China to build a sustainable marathon sport industry
While China’s sports industry, fuelled by the rise of a national enthusiasm for marathons and running, is booming in recent years, more measures still need to be taken by businesses to further develop the industry and to make the market sustainable, said experts and industry leaders during The First Marathon Sports Tourism Forum.
The forum was held on July 22 in Liupanshui, a city in the mountainous area in West Guizhou Province. Since 2013, the area, dubbed “Cool City of China” due to its mild temperatures that feel pleasant especially in summer, has been organizing the Liupanshui International Mara
The 2017 marathon ended on July 23 and drew more than 30,000 000 participants from nine countriess and regions across the world. . The runners, both profes-- sionals and amateurs, competed in a full marathon, a half-marathon, a 10-kilometer run and a mass-health run.
“The Liupanshui International Marathon provides a sample in branding a marathon event ent by exploring the regionall resources and specialties foundf di in China, where hundreds of marathon events are being held each year,” said Bao Mingxiao, chief of the Research Center for Development of Sports Industry at Tsinghua University.
Nevertheless, behind the market growth of the economy, a problem in China’s marathon market is the strong similarities among the various marathon events.
“Liupanshui marathon has a lot of chances to stand out, such as the city’s cool weather that allows it to be an ideal placepla among the few choicescho in Chinese cities to holdhol a marathon in the scorchingscorchin summer,” said Bao. Meanwhile,M hil event organizers have been applying creative approaches to market the Liupanshui Marathon brand, including the establishment of China’s only marathon museum and holding a forum focusing on marathon and tourism economy.
To make the marathon market more sustainable, Bao suggested that a marathon event can be integrated with local tourism, in which runners can travel to various local scenic spots and experience local culture.
He Wenyi, executive director of Peking University’s China Institute for Sports Value, said cities like Liupanshui have opportunities to build itself as a sports tourism destination in China.
“Creative thinking and methods are needed to make the marathon market period,” said He.
One of the ways is to establish a place as repeat event location. For example, The Strongman All Japan Triathlon Miyako-jima is considered a pilgrimage event for the world’s triathlon lovers.
Despite the fact that there are 500 marathons being held in China each year, the number is low considering China’s huge population and vast territory, according to He.
Liu Xiaolei, the founder and CEO of Beijing Rapid Sport, a company that specializes in organizing running events, sports tourism and sports marketing, said that a marathon event will not be successful without backup from the Chinese government, emphasizing the key role of government in a sporting event.
“It is thanks to the government that we can present four marathon events in Liupanshui,” said Liu, whose team is the operator of the marathon.
“We are dedicated to organizing more activities in line with the event, with an aim to provide more exciting competition and quality services to the runners.”
The marathon organizers and guests during the tourism forum in Liupanshui; Left: Liu Xiaolei, the founder and CEO of Beijing Rapid Sport.