Hosting events as a tool for restoring destination image

download (1)This is the title of a paper by Eli Avraham from the University of Haifa in Volume 8 of the International Journal of Event Management Research in November 2014.

While the events industry itself is well aware of the huge positive potential a well-executed project can make, Dr Avraham uses the paper to explore the theory of hosting ‘spotlight events’ in destinations where a negative image makes it very difficult to attract tourism, businesses and inward investment.  This is also a topic that is currently being discussed in great detail by the City Nation Place initiative.  So what exactly are the benefits of hosting events in a less well known destination, and what kind of events should they be?

Dr Avraham identifies seven different types of events which can have a significant impact on how potential visitors view a destination:

  1. Mega sports events: Olympics, World Cup Football,
  2. Sports events: city marathons, individual sporting federation’s world cups
  3. Cultural events: festivals
  4. Events that brand a destination contrary to the stereotype
  5. Events with opinion leaders and celebrities: Davos, Cannes Film Festival, G8 Summit
  6. Conferences and conventions
  7. Events that convert negative characteristics into positive

Human nature means that potential audiences are often very fixed in their opinions about a particular destination, and consequently ordinary marketing efforts will not make a significant difference.  This is where events that are expertly created, managed and executed can deliver.  But, as organisers of Barack Obama’s recent visit to Tanzania discovered, it is not enough to clean up your act for a few short days, there has to be additional investment to ensure that any goodwill is not lost as the last dignitary boards the plane home.


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