorities being emphasized to a wider audience
  • Civic pride – the community is proud of their ability to host an event

However, there can be problems:

  • Disagreement about the use of the location can divide communities
  • The benefits for one group can override the negatives for another group
  • Decisions about the future of the event can be taken by a small and unaccountable group, e.g. landowners or event organizers, at the expense of the majority of people in the area
  • Local government may not have the capability to effectively deal with the problems caused by the event, especially for large events that overwhelm the ability of the authorities to adequately plan for the event


  • Identify an example of a of large scale sporting, musical , cultural or religious festival which transform a place into a temporary sites of leisure for a limited time period in a RURAL Justify your examples to your partner.  
  • Outline 4 or 5 unique GEOGRAPHIC IMPACTS for the rural PLACE when hosting a temporary festival.

B. Case Study Analysis – Coachella – Festival on a Rural Temporary Site of Leisure

Coachella Festival

C. Check In – Temporary Sites of Leisure

  1. What is a temporary site of leisure? [1]
  2. Why might some people consider a site of leisure to be permanent, while others consider it to be temporary? (Think about the nature of the activity and how long the site is used.) [2]
  3. Outline the costs and benefits of using a location as a temporary site of leisure. [6]
  4. What factors affect the overall balance between the costs and the benefits? [4]
  5. Suggest why large temporary events often cause conflict amongst local people. [4]