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Sport has more economic impact than perceived

(Keystone)

The importance of sport for the Swiss economy has been highlighted in a report that notes the sector has a turnover of SFr15.1 billion ($12.82 billion) a year.

With 80,300 people working in the branch, it has more employees than in the chemical and pharmaceutical, watchmaking or insurance industries.

Presented in Bern on Thursday, the report says sport's importance is often underestimated because it is linked with other parts of the economy.

"Sport is not just a lifestyle but is an indispensable economic factor for Switzerland," commented Eric Scheidegger from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

But he admitted that little was known about the correlation between a country's competitiveness and sport.

"We therefore have to be careful when we talk of the importance of sport for the economy," he said.

A first

The report was commissioned by the Federal Sport Office and is the first such study on sport's economic impact.

The sector generates gross value added of more than SFr8 billion and makes a contribution of 1.8 per cent to gross domestic product, almost on a par with the food, beverages and tobacco industry (two per cent).

Gross value added measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector.

Sport accounts for 2.5 per cent of Switzerland's workforce, about the same as the engineering industry. One in 40 full time jobs in Switzerland is directly attributable to sport.

The report points out that the sector is clearly related to tourism, which accounts for 27 per cent of the value added and 26,000 jobs.

People who practise sport or took part in competitive events generated SFr2.16 billion in overnight stays and as day visitors.

Covered and open-air sports facilities came in second position (23 per cent and 18,820 jobs), with cable cars, gymnasiums and other fitness centres playing the most important role.

Lion's share

The 22,500 sports clubs and associations account for 12 per cent of sport's value added and 7,190 jobs. International federations, and professional football and ice hockey teams took the lion's share in this sector.

The sale of sports articles also accounts for 12 per cent but employs more people (9,690).

Other factors include sport education, training, research and development, advertising, event organisers and the media.

Activities linked with sports accidents such as rescue, transport and administration, accounted for value added of SFr610 million and employed 5,270 people.

As there is no international standard on the issue, the study took a wide definition of the role of sport in the economy.

This included top and popular sporting activities, leisure and occasional activities, spectator sports and the place of sport in the media.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Sport in Switzerland is one of the most preferred leisure activities.
Surveys indicate that two-thirds of the population participate actively in sport, gymnastics or keep fit.
People often participate in more than one sport. The most popular sports are cycling, swimming, hiking, skiing, jogging and gymnastics.

end of infobox

Sport and the Economy

The contribution of sports to the economy (1.8% of GDP) is about half that of tourism, but is twice that of agriculture and forestry.

The study notes that Switzerland's 28,000 sporting facilities stage 230,000 events a year.

It also points out that 300,000 accidents a year happen as a result of sport.

end of infobox


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