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The Impact Of Events On Host Areas Tourism Essay


Within the growth directions of the tourism industry, which currently represents the fourth largest industry in the world in terms of export, events act as catalysts for attracting visitors and image-makers, creating destination profiles, positioning destinations in the market, and providing competitive advantages (Bowdin et al. 2006). Their significance prompted a new subject type known as event tourism, described by Getz (1997) as: “1) the systematic planning, development, and marketing of events as tourist attractions, as catalysts for other developments such as infrastructure and economic growth, as image builders, and as animators of built attraction and destination areas; event-tourism strategies should also cover the management of news and negative events; 2) A market segment consisting of those individuals who travel to attend events or who can be motivated to attend events while away from home.” The term “event tourism” was coined in the 1980s, and it formalized the link between events and tourism (Getz, 1997).

According to Getz (1997), it is not possible to establish a universal, standardized definition of events. Indeed, one of the most frequently quoted definitions of events, offered by Ritchie (1984), explicitly emphasizes this role by describing them as “major one­time or recurring events of limited duration, developed primarily to enhance the awareness, appeal and profitability of a tourism destination in the short or long term”. This definition is taken as embracing the other subcategories of events, including community festivals and mega-events, as Goldblatt (2002) defined events as a “planned culture, sport and political and business occasion: from mega-events like Olympics and world fairs to community festivals; from programs of events at parks and attractions to visits by dignitaries and intergovernmental assembles; from small meetings and parties to huge conventions and competitions.”

It is widely agreed that events have a meaningful potential to be partly responsible for positive improvement of the society that host them. As a result, events have become one of the popular methods used to attract visitors to the region. Events are widely recognized to generate numerous impacts on the host communities and other stakeholders (Grosbois, 2009). Ritchie & Smith (1991) say that a centre or region that hosts a world mega-event and attracts global attention is affected both positively and negatively in many aspects. Depending on the way the process is conducted, these changes might have a lasting positive and structuring effect on the city. Event tourism impacts the economy and the lives of many societies, that “has proven to be a lifesaver for many destinations” (Gawler visitor Information Centre, 2005).

According to Bowdin (2006) all events have a direct impact on their participants. Negative impacts on communities must be minimised and measured against the benefits that tourism brings. The impacts of an event can be summarised in terms of a range of dimensions identified by Ritchie (1984). These are: economic; tourism and commercial; physical; sociocultural, psychological; and political. Social impacts can be characterized as any effects that potentially affect the quality of life for local people. Thus, economic outcomes of events, political issues and environmental effects are included because perceptions of such impacts are likely to contribute to residents’ overall reactions to an event (Fredline et al, 2003). This is one of the reason why is complicated to separate all these mentioned impacts separately. This assignment fill focus on events possible impacts on the economy and communities of host areas.

Types of Events

In the field of tourism, the term “event” is used to describe the different categories of events, many of which may have noticeably individual aspects. It includes events from the Olympic Games as the mega-event to small events, such as regional festivals (Fredline et al, 2003). The classification of events is generally of a limited time frame and diverse in nature. According to Bowdin (2006) “in the events industry today the type of events can be classified according to their size and scale, and are usually done in the following way: Mega Events, Hallmark Events, Major Events, Cultural Events, and Business Events. However, events can also be classified according to their purpose and the motivation behind either holding or attending the event, not to the particular sector to which they belong”.

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Mega events broadly fit into two categories: sporting and cultural (Mintel, 2010). In essence, Bowdin et al. (2006) believe that mega events are those events that affect whole economies and have repercussions in global media attention. These events are mainly developed in competitive spheres and include events such as the Olympic Games, FIFA and UEFA Football Championships, and World Athletics. Hallmark events, according to Bowdin et al. (2006), refer to events that become so closely identified with the place that they become strongly linked. Among classic examples of hallmark events are the Carnival in Rio, the Tour de France, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Jazz Festival of Juan les Pins in Antibes, and the International Motorcycle Rally in Faro. Such events are culturally unique and distinctive, with resident communities contributing to the tourism revenue, creating a sense of local pride and international interest. With time, these events become inseparable from the destination. For instance, it is difficult to imagine the Rio de Janeiro Mardi Gras occurring in a city other than Rio de Janeiro.

The growth of mega sports event might be ascribed for three most important reasons: first, modern technologies of mass communication that helps to reach all world population; secondly, sport media business alliance creation, which changed professional sport in the late 20thcompletely; and thirdly, these mega events offer a variety of benefits to cities, regions and countries, where they are hosted (Horne and Manzenreiter, 2006).

Importance of the Events for destinations

According to Jago et al (2003) events have become an increasingly important part of many destination branding. Event tourism can be used as a tool for raising awareness (North American and international awareness of Calgary was dramatically increased as a result of the Olympic Games coverage. Top-of-mind awareness increased from about 19% to over 43% in the U.S. In Europe, it rose from 10% to 40%) (See Appendix 1: Example 1). Local product branding helps to develop regional identity together nationally and internationally (Gawler visitor Information Centre, 2005).

France and Roche (1998) stated that creation of mega-events today is regarded as an opportunity to regenerate cities. A good example of this was the 1992 Olympic Games held in Barcelona, where the public works to prepare for the event revitalized the city and repositioned it as a tourist attraction in Spain (Moragas & Botella, 1995). Barcelona Olympics changed the image of the cities and the Spanish tourism, which has traditionally been associated only with ‘sun and sea’ holidays (Robertson and Guerrier, 1998). “Events can enhance the status of smaller states, as in the Seoul Summer Olympic Games, as well as non-capital cities such as the Barcelona and Los Angeles Olympics, the Adelaide Grand Prix, the Calgary Winter Olympic Games or the Victoria, British Columbia, Commonwealth Games” (Bull & Lovell, 2007).

Large hallmark events are one way that cities can create an image internationally and attract internal investment with the aim of promoting long-term growth. Mega sporting events can help improve the image of the host country that is many cases could be a great benefit. Florek (2007) reviews the development of Germany’s image according to the research conducted among a consistent group of New Zealand football fans before, during and after their visit in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Findings suggested that the greatest impact on the image was created by so-called ‘soft factors’ such as safety, peaceful locals, and multi-cultural environment.

According to Matheson (2006) significant intangible benefits of mega-events is national and international acknowledgment. Supporters of the sport might enjoy their visit to the city and return later increasing tourism revenue in the future. Corporate visitors may move the production facilities and company center of operations to the city. Television viewers may decide to take a trip to the host city in the future based on what they see on a mega-event duration. Finally, hosting an important event can help to raise the awareness of the city that it becomes a “major league” or “world class” city and travel destination (Matheson, 2006). Fredline et al (2003) noticed that if event went unsuccessful poor opinion and attitude might emerge, which would damage the reputation of destination (see Appendix 1: Example 2).

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Malfas et al (2004) confirms that by adding that the role of the media is essential to create awareness about the host city or region (see Appendix 1: Example 3). Studies showed that, for example, a television production of the English cricket tour to the West Indies increased package tourism of the islands as much as 60%. In addition, Calgary’s image before and after the 1988 Winter Olympic Games improved, as it became clear that the Games had a huge impact on the awareness and knowledge of the city of Calgary in Europe and the United States compared to other Canadian places (Malfas et al, 2004).

More and more often cities are using cultural events to enhance their image, promote urban development and attract visitors and investment (Richards and Wilson, 2004). This phenomenon may be related to a general increase in competition between cities for getting of valuable stakeholders, including consumers, investors and politicians. Cities, as a result, need to find new ways of differentiate themselves from their competitors. For example, signature buildings often have a function of the city’s strategy to create the image or ‘brand’ and create a competitive advantage. Recent examples include the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, the Tate Modern gallery in London (Richards and Wilson, 2004) and the Baltic Flour Mills in Gateshead. The cost of building such notable sight is probably one of the main reasons why the events are becoming an increasingly important aspect of long-distance competition in recent years (Richards and Wilson, 2004). Events are often cheaper way of separate and acknowledge locations and often creates a lot of media interest.

Yeoman (2004) confirms that events can lengthen tourist seasons, extend peak season or introduce a “new season” into the life of a community. According to Boo and Busser (2006) developing new festivals is considered as a new strategy to lengthen the life cycle of destinations. For example, Glasgow festival Celtic connections of music, arts, dance, which happens in January, shows a great way of extending tourism season.

Impacts of Events

Economic impacts of Events

Much emphasis is often placed on the economic impact partly due to the fact that the organizers of the event and government must meet budget targets and to justify the cost, and partly because these impacts are easiest to assess (Pasanen et al, 2009). According to Jago and Dwyer (2006), “the economic impact of an event on a region is the net sum of the economic consequences of all of the cash inflows and outflows that occur because of an event.” Substantial contribution to the economic impact assessment is a cost that occurs after an event. The fraction of the cost, which represents “new money” into the area, i.e. money that is not yet in the region, is particularly important (Pasanen et al, 2009) and often gives new opportunities and advantages for communities living there, as well. Variuos methods can be used to assess the economic impacts of events (see Appendix 1: example 4).

According to Florek (2007) economic benefits are often used to justify hosting mega sporting event. However, economic benefits might be complicated to predict and therefore a bit dangerous justification. For example, in 2006 FIFA World Cup, Germany’s organising committee earned €140 million from the tournament, which is more than expected, but tourists only spent about €50 million in Germany, half of what was expected. In addition, most of it was for food and drinks with no important impact on retail (Florek, 2007). Mules and Faulkner (1996) point out that even such as mega-events as F1 Grand Prix races and the Olympics, has not always clear economic benefit for the cities that host the event (see Appendix 1: example 5). They point out that, in general, staging major sports events often results in the loss of money for the city government even though the city itself can benefit greatly in terms of extra incomes in the city. Matheson (2006) gave example when during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea, the number visitors from Europe to the area was higher than usual, but this increase was offset by a similar amount of decrease in regular tourists and business travelers, which did not give such great economic increase.

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Special events are now highly sought after in many countries, regions, and cities, internationally. Governments are often prepared to offer generous funding incentives to attract events and to allocate large expenditure to upgrading the facilities needed for the events (Dwyer et al, 2005). However, Carlsen and Taylor (2003) warns that the creation of major tourism and sports facilities may get little used after the event. There is a possibility for mega-events like the Olympics to be viewed as “white elephants.” Very large investments are required to stage mega-events such as the Olympics and World Fairs, which usually mean that the short-term returns are usually negative and the money spent in such events rarely pays off (Getz, 1997). But event tourism development that uses existing attributes often brings a range of benefits to host communities. Better infrastructure (electricity, water, and telecommunications), access, services (banks, roads, transport) and new investments, all help to strengthen community life. Perhaps the best example of a mega-sporting event being used in this way was given by Malfas et al (2004), when in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics ” major investments have been invested in new transport systems and to update the coastal area which now has a new marina, leisure facilities and attractive sandy beaches”.

Events attract more investment and visitors, and thus create new jobs and contribute to the economic growth of the city or region. Of course a mega-sporting event is likely to produce many jobs, not only those directly related to the event but also those who works in the tourism and retail industry and in the construction industry especially when the staging an event requires significant infrastructure development, such as in the case of the Olympic Games (Malfas et al, 2004) (see Appendix 1: example 6). Nevertheless it should be admitted that staging an event creates new jobs, the focus should be on the quality and duration of these workplaces: sporting events usually create service-related jobs that are often part-time, poorly paid and short-lived.

Pasanen et al (2009) noticed that the staging of an event may also generate wider economic intangible benefits and costs, such as caused by the development and construction costs, additional marketing and business development, and increased property values, long-term tourism promotion, local’s relocation and termination of business. Intangible assets are impossible to quantify as accurately and objectively as are the financial impacts, but they should be taken into account when evaluating the overall economic impact on the local people.

But at the same time there might be some negative aspects, such as local goods can become more expensive because tourists might pay more, shops might stock products for tourists and not everyday goods needed by locals, debt risk for the city and increased taxation, prices increase that does not decline after the event ends (Fredline et al, 2003). As an example, Jones (2001) refers to the Olympic Games as a mega event in which accommodation that needs to be provied for athletes, tourists, and promoters creates a lot of pressure and problems with housing and real-estate market. An influx of tourists can also cause or exacerbate crowding, traffic congestion, and increased prices, and normal community lifestyles may be displaced or disrupted. In fact, the increased costs of dining out in Auckland in the new Viaduct Basin restaurants were one indicator of the inflationary impact of the event. Similarly, increased property rental costs in downtown Auckland, forced displacement for tenants for developments were also evident (Hall, 1992).

Events impact on communities

In addition to economic events consequences, events have other positive and negative effects on host communities. They can revive the cultural and social life of the local people, build community pride, provide a sense of identity, increase community participation and pride of the area or enhance the image of a destination (Pasanen et al, 2009). It has been suggested that socio-cultural impacts occur as a result of the unique interaction between tourists and a destination area with its population. Whole destination becomes “visible” as an event takes place, so it has real opportunity to develop socio-cultural impacts (Small et al., 2005). Host community dissatisfaction can threaten the long-term success of an event and thus the acceptance by the locals is vital for the continuity of the event (Small et al., 2005). Teo (1994) defines social and cultural impacts of event tourism as: “the ways in which tourism is contributing to changes in the value systems, morals and their conduct, individual behavior, family relationships, collective lifestyles, creative expressions, traditional ceremonies and community organization”

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Fredline et al (2003) noticed that unlike economic impacts, social impacts of events can be difficult to measure objectively since many of them cannot be measured, and they often affect differently various members of the community. Despite the fact that the measure of socio-cultural impacts may cause some problems, some systems and scales have been developed to assess them (see Appendix 1: example 7).

Tourism can encourage community pride as visitors choose to visit the place for a reason. Well presented towns and well-maintained facilities for visitors help them to feel welcome and can contribute to the sense of community pride (Gawler visitor Information Centre, 2005). Festivals and events provide an opportunity for community cultural development (Getz, 1997) and “bring a sense of belonging and sharing to the community, excitement, spectacle and self-esteem brought about by being the focus of international attention” (Fredline et al, 2003). According to Liang et al (2008) events and organizers of the festivals uses the themes of culture and history to develop and prepare annual events to attract visitors. These festivals provide opportunities for the local communities to share their culture and, in addition, they help the local community to create and develop its own identity.

There was a substantial increase in the participation of the community in active sports in the next years after the Barcelona Olympic Games. There has been around 50 000 new customers in the city’s sports centers following the 1992 Games, with women participating in sporting activities increase from 35% in 1989 up to 45% in 1995. In addition, in 1994, more than 300 000 people participated in sports events that become a part of the urban population on the streets of Barcelona, such as athletic competitions, popular marathon, the festival of bicycle cycling and the roller skating festival (Malfas et al, 2004). As this example shows increased participation in sports can make a significant contribution to the local resident quality of life.

Shone & Parry (2004) names negative impacts that “include a range of anti-social behaviors, crime, congestion, crowding, prostitution, disruption of community life, community alienation and displacement”. Mega sporting events draw attention of large crowds and there is a great possibility of antisocial behavior emergence, as for example In America’s Cup defense there was noticed 36% increase in arrests for anti-social behavior (Faulkner, 2003).

The decision to hold an event, especially a large scale event, is essentially a political decision (Richards and Wilson, 2004). According to Barker et al (2002) events and their subsequent publicity can lead to significant status ramifications pertaining at both macro- and micro-political levels. Political aspects, however, can equally work to the detriment of tourism events. The potential for terrorist or politically motivated activity, demonstrations, and boycotts to utilize the publicity generated by international events is not uncommon. Such political agendas at major events have instigated demonstrations at the 1981 Springbok rugby tour to New Zealand and 1998 Commonwealth Games, boycotts of any number of Olympic Games, and terrorist attacks at the 1972 and 1996 Olympics (Barker et al, 2002). So there is a great risk and questioning for local people, when holding mega-events.

Many environmental impacts may result as a result of hosting an event particularly as a result of major and mega events, along with traffic congestion, parking, crime and vandalism, noise and littering, crowding energy and water usage and waste (Pasanen et al 2009). The negative impact of events tourism develops “when the level of visitor use is greater than the environment’s ability to cope with this use within the acceptable limits of change” (Lorant, 2009). Uncontrolled activities pose potential threats to the natural and built locations everywhere in the world. It can create huge pressure on an area, causing effects such as “land degradation (erosion), increased pollution, discharges into the soil, natural habitat loss, increased pressure on endangered species and heightened vulnerability to forest fires, etc.” (Lorant, 2009). This interruption often increase pressure and it can force local populations to compete for the usage of necessary resources with tourists.

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Companies and different organizations should consider principles of sustainable planning and development in order to have more “friedly” impact on the environment. Examples of these activities could be given from Sziget Festival, when ‘Clean Air Action Group’ increased of the number of mobile toilets or created automatic volume-control devices of the waste collecting system (Raj and Musgrave, 2009). Or another example would be The London 2012 Olympic Games has forming Environmental Management System (Bowdin, 2006). Hackbert (2009) noticed that over time finances generated for the community development will concentrate on projects such as “redeveloping downtown, preserving and restoring historic buildings, planting trees, and installing holiday decorations”. Significant improvements may dominate over short-term environmental negative impacts.

Hackbert (2009) found indicators of negative effects that local community of Mdina, the walled city in the cultural center of the Maltese islands, acknowledged. Tourism accounts for 40 percent of total economy. Residents of Mdina complained “of visitor invasions blocking roads, polluting streets, being noisy and dressing indecently” (Hackbert, 2009). In addition, some residents voiced dissatisfaction in services like street lighting, better tourist routes, irruption of privacy, and “sacrifice of tranquility for the public good without compensation from either government or tour operators” (Hackbert, 2009). So, as tourist attractions begin to grow stronger ties outside the area, local resident may become annoyed and transit an economic benefits negatively. Local people therefore need to understand the importance and benefits of tourism to their region, including tourism’s contribution to economic activity in the area.

In combination with other negative impacts and limited community consultation, locals may become resentful and frustrated with tourism. However, locals may tolerate the negative aspects of tourism events in the knowledge of the positive benefits to the community and that their lives will soon return to normal (Barker et al, 2002). So Gawler visitor Information Centre (2005) advices that community participation in the planning and implementation of event tourism gains more positive attitude, becomes more supportive and has better chance to make more profit than a population passively reject or exceeded by tourism. As Moscardo (2007) argued “that even if an event attracts substantial numbers of tourists and generates revenue but does not create community involvement, it is unlikely to have much of an effect on regional development. It means that without the local involvement the event remains “disconnected” to the locality”.


Event tourism is often understand as increasing the economic and, therefore, the social wellbeing of communities. The importance of events as device for growth of tourism is expected to increase in the future (Pasanen et al, 2009). However, it should be remembered that mentioned growth is more than just economic development in different areas, social and cultural angels are also very important for the success of the events as well as of the destinations.

According to Faulkner (2003) event planners and the tourism industry in general, therefore, take a grave risk in ignoring community impacts of an event. Hall (1991) implies that the most effective action should take the form of a consultative or community based approach to plan­ning. For the success of any event, the host population, public administration and event organisers must work together. All these mentioned parties need to identify and predict impacts and then to manage them to achieve the best balance for everyone (Bowdin, 2006). It is not always easy and simple, but events can be more beneficial when everyone is involved.

Events create some disbursement of local’s life, but until everyone is informed, involved and understand the events potential, it could bring enormous possibilities, advantages and well. Events does not only attract an increasingly audience, but also shape world tourism patterns, highlighting new tourism destinations and creating lasting heritage in the host cities or countries.

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