HEALTH KICK: Employment in the health and fitness sector is up 21% from five years ago.
HEALTH KICK: Employment in the health and fitness sector is up 21% from five years ago. Think Stock

Sport and rec now big boom industry

SPORT and recreation activities have grown in to a $12.8 billion industry in Australia, according to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The industry has also been an employment driver with more than 130,000 people working in sport and related fields in 2011, up 21% from five years earlier.

Of these people, more than 21,000 worked as fitness instructors, more than 11,000 greenkeepers and more than 10,000 swimming coaches or instructors.

Men represented 58% of employees in sport and recreation, compared to 53% of the overall employed workforce in Australia.

ABS director Andrew Middleton said that in addition to providing significant health and social benefits, sport and physical recreation had considerable economic importance that was reflected in the latest household expenditure, production and international trade data.

"Australia exported over $358 million in sport and recreation goods in 2012-13, up 26% from the previous year," he said.

"We found that Singapore has become a major destination for exports of Australian sporting goods and services. The value of these exports to Singapore rose from $15.6 million in 2011-12 to $73.4 million in 2012-13."

Australian households spent more than $8.2 billion on sport and recreation products in 2009-10.

This included $4.4 billion on sports and recreation services such as sports facility hire charges and health and fitness studio charges.

Another $2.9 billion was spent on sports, physical recreation and camping equipment.

This figure also included swimming pools.