The Mid-west – The Sport Tourism Capital of Europe?

Tapping into the Sport Tourism Market

BDO says annual €800m to economy can be multiplied

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W2 Consulting Director Keith Wood pictured in Thomand Park with Ger Holliday Partner at BDO Limerick

W2 Consulting Director Keith Wood pictured in Thomand Park with Ger Holliday Partner at BDO Limerick


The spend of a sport tourism visitor is double that of a normal tourist with sport tourism generating €800 million annually for the Irish economy.

However BDO Limerick says this figure can be ‘multiplied’ if a strategy is employed by Goverment and by business leaders to maximise what has being described as an under-exploited market.

Ger Holliday, Partner at BDO Limerick says the mid-west can and should become the Sport Tourism Capital of Europe just as Dublin has become the Digital Capital of Europe for big names such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google.

“Limerick is known as a leader in sport education, for its experience in hosting major sporting events and even for nurturing sporting talent so why can’t we lead out on sport tourism?”

He was speaking at the launch of BDO’s partnership as Business Advisors to the inaugural European Sport Tourism Summit which takes place in Thomand Park on May 15th.

W2 Consulting has chosen Limerick as the host city of this major international event which will see some of the leading names in sport convene for what’s hoped will be an annual event.

“It’s a meeting of the best international sporting minds with a view to positioning the mid-west as a centre of excellence for Sport Tourism. We should gravitate to it naturally given our long history and success in the sporting arena,” says Ger Holliday.

A BDO analysis of the economic impact of Thomond Park and Heineken Cup games in Limerick estimated that the daily expenditure of a sports tourist was double that of a regular visitor.

The value of sport tourism to the Irish economy is €800 million annually with a soon to be launched national strategy to develop the sector further. However, W2 Consulting Director Keith Wood, has identified this tourism niche as an area of natural strength for Ireland to develop.

Keith Wood says that the Business Advisory partnership with BDO will develop a broader offering in this sector.

“We believe the €800 million sport tourism sector in Ireland can be a multiple of that if we approach it more strategically and in a more coherent manner. We will be working with BDO in developing a fully integrated sport tourism offering bringing all respective industry knowledge together to deliver a strong service alliance.”

International Speakers

The first European Sport Tourism Summit will include speakers such as Martin Snedden, CEO New Zealand Rugby World Cup 2011 who successfully led the delivery of the Rugby World Cup 2011 and was also a key figure in the successful bid by New Zealand and Australia to host the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Tim Crow is the CEO of Synergy Sports Sponsorship who are involved in events from Socchi to Rio. Rick Traer is the CEO of the Canadain Sports Tourism Alliance who have a proven national sports tourism delivery model in place.

The inaugural 2015 European Games in Baku will be represented by Neil Carney, Director of Venue Planning. The impact of the Premier League on a host city will be discussed by Cardiff City’s Julian Jenkins.

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BDO is a firm of registered auditors and is registered to carry on audit work in Ireland and the UK by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Details about our audit registration can be viewed at under reference number 223876. BDO is also authorised to carry on investment business in the Republic of Ireland by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.