IPC Swimming has commended organisers of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow after a study by Sheffield Hallam University revealed overwhelmingly positive feedback from spectators at the event.
The report, commissioned by the championships’ funding partners, British Swimming, EventScotland, Glasgow Life and UK Sport, and carried out by SHU’s Sport Industry Research Centre, indicated 89% of the total attendance of 3,882 spectators at Tollcross International Swimming Centre were willing to recommend the spectator experience to their friends and family.
Importantly, responses also pointed towards a tangible legacy impact of the World Championships, with around 63% of those questioned stating that they felt inspired to increase their own participation in sport and active recreation as a result of attending the event.
The praise comes one month ahead of the British Para-Swimming International Meet at Tollcross from April 23-27, which closely follows the British Swimming Championships taking place at the same venue from April 12-17.
Xavier Gonzalez, IPC CEO, said:
“This survey is evidence of the fantastic all-round experience that spectators had in Glasgow and at Tollcross. It is highly encouraging to see that the vast majority of people who came to the competition would recommend it to their family and friends, and also that people felt inspired to do more sport.
“Another crucial measure of success is the perceived accessibility of the Championships, from ticketing to infrastructure and training of event staff and volunteers.
“Aside from the exciting sporting action it is crucial that major international para-swimming competitions leave behind a tangible legacy for future generations. I believe that Glasgow 2015 has fulfilled this mission.”
Fans in Glasgow were treated to an exceptional display from 13-19 July 2015, as athletes from 65 nations took to the water. Event highlights included the toppling of no fewer than 38 world records, seven golds in seven days for Brazil’s Daniel Dias, top honours for British Swimming’s Ellie Simmonds in the 200m Individual Medley and the emergence of Tully Kearney, who won four gold medals.
Among the other findings of the report was particularly positive feedback on event planning; disability awareness; and facility adaptations and services from respondents who reported having a long-term illness or disability.
In the areas of Ease of Booking Tickets (79%), Ease of Booking Travel and Accommodation (73%) and Information on Accessible Facilities at the Venue (75%) around three-quarters of spectators rated these services as Very Good or Good in their responses.
Perhaps even more encouraging were findings that no spectators with an impairment or disability provided a negative rating of Poor or Very Poor in regards to the Disability Awareness of Event Staff/Stewards/Volunteers or Disability Awareness Among Other Spectators, with 79% and 72%, respectively, returning either Very Good or Good in their feedback.
Crucially, the spectator experience relating to necessary facilities and services at Tollcross International Swimming Centre was also met with widespread approval. Responding to the provision of Accessible Toilets, Lifts and Ramps and Assistance in Moving Around the Venue, 63%, 61% and 67% of spectators questioned responded positively*.
In promotion of the Paralympic Movement in the United Kingdom, the event proved to be incredibly effective. Of those UK residents surveyed at the event, 92% ‘Strongly Agreed or ‘Agreed’ they would be more likely to follow the progress of British Swimmers in the build-up to Rio 2016 than they had for previous Olympic/Paralympic Games.
In addition to £1.54m net additional spend for Scotland as a direct result of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, these findings are warmly welcomed by event partners, British Swimming, EventScotland, Glasgow Life and UK Sport, and indicate excellent governance and event organisation.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
“The IPC Swimming World Championships was a tremendous event for Scotland, bringing together the world’s finest Paralympic swimmers for an immensely exciting and entertaining meet at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.
“We are delighted by both the praise from IPC Swimming and the results of the study by Sheffield Hallam University, which are testament to the efforts of event partners who successfully strived to create a highly memorable experience for spectators and participants alike.”
*N.B. Respectively, 23.3%, 24.4% and 16.7% of those surveyed responded ‘Don’t Know/Not Applicable’ in their feedback relating to the provision of Accessible Toilets, Lifts and Ramps and Assistance in Moving Around the Venue, suggesting access to these facilities was either not required or had not been used at the time of interview.