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Tourism All-Stars Court Sporty Travelers

When LeBron James recently announced his decision to play for the Miami Heat next season, the press and the fans went wild—but perhaps no group was more elated than the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. The CVB is hoping this NBA coup will attract more visitors—particularly international visitors—to South Florida.

It’s not the first time a destination has leaned on an all-star athlete to be a tourism MVP by promoting the area’s draws. Soccer star and Los Angeles transplant David Beckham currently appears in a TV commercial promoting California travel; basketball legend Michael Jordan helped put Chicago on the map as a major destination in the 1980s and ’90s.

An influx of spectators isn’t unique to US sports-star towns: according to the UK’s Independent, sports tourism is the “fastest growing sector of the global travel and tourism industry,” with the World Cup and the Olympics representing just two highlights of sporty travelers’ calendars. ESPN even devotes an entire section of its website to travel.

I’ve never chosen a destination based on whom I could see play there, but then again, I’m far from a devoted sports nut. Have you or anyone you know planned a trip around a player or team? And do you think having LeBron on the court at American Airlines Arena will help lift Miami’s tourism industry?

Photo courtesy of IgoUgo member raymond longaray


My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.



I’m not sure I would go to a place on holiday just to see X play. What if they were injured? Saying that, I would have liked to have been in Melbourne when Lewis Hamilton spun the wheels on his Mercedes hire car and got his wrist slapped by the police.

Nathan Rodriguez

I think this kind of travel are definitively appealing for serious sports fans, a lot of people did this on the recent soccer World Cup: great oportunity to see Africa wild life beauty.

Susan Kennedy

Now just invited to a conference in Miami…

pandora glass

Thank you for your article, I love, thank you. Hope to have more time to visit your blog. Good luck with your blog more and more popular!

Kathy Shaper

I could see how this would be appealing to a sports fan, especially in a large tournament or playoffs time.

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