The Olympics Tourism Halo

Is the Olympics Really Good for Tourism?

Olympic Rings

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

After the 24-hour news cycle ends and the athletes return home, is there tourism value for the Olympics host country? With the billions spent on hosting the games, it would be nice to say that there is a halo effect that goes beyond those two magical weeks of global competition. We can measure the impact of hosting the games by looking at the change in consumer travel behavior – specifically search for the host destination across travel websites.


What’s clear is that the Olympics Games were, in fact, good exposure for Brazil.

Searches by travel consumers for Brazil on third-party sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor increased a significant 532% during the Olympics. And searches for Brazil travel before the end of the year or consumers with intent to travel to Brazil by 12/31/16 was up 418% compared to last year.


The vast media coverage and global spirit of Rio de Janeiro made Brazil the #19 most searched destination for 2016, up 21 spots.


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How about Japan, the host of the 2020 Olympic Games?

By the time ceremonies closed in Rio de Janeiro, excitement was already building in Japan. The Japan Prime Minister hopes the Olympics will help double the annual number tourists to the country from 20 million to 40 million by 2020.



Searches by travel consumers for Japan on third-party sites rose 42% during the Olympics, while travel intent before 12/31/16 was up even more at +58% compared to last year. At this time, Japan is the #14 most search country. (Country rankings compare to the United States at #1, Spain as #2, and the United Kingdom as #3)

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All fanfare aside, the Olympics proves to be good exposure for the host country, boosting interest not only during the Games, but also years in advance.


Nossa! (That’s “Wow!” in Portuguese.)



Note: Analysis is based on nSight data, aggregating 80+ million hotel looks and books daily from thousands of travel websites worldwide.
All rights are reserved for terms, including but not limited to, the Olympics, Rio, and The Games by International Olympic Committee (IOC).