Saturday, April 23, 2016

Florence-Lauderdale Sports Tourism?

What is sports tourism? Sports Tourism is defined as a specific travel outside of the usual environment for either passive or active involvement in competitive sport where sport is the prime motivational reason for travel and the touristic or leisure element may act to reinforce the overall experience.

Is Lauderdale County, and more specifically Florence, a target for sports tourism? Let's look at Lauderdale sport by sport:

1. Football/basketball/baseball - The University of North Alabama attracts tourists for its football program. The other two sports may also attract out of towners to a lesser degree. Their stay would usually be just overnight.

2. Tennis - Here's hoping we get those long promised new courts, but how many out of towners would come just for the pleasure of playing on them?

3. Fishing - Rogersville gets a gold star in this, but didn't the board say just last year that it wanted to concentrate less on promoting fishing in the area, that it wanted to branch out? Yes, but now we're back to the original question of what other sports areas? (After the Town of Rogersville's recent behavior, we're highly recommending Savannah, Tennessee, if you feel an overpowering need to fish.)

4. Skeet & Trap - A sport limited in appeal and another one that would probably entail only a one night stay over.

5. Boat Racing - The area has held some minor races before, but not any major meets. Is there room on the circuit for a new entry?

6. National Swim or Snow Ski Meets - Is there anyone out there who thinks the income derived from these tourists would ever offset the costs of facilities?

7. Golf - Sorry; they'll just go to Colbert County.

8. Wrestling - No comment.

9. Anything else - We're sure we've left something out, so we're happy to accept comments for an upgrade to this list.

In short, sports tourism is one of those terms that may sound good on paper, but is hardly suited to Lauderdale County's geographical location or current amenities. So why did Rob Carnegie, current Florence-Lauderdale Tourism CEO, suggest it? Perhaps it's much like his last idea of a barbecue cook off--recycling saves time and thought.

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