The Discussion of Experiential Sports Tourism as Substitutable Tourism Forms

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The Discussion of Experiential Sports Tourism as Substitutable Tourism Forms
The Discussion of Experiential Sports Tourism as Substitutable
Tourism Forms
QIN Ming
Tourism Institute of Beijing Union University, China, 100101
[email protected]
Abstract: China's tourism market is developing rapidly with visitors increasing year by year. The travel
only with sightseeing and shopping can not meet the needs who have had traveling experience. When
they traveling again, more and more visitors preferred the more personalized and targeted means of
travel. The emergence of sports tourism and favored by tourists gradually, is the outstanding
performance of this demand. Therefore, sports tourism could be one of the substitutable tourism forms.
From the classification, sports tourism is one of the specific tourism. Broadly classified, sports tourism
is a gathering of relationship between the tourists engaged variety activities, such as entertainment,
physical exercise, sports competition, exciting adventures, rehabilitation, health care, sports
entertainment and sports cultural exchanges activities etc., and tourist destination, tourism enterprises,
sports enterprises, society. From a narrow sense, sports tourism meet and adapt the tourists variety
specific sports needs. It provides integrated services of fitness, entertainment, leisure, communication
for tourists during their travel tour, with the condition of sports resources and certain of sports facilities,
in the form of tourist commodities.
Tourism is an experience activity, this article from experience economy perspective to explain the
relationship between experience economy and development of sports tourism industry. It highlights
sports tourism products is a special product of “experience”, and strive to design unique sports tourism
products to meet the personalized sports tourist needs.
Keywords: Experience, Sports Tourism, Sports Tourism Products, Substitutable Tourism Form
At present, China's tourism market is developing rapidly with visitors increasing year by year. The travel
only with sightseeing and shopping can not meet the needs who have had traveling experience. When
they traveling again, more and more visitors preferred the more personalized and targeted means of
travel. The emergence of sports tourism and favored by tourists gradually, is the outstanding
performance of this demand.
The World Tourism Organization and International Olympic Committee co-sponsored the International
Conference on Sport and Tourism in Barcelona, Spain. (February 2001) Sports tourism becomes another
focus of tourism industry after eco-tourism. The integration of Sports and Tourism, explored a huge
space for the development of sports and sports industries, and provided Sustainable use of tourism
resources and development power for sports industries.
In recent years, sports tourism has gradually become a fashion, particularly in Europe and the United
States, Japan it’s very common. People participate in some sports through tourism. It’s not only achieved
health and fitness goals, but also realizes the return of nature, and makes your physical and mental
completely feel free. Over the years, sports tourism has gradually form a good momentum of
development Sports tourism is not only the integration of culture and tourism, the more important is
people in this kind of tourism, enjoyed the charm of mountains and rivers, but also cultivate the taste
and relax in wilderness. This is a unique fashion of sports tourism.
Today more and more resorts start to construction a variety of sports facilities, such as golf courses, ski
fields, tennis courts, water sports grounds and so on to carry out a variety of characteristics of sports
tourism project to attract sports tourists. Present sports tourism has become a so renowned tourism
projects around the world, many countries take sports tourism as a high-yield tourism project and give
vigorously support and develop. According to the International Sports Tourism Committee’s statistics,
the global income of sports tourism accounted for about one third of the total revenues of the
international tourism. Take Italy for example, its main body is Football Industry, sports tourism’s annual
output value had reached 18 billion U.S. dollars in late 80's of 20th century. Sports tourism sectors have
been among the top ten ranks of the Italian economy, which now totals 50 billion U.S. dollars. United
Kingdom through the development of sports tourism the annual production value reached nearly 9
billion pounds, more than that of automotive industry and the tobacco industry. Meanwhile, the host
right of world's major sports event is completive extensively. For example, the bid to host the Olympic
Games and World Cup, through the organization of major sports event will set a good image of their
own, to enhance its international status and promoting tourism development. In a word, sports tourism
will gain a broader market.
In China, the sports tourism starts late, accounting for a relatively small share of the tourism industry,
but develops rapidly. Since 1994, the sports tourism advents in China, it has been increase in the rate of
30% to 40%. As China's economic development and promoting of people's living standards, mass
consumption concept "survival - for practical ", which is being extended for thousands of years,
converted into a contemporary" life - for enjoyment. " And the enjoyment could divide into two
categories, one is the enjoyment of material goods, and the other is the enjoyment of spiritual products.
In a certain level of the enjoyment of material goods, the demand to enjoyment of spiritual products will
be more and more, even stronger. Sports tourism as one of the spiritual products has become another
focus of tourism industry after eco-tourism.
1 Concept of Sports Tourism
Sports tourism is a product when economy and cultural develop to a certain stage. Faqiang Zhang, the
deputy director of General Administration of Sport of China, in the report of Several Questions on
Sports Tourism, has pointed out that sports tourism is a combination of sports and tourism, it is a
sports-based tourism industry and tourism-based sports industry, and both are with economic behavior.
Currently, domestic scholars have their own views to the concept of sports tourism. Jingmei Zhu
believes, sports tourism from a narrow sense, is to participate in various sports competitions,
conferences, exchange as the main purpose of tourism. In a broad sense, it is based on a variety of ball
games and water sports, all kinds of adventure activities, sports leisure sports, auto cycling off-road race,
hunting, horseback riding, chess and other martial arts etc. as the main purpose and content of tourism.
It is a new field, mutual penetration with tourism science and sports science. Guoliang Tang regards,
sports tourism in a boarder sense is based on variety of sports activities as main content of tourism.
Which is a gathering of relationship between the tourists engaged variety activities, such as
entertainment, physical exercise, sports competition, exciting adventures, rehabilitation, health care,
sports entertainment and sports cultural exchanges activities etc., and tourist destination, tourism
enterprises, sports enterprises, society. Yanfei Huang, affirmed the above mentioned point of view,
consider from a narrow sense, sports tourism is to meet and adapt the tourists’ variety sports needs. And
in the favor of wide range of sports activities and tourists could get the harmonious development of
body and mind. It’s an activity to achieve the purpose of to promote the social material and spiritual
civilization, and colorful the social culture life.
Degen Wang thinks, sports tourism is a management project group, which provides integrated services
of fitness, entertainment, leisure, communication for tourists during their travel tour, with the condition
of sports resources and certain of sports facilities, in the form of tourist commodities. People fulfill their
tourism needs through Leisure Sports tourism, Fitness sports tourism, sports spectator tourism,
Stimulating sports tourism and competition sports tourism etc. motivations. Guizhong Wang and other
scholars hold that sports tourism is take recreation activities, such as swimming, skating, drifting,
mountain climbing, hiking, adventure, drive-travel etc., as main contents’ tourism activity. Feng Chen
takes, sports tourism as a new product of tourism market, it’s based on sports resources, through variety
of sporting events to plan, design, portfolio, to stimulate the consumer desires and needs, and then to
enjoy the sports activities and nature charm’s travel form. Gui Huang believes, sports tourism is tourists
participate in or watch various types of fitness and entertainment, sports, athletics, sports
communication, etc. as main purpose of tourism. Although the above observations have different
emphases, but we all accepted the view that the tourism and sports are often accompanied. Sports are
important part of tourism, travel processing has sports, sports contain travel, and tourism itself is a kind
of wholesome and comprehensive sports. This is the objective existence of Sports and tourism, which
are linked and affect each other. Therefore, generally speaking, sports tourism behavior refers to people
use their leisure time subjectively to do physical exercises’ methods and means, and to pursue positive
experiences’ activity on physical, psychological, social cultural, aesthetic, recreational and other aspects.
In summary we believe that from the classification, the new sports tourism is a special kind of tourism.
Broadly classified, sports tourism is a gathering of relationship between the tourists engaged variety
activities, such as entertainment, physical exercise, sports competition, exciting adventures,
rehabilitation, health care, sports entertainment and sports cultural exchanges activities etc., and tourist
destination, tourism enterprises, sports enterprises, society. From a narrow sense, sports tourism meet
and adapt the tourists variety specific sports needs. It provides integrated services of fitness,
entertainment, leisure, communication for tourists during their travel tour, with the condition of sports
resources and certain of sports facilities, in the form of tourist commodities.
2 The experiential of sports tourism
Tourism is experience activities, while sports tourism products are particular products emphasis on
"experience". Alvin. Toffler, the America futurist, in Future Shock has made a forecast for the
development of experiential economy. He believes that Experiential Economy would gradually be
another new economy form, after agricultural economy, industrial economy and service economy, and
enterprises will achieve business success rely on provide experience. As an important type of economic
output, experiential is the enterprise in the stage of service, use goods (products) as tools, to strive the
initiative of consumer inner mental space, cause enthusiastic response, create a series of unforgettable
activities. Experiential products’ greatest feature is consumers’ participation, the interactive and
synchronization of the products’ production and consumption. These are the inborn characteristics of
sports tourism products.
Sports tourism is a specific tourism when tourism develops to a certain level. It’s a combination of
tourists sightseeing and recreation, entertainment etc many levels of leisure needs, make tourists enjoy
multiple services at the same time. When economy develops to a certain level, the emphasis of
consumption will conformed from products and services to experience, that is a natural state of human
development. The core concept of Sports tourism is Experience----sports tourists form the feelings
through varies means of sports to directly observe or participate in the travel destinations’ things and
events. It’s an interactive production of sports tourism subject (tourists) and object (sports tourism
attractions, facilities, services).
Tourism production is a kind of spiritual enjoyment product, if there’s no experience processing, if will
quickly disappear after consumption. Sports tourism product is the one that best reflect and adapt the
experience economy era of tourism activities. First, the experience economy is a huge product system,
allowing consumers to choose individual products. Sports tourism activities less restricted by natural
conditions and facilities. Consumers could tours in spring, summer autumn and winter all the seasons of
a year, the seasons having distinctive features. Whether indoor or outdoor, they can feel the thrill and
excitement. In different geographical environments it’s better to reflect the exciting of sport tourism
products. For example, sea area’s sea diving, on the sea, sea beach volleyball. Plain areas’ ball games,
inland water area’s fishing, rafting, etc., mountain adventure, skiing and so on. Sports tourism product
system is a huge system that unmatched by any other tourism product. It would enable the vigorous
young people reflected vitality and creativity in the competitive, but also met young people’s curiosity in
the entertainment sports tourism activity. In short, a wide variety of sports tourism products has
provided a broad space for different tourists to display special personality. Secondly, the processes of
sports tourism activities allow tourists a wide variety of experiences and feelings which belonging to
their own. Even if the involve with the same campaign, due to differences of tourists’ gender, age,
occupation, personality, there will be a different experience: adventure, stimulating, happy, frustration, a
sense of achievement and so on, these experiences of each sports tourism activities are firmly etched in
the memory of tourists, it is worth pondering.
Thus experiential sports tourism is the products adapt to the needs of current tourism market
development. It based on a certain degree of tourism resources and facilities; it provides integrated
services of fitness, entertainment, leisure, communication for tourists during their travel tour, with the
condition of sports resources and certain of sports facilities, in the form of tourist commodities.
3 The benefits of experiential sports tourism as substitutable tourism forms
First of all, sports and leisure needs of individuals constitute the experiential internal driving force for
the development of sports tourism. From the perspective of humanistic psychology, Survival, enjoy and
development has strengthened the motivation for the formation of modern sports tourism. Sports and
Tourism as movement and leisure’s two main forms, meet the needs to people's sports, entertainment,
fitness, self-aligning, communication, rehabilitation needs, to fit young people's aesthetic needs of new,
strange, beauty., different, and danger, and thus have attracted widespread attention in the community.
Secondly, the transformation of consumer culture can be basis in reality of experiential sports tourism.
At present, China people's consumption patterns have shifted from the ration consumption to
consumption of their own choice, from a single consumption to layers of group consumption, from a
living, utility consumption turned to enjoyment, development consumption. Relaxed political
environment and harmonious social atmosphere make the consciousness of People First Philosophy and
Outstanding Personality spread in the consumer culture. Therefore the consumer culture, come out from
monotony color of uniform, to pursuit personalized consumption, multiple directions of development,
and to pursuit a unity development of material cultural consumption, spiritual cultural consumption.
Therefore, experiential sports tourism is a unity of entertainment, fitness, and aesthetic, it meets the
consumer culture trends.
Thirdly, income growth provided economic security for the experiential sports tourism activities. From
an economic point of view, sports tourism is a type of enjoyment and development consumer behavior,
and must be based on a higher level of overall development of national economy and national income
average. Since the reform and opening up, our country's national economy has maintained a stable and
rapid growth, raise the level of national income and consumption structure, effectively improving the
rapid development of the sport and tourism consumption market, make experiential sports tourism have
a the sustainable development potential in the economy basement.
Fourthly, the extended public's leisure time provides the time guarantee for experiential sports tourism.
From the perspective of Tourism, sports tourism is leisure travel, has characters of Remote and
Temporary and therefore have Leisure Time is the premise of experiential sports tourism. Since 1995,
China implemented a Weekend system, since October 1999 has been implemented National Day and
May 1 holiday system, coupled with the traditional Spring Festival. Till now, China has reached 114
days of statutory holidays. With the continuous improvement of social service system, the improvement
of home automation work, changes of family structure and other reasons, the ratio of Private Time in the
114 days which general public could discretionary will be further increased. In addition, the promotion
of flexible working system, early retirement and other reasons, some people will have more leisure time,
therefore experiential sports tourism will have more travel time guarantee.
Last but not least, rich natural and human resources of Sports Tourism provide a material base in the
development for experiential Sports Tourism. Now Return to Nature is today's international tourism
trends and the development direction. China has vast territory and rich natural reserves of the sports
tourism resources. International popular land areas, waters and airspace class outdoor sports can be find
suitable sports facilities in our country’s rich mountains, forests, plateaus, hills, plains, basins, rivers,
lakes, oceans, deserts, caves and other landforms, and four distinctive seasons, which greatly expanded
the domestic experiential sports tourism development. Also China is a long history of multi-ethnic
country, all ethnic groups formed a wide range of full-bodied style sports and activities in the historical
development process, this is a very attractive traditional sports tourism resources. Combined with
traditional and modern, natural and human resources sports tourism, they have greatly enriched the
experiential variety of sports tourism.
To sum up, experiential sports tourism as one of the substitutable forms of tourism, has many
4 The signification of develop experiential sports tourism
Tourism in terms of its nature is a natural experience activity. Its purpose is to create a memorable travel
experience and memorable travel experiences for tourists. The experience is unique and
non-reproducibility and high-quality experience will leave an impressed and unforgettable memory to
the sports tourists.
Development the experiential sports tourism products, first of all, the sport tourists can experience the
activities in the differentiated and have unforgettable memories. Tourism product is an enjoyment type
product, should be paid attention to meet the spiritual and psychological needs for visitors, and analysis
the requirements and feelings of tourists. In the time of experience economy, in order to achieve product
differentiation, diversification and personalization, the modern tourism enterprises must be based on
tourists psychological characteristics, lifestyles and behavioral patterns to design and marketing tourism
product which closely linked to people's spiritual needs, to make tourism products and services cause
fascination and resonance for tourists,.
Furthermore, the development of experiential sports tourism products can enrich the content of tourism
products. The development of experiential sports tourism products, could based on the available existing
natural landscape, human architecture, folk customs performances, to further increase sports tourism
products and provide more tours for visitors. We can rationalize the structure of scenic, to reach
functional complement among the various tourism projects. So that sports tourism could be integrated
tourism products of a set of aesthetic, education, entertainment. The experiential projects in the Sports
Tourism is also an important tool to reflect the differentiation and personalization of scenic spots, you
can make distinguish from the same kind of scenic spots. It has its own characteristics to attract more
tourism consumers.
To conclude, the experiential sports tourism products development could increase tourism revenues and
expand the economic benefits of tourism. Charges for the tourist experience, not only to increase
tourism revenues, it is also an important tool to promoting the development of tourism. Tourists to travel
is want to have some experiences, such as some kind of worthy pieces, wonderful memories, in order to
get the feeling that they are willing to pay more than the cost. As tourist enterprises, to increase fees for
visitors experience, we must design more tourism products and rich contents of experience for tourists
and enhance the content and quality of services.
5 Tragedies of develop experiential sports tourism products
First, we have to highlight the theme of experience, and strengthen brand image of experiential sport
tourism products. A theme is the basis of an experience, soul, but also the key point of create an
environment, create an atmosphere, focus customers’ attention. Highlighting the theme of experience is
an effective means of to enable tourists have strong impression and deep feeling in certain aspects. The
determination of themes should be rooted in the tourist places in veins, history of clock and personal
relationships, should be based on the needs of the leading source markets, highlight the personality,
characteristics and novelty, avoiding identical with surrounding neighbors of similar tourist destinations.
The success subject to experience lies in its products charm, to design high participation and high degree
of experience exciting products to attract tourists. Modern tourists increasingly emphasized the
importance of travel experiences, eager to participate. Tourists require travel have a cultural life attracted
and a content of the movement as well as adventurous taste, they want to receive feelings of comfort and
spiritual purification through participation and exchange.
Second, we have to establish sports tourism platform, let sports tourists become the subject of
experience. In the experiential sports tourism process, theme is the basis of experience, clues constitute
the impression that each thread must consistent with and support the themes and topics. To create
experience in mind of sports tourists, making it the main body of sports tourism experience. Sports
tourism activities to make each a little trick become clues, all to help create a unique experience. For
example, we attract fans to watch the World Cup, not only to allow fans to watch a soccer match, but
also to allow fans to experience a different kind of sports culture: a unified uniforms, team apparel and
other standard equipment, to strengthen the sense of belonging with the team. Through organized cry
and action to integrate into the game, to experience every minute of football brings’ excitement, joy,
moved, disappointment, grief and longing.
Third, as far as possible to design interactive experiential sports tourism products, enhance feelings of
tourists. In the design process of sports tourism products, we should give full play to human vision,
hearing, touch, taste and smell and other sensory experience, by improving people's physical experience,
touched the hearts of tourists emotions, and create a better experience. World-renowned Disneyland can
be said that on behalf one of the classic, earliest experiential tourism products, the key point to its
success lies in its grasp of consumer’s novelty and singularity consumer psychology. In the development
of park products for tourists, created a myth in the world, to allow tourists to experience the thrill and
joy in person.
Fourth, we have to emphasis on challenging and strengthening develop of incentives-based sports
tourism product. In various experiential sports tourism products, should be pay special attention to the
development of stimulate type tourism products. The constantly fast pace changing of current life make
the original sense of modern man becoming numb, they need stronger incentives to stimulate dormant
cells in sense, by constantly challenging themselves to maximize their potential. By making appropriate
travel adventures so that the sports tourists could experience the terror-stricken scene or sensory
experience, to stimulate all kinds of nervous system, to feel the tension, surprise, dizziness, fantasy and
other unique information, so that tourists get a profound experience. That’s one of the reasons extreme
sports are heating up in recent years.
The design of the project could be considered pose a challenge to for tourists, give an opportunity to all
the visitors break their lives limits, to prove his value of life, it will be breeding more sense of pride for
visitors who participate in these projects. When visitors climb a peak, a bungee jump, leap a canyon etc.
to conquer some difficulties and obstacles, the pride arises when successfully complete the event, but
others can not be completed or on its own can not be completed before, As some extreme sports even
need to run the risk of injury or even death, the participants access to a great sense of pleasure and
accomplishment after crossed the psychological endurance limits. Of course, scenic configuration items
must control the difficulty of the project, so visitors have a choice, most of the project should be modest
difficulty, and that is, after going through a certain amount of effort to be successful, otherwise on the
contrary, it will create frustration.
Fifth, we have to pay attention to the development of personalized products, to meet the personalized
and emotional experience requirements of sports tourists. Sports tourism is a specific tourism when
tourism develops to a certain level. It is a major aesthetic process and the rehabilitation process for the
purpose to get the pleasure of psychological and physical fitness. Sports tourism tourists mainly choose
beach, sand beach, snowfield, mountains and other scenic tourist destination. In the vacation process,
tourists make full use of sports tourism resources to get psychological enjoyable experience, such as by
boating, swimming, skating, and skiing and other sports leisure means.
To meet tourists personalized and emotional psychological needs, the tourism enterprises in the product
development process must be based on the psychological characteristics of tourists and psychological
needs and behavioral patterns, to develop satisfactory products for consumer, which could hold firmly to
the tourists’ psychology, could cause psychological resonance of tourists. Therefore, a variety of
customized travel products’ popularity is sufficient to prove that the personalized tailored products that
can bring unique experience for visitors. In a result, when carrying out experiential sports tourism
projects, should pay attention to integration of sports tourism resources, and the main demand of sport
tourists, to develop innovative and unique sports tourism projects, to meet the personal experience of
sport tourists.
Sixth, we should segment the sports tourism market, rational develop experiential sports tourism
products. Sports tourism products are products can meet the purpose of sports tourism tourists. As
tourists have different needs, such as fitness, leisure resort, to support entertainment, seeking excitement
and so on. Any one kind of sports tourism products can not satisfy all consumers. So that we have to
develop different experiential sports tourism products according to the different needs of tourists.
According to the needs of tourists can be broken down into recreational sports tourism product markets,
sports and fitness tourism market, stimulating sports tourism market, competitive sports tourism market,
spectator sports tourism market etc.. Based on these needs of the market segments tourist group, the
product can be broken down into recreational sports tourism products (such as fishing, mountain
climbing, surfing, horseback riding, playing golf, dancing, swimming, hiking, cycling, rowing, skiing ,
etc.); sports and fitness tourism products (such as bowling, tennis, aerobics, skating, billiards, diving,
badminton, etc.); stimulating sports tourism products (adventure, rafting, rock climbing, bungee jumping,
Tang snow-capped mountains, etc.); competitive sports tourism products (such as sailing, skiing, archery,
paragliding, etc.); spectator sports tourism products (such as watching the Olympic Games,
Championships, Asian Games, the professional league, etc.). According to the differences of segment
size, maturity, product characteristics, the conditions of tourists, so we must rationally develop products
based on the specific circumstances of the market. For example, sporting tourism is an integrated
tourism activity of race events, tourism, leisure and shopping. Host a large-scale sporting events is not
only bringing involves athletes, referees, government officials, journalists, spectators and other large
groups of people, but also have strong driven power to other related industries. They are worthy of
vigorous promotion.
Seventh, we have to enhance the design of souvenirs, to provide experiential sports tourism souvenirs.
The selection and purchase of souvenirs is an important part of sports tourism experience, directly
restricts the quality of tourist travel. Tourist activities will have an end, but the materialization of
souvenirs, could easily recall people’s tourism experience, past event, a feeling. Some scholars have said
that Souvenirs is a way to experience the socialization of people through which to share a part of
experience. Such as spectator sports tourism get the pleasurable experience through appreciate sports
and cultural heterogeneity, visit sports facilities and enjoy the scene of sports competitions. It’s the most
basic form of sports tourism products, which has mobility, short time stayed and other characteristics.
Sports tourists through the purchase of souvenirs can be a permanent retention this experience.
Experiential tourists’ souvenirs can enrich and extend the good experience, with a value of collection.
The designs have rich and unique content, and highlight the product features as far as possible.
Souvenirs could be the material carrier of local natural, geographical factors, local socio-cultural, local
historical overview. Some souvenirs in despite lack of aesthetic appearance, but favored deeply tourists,
because it represented the characteristics of the sports tourism product or limited in number, have the
unique nature, have special significance, etc.,. For example, after the World Cup game, could sale the
mud covered football or sportswear to the tourists. These souvenirs will surely make fans and tourists
even more excited than the tickets, because they bring tourists a unique experience.
With the experiential economy era, the needs of tourists has changed dramatically, from a focus on
tourism product transferred to the psychological feelings when accept products. Tourists are willing to
pay for the experience, because it can not be copied, non-transferable, each of its moments is Sole.
Tourists are no longer satisfied with cursory type of tour travel, but increasingly preferred to the
sensibility tourism products which could achieve self-worth or self-resonates, and requires the personal
involvement of the deep-seated tourism, which could brought impact and shock in feelings.
Therefore, the study of experiential sports tourism products has practical guiding significance. In the
new economy, surrounding the consumer demand for sport tourism consumers, designing unique sports
tourism projects, to meet the individual needs of sporting tourists. As for the sports tourism industry to
improve the attractiveness, competitiveness, sustainable development and strengthening comprehensive
benefits of economic, social, cultural etc. also have some social significance.
Sports tourism has become an important component to people’s cultural life, based on the basic theory
of experiential design, refining experience theme, to create an atmosphere to experience, to design
experience projects, to develop innovative sports tourism products. The experiential sports tourism as
one of the substitutable tourism forms, and it is an important measure to enhance tourism
competitiveness, but also a powerful guarantee to maintain the sustainable development of China's
tourism industry.
This study was supported by a grant from Humanities and Social Science Plan Foundation of Beijing
Municipal Education Commission (No.SM200911417008)
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