Active Sport Tourism in the Hungarian Population: Current Trends and Perspectives
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In the past few decades, sport and tourism, two significant industries, have gone through a phase of rapid development. The relationship between the two fields is becoming more and more recognized by economic actors, policymakers and social scientists as well; nevertheless, there is a question of how widespread active sport tourism is in the different social groups of Hungarian society, and what the perspectives of sport tourism are as a leisure time activity in the future. The objective of the current paper is to answer these questions, based on survey research conducted in a representative sample (n=1027) of the Hungarian adult population. In the first phase of data analysis, the author focused on the following two questions: (1) What percentage of the population is engaged in doing regular physical exercise, and travelling during their holidays? (2) Is there a relationship between doing exercise and travelling? Based on the two dimensions (physical exercise and travelling) four groups could be separated, the in-depth analysis of the groups was carried out in the second phase of the data analysis. During this phase, the following questions were in focus: (1) How can the four groups be characterized concerning their socio-economic status? (2) What leisure activities are characteristic of them? (3) What can be said about the social networks of the members of these groups? (4) How can we characterize their attitudes to healthy lifestyle, and within this, sport? According to the results, the social basis of active sport tourism is not very wide. The majority of the Hungarian population is hindered by worsening living standards and worsening health levels, and by the lack of adequate knowledge about active sport tourism and the positive impact of it on the quality of life. A further problem is that although many people are familiar with the influence of lifestyle on health, and recognize the benefits of exercise in theory, in reality few people are involved in sporting activities, and for many, doing exercise is not a source of pleasure. That is why it is important that the messages referring to the positive impact of regular physical exercise reach the different social groups. In these messages, besides the often stressed health-preserving role, social and recreational aspects of sport as a leisure time activity should also be emphasized.
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