Journal of Travel Research

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Journal of Travel Research
http://jtr.sagepub.com/content/23/1/2
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/004728758402300101
Journal of Travel Research 1984 23: 2
J.R. Brent Ritchie
Assessing the Impact of Hallmark Events: Conceptual and Research Issues
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2
Assessing t h e I m pact of Hallmark Events:
Conceptual and Research Issues
J. R. BRENT RITCHIE
This
article examines the numerous impacts of hallmark events on the destination
area which hasgenerated the event. These effects include not only the economic results
but also the physical, socio-cultural, psychological, and political impacts such events
have.
The
development and marketing of tourism
destinations relies on a wide range of facilities and
attractions which enable each destination to establish a
unique, competitive appeal. While many destinations
depend almost exclusively on natural resources such as
climate and landscape, others are forced to develop manmade facilities either to enhance the appeal of existing
resources or to create a completely new attraction which
derives little
support from available natural features. The
Grand
Canyon region may be viewed as an example of
the former. Las
Vegas is an example of the latter; it
represents a destination which derives its appeal almost.
entirely from concepts and facilities which are manmade.
Many types of man-made appeals have been
developed to enhance the attractiveness of destinations.
These include elaborate
convention facilities, unique
forms of architecture, and innovative and/or massive
industrial
developments, as well as numerous types of
permanent recreational and cultural attractions. This
article focuses on one specific approach to generating
increased destination appeal. Labeled broadly as the
creation of &dquo;hallmark events,&dquo; this approach involves the
conceptualization and establishment of a major event
which has the ability to focus national and international
attention
on the destination for a well defined and usually
short period of time. The ability of a given hallmark event
to
achieve this objective depends on the uniqueness of the
event, the status of the event, and the extent to which it is
successfully marketed within tourism-generating regions.
HALLMARK EVENTS
For
purpose of
this discussion, hallmark events will
be defined as follows:
Major
one-time or recurring events of limited duration,
developed primarily to enhance the awareness, appeal and
profitability of a tourism destination in the short and/or long
term. Such events rely for their success on uniqueness, status, or
timely significance to create interest and attract attention.
J. R. Brent Ritchie is at The University of Calgary, Calgary,
Alberta, Canada.
Within this broad general description, a number of
different types of hallmark events may be identified (see
Exhibit 1 ).
World fairs represent one of the first forms of events
specifically developed to focus attention on a particular
urban destination, usually by means of a theme having
particular
relevance or significance at a given point in
time. In
addition, it is traditional that a particular theme
be
visually reinforced by means of architecture
symbolizing the site and the theme. Such architecture is
commonly in the form of a tower, of which perhaps the
best known
is the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the 1889
World’s Fair in
Paris. Others include the Space Needle in
EXHIBIT 1
CLASSIFICATION OF HALLMARK EVENTS
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3
Seattle and the Energy Tower in Knoxville. In contrast,
Expo ’67 in Montreal did not utilize such a symbol. The
1984 World
Exposition in New Orleans will feature the
Wonder Wall.
Unique carnivals and festivals represent a second
important category of hallmark events. Examples
include the Mardi Gras of New Orleans, the Winter
Carnival of
Quebec City, the Munich Oktoberfest, and
the
Calgary Stampede. These examples are, of course,
only arbitrary choices from among a wide array of well
known
events which have achieved high levels of
consumer recognition. It should be noted that in
contrast to world fairs, such carnivals or festivals are
usually annually recurring events which develop their
character and reputation over a number of years. Indeed,
the best known carnivals and festivals represent the most
successful from
among
a great number of events usually
initiated by local residents of a region as a means of
celebrating a particular occasion while at the same time
promoting tourism, frequently in the off-season (Ritchie
and Beliveau 1974).
A third category of hallmark events is major sports
events. Here, however, given the pervasiveness of sports
in today’s world, it is not always clear just when a given
sports event can be considered to qualify as a hallmark
event. Such events as the summer and winter Olympic
Games would clearly qualify given their traditions, their
status, their relative
infrequency and their dedication to
excellence. International championships, such as the
World
Cup of soccer, would probably qualify in light of
the
fact that the event occurs only every four years, it
involves what is probably the world’s single most popular
spectator sport, it attracts the very best teams available,
and the hosting of the event is actively sought by many
nations
in the world. Other events, such as the Boston
marathon, may qualify since they have acquired a certain
reputation, even mystique, although the reasons for the
reputation are not always obvious and relate to no
particular uniqueness of the host region. Even further
down the scale are regularly recurring world class
competitive events which include Grand Prix racing,
World Cup skiing and major championships in such
sports as golf and tennis. While these latter events do not
possess the same degree of uniqueness that characterize
obvious hallmark events, it must be recognized that many
such
events (e.g., the Wimbledon tennis championship
and the Master’s golf tournament) have successfully
created an aura of tradition which is a major draw from a
tourism perspective.
The category of cultural and religious events
includes a diverse collection of activities which are held
for
non-commercial reasons but which provide
important
contributions to the tourism industry of the
region involved, even though it may be unfashionable to
openly admit to this fact (Buck 1977). Such events as
papal and royal coronations are clearly not held
primarily for purposes of tourism, yet they do attract
significant numbers of visitors who utilize tourism
facilities. Other events, such as the Oberammergau
passion play
in Germany, were originally developed for
religious purposes and continue to fulfil this role. At the
same time, they have developed in a manner which
includes a significant tourism component. Other events,
such as the 1981 royal wedding in Great Britain, could be
staged in a very private manner, but are not. Rather,
public interest in such events is actively heightened
through extensive media attention which is used to turn
the event into a commercial undertaking having a
substantial tourism component.
A similar situation exists with respect to various
historical milestones which
are erected within cities,
regions, and countries, as well as organizations and
historic sites. These milestones could, like centennial
celebrations
be allowed to
pass with only local
observance, but may be intentionally promoted largely
for tourism reasons. While certain of these milestones are
indeed significant (such as the 500th anniversary of the
founding of certain cities in Europe), others may be
relatively trivial from an overall historical perspective
(such as the 50th anniversary of a state or province).
Nonetheless, frequently no effort is spared by politicians
and others to fully exploit such events. Whether these
events can be classified as genuine hallmark events must
be decided on a case by case basis.
A
very
interesting category of hallmark events that is
frequently overlooked may be described as classical
commercial and agricultural events. While certain of the
events included in this category may have been
established at least partially with promotional objectives
in mind (e.g., agricultural fairs), others represent
traditional activities which have achieved international
recognition owing to their unique character combined
with their
economic significance. Perhaps one of the best
examples of such events is the annual ritual of wine
purchasing which occurs each year in Beaune, France.
Others, such as Floriade ’82 held in Amsterdam, are
based on particular products (flowers) but are somewhat
more &dquo;artificial&dquo; as events in that they involve a more
concerted effort at promotion.
Finally, major political
personage events may in
certain
cases be considered as hallmark events from a
tourism perspective. Although such events are by nature
and origin non-touristic, their inherent appeal and the
interest they create have frequently been harnessed in a
way that their significance to the travel industry cannot
be ignored or viewed as accidental. Perhaps the best
example is the inauguration of the President of the
United
States, which attracts significant numbers of
visitors
to a series of related social events. In a somewhat
different class
are more solemn events such as funerals of
major world leaders and national heroes. A recent
example is the death of Marshall Tito in Yugoslavia,
which for political reasons attracted large numbers of
foreign dignitaries and their entourages. In addition, the
funeral itself served
as the launching point for the
creation of
a national cult focusing on the significant role
that
Tito played in the development of the country. While
the
purposes of this process
are primarily political, it is
clear that the
impacts on tourism in both the short term
and longer term are not inconsequential and are, in fact,
being consciously utilized to strengthen the appeal of
Yugoslavia as a travel destination.
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4
THE IMPACT OF HALLMARK EVENTS
While previous discussions of the impact of
hallmark events have tended to be largely unidimensional, it is the thesis of this article that a broader analytical
framework is both useful and necessary. As shown in
Exhibit 2, it is felt that at least six major types of impact
need to be examined when the significance of hallmark
events is assessed.
Economic impacts clearly receive the greatest
attention
by those concerned with evaluating the costs
and benefits associated with a particular event (for
example,
Della Bitta et al 1977). Indeed, it is often only
EXHIBIT 2
TYPES OF IMPACT OF HALLMARK EVENTS
economic impacts which are considered, and then usually
the positive ones, such as the increased revenues and
employment created by the event. While these impacts
are extremely relevant and often very important, an
honest assessment of the value of a particular hallmark
event must also include estimates of the negative impacts,
such as commodity price increases and real estate
speculation that may be associated with the event.
Tourism and commercial impacts are also generally
recognized
as important outcomes resulting from
hallmark
events, and here again it is commonly assumed
that these
impacts are primarily positive in nature.
Despite the general acknowledgement of the existence of
tourism/ commercial impacts, little attention has been
paid to assessing their significance owing to the
difficulties associated with their measurement.
A third category of impacts being increasingly
recognized
may be described as physical impacts. The
positive elements of such impacts most commonly
catalogued relate to the new facilities constructed as a
result of the event, as well as the improvement of local
infrastructures which
might not have been politically or
financially feasible without the event. On the negative
side, growing attention is being focused on the
environmental damage due to development for certain
hallmark
events. To a lesser degree, concern is also being
expressed in relation to the uncontrolled overcrowding of
facilities that often occurs during such events and the
implications of such overcrowding from the standpoint
of safety and the legitimate desire of the local population
to use local facilities.
The three remaining categories of potential impacts
have received much less formal attention and, it is
argued, have been underestimated in terms of
importance. The psychological impacts, while generally
assumed to lead to favorable outcomes, are poorly
understood. A similar situation exists in the case of
sociocultural impacts, despite the frequently stated view
that the
primary role of many hallmark events is to serve
as a
vehicle for the development of social interactions
drawing on the traditions, values and interests of local
residents. On the
negative side, it has recently been noted
(Jafari 1982) that over-zealous attempts at commercialization
may in fact
destroy the sociocultural values and
traditions which it is desired to develop. The final
category of effects, defined as political impacts, has been
systematically ignored by most previous attempts to
assess the significance of hallmark events. Such political
impacts
may usefully be viewed at two levels. The more
acceptable effects may be defined as macro-level impacts.
This refers to the short and long term enhancement of the
image of a tourism destination or region which may result
from
an event such as the Olympic Games or a major
cultural activity. Less acceptable as a subject of
discussion is the degree to which the holding of a given
hallmark event
may in reality reflect the desire of a small
elite
to
pursue its interests in the name of community
development.
MEASURING THE IMPACTS OF
HALLMARK EVENTS
From the perspective of the researcher, the
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5
measurement
of the
range
of impacts of hallmark events
is a complex and practically difficult task. Reflection and
discussion
are still required before any pretense of
formulating a comprehensive assessment approach can
be made. As a contribution to this
process,
an attempt
has been made to identify the nature of the variables that
should be measured for the
various categories of data
required to assess each of six types of impact outlined
above. In addition, a parallel attempt has been made to
highlight some of the more critical problems associated
with the collection of the data involved, as well as their
subsequent interpretations.
Economic Impacts
It is not surprising, in light of the foregoing
discussion, to find that the variables and measurement
problems related to the economic impacts of Hallmark
Events
are the best understood. Exhibit 3 contains a
detailed summarization of
many of the known research
issues which interested readers
may
wish to review. Those
who
want only a more general understanding should note
the following points.
First, while the measures related to economic impact
assessment (number and origin of participants, mode of
travel, expenditures, etc.) are conceptually simple, the
actual
collection of such information is extremely
difficult. These difficulties derive from the conditions
under which data must be gathered and the many diverse
sources from which data must be collected in order to
provide a complete understanding of the economic
repercussions of major events.
Second, there are two principal types of data sources
which must be consistently employed in parallel to
provide a comprehensive data base and a mechanism for
verifying the reliability of economic impact estimates.
Direct
measures refer to those for which information is
gathered from the participants themselves either before,
during or after the event. Indirect measures involve the
collection of data from organizations where activity or
performance levels are affected by the event of interest.
These changes in activities or performance levels are
usually captured from statistics gathered on an ongoing
basis.
Events which recur on a regular basis (such as
annually) provide the best opportunity to develop a
comprehensive, reliable measurement system for
assessing their economic impacts. Because of this, the
information gathered can be justified for its usefulness as
a management tool as well as for its contribution to an
improved understanding of the value of the event in
general. In contrast, the effort and resources necessary to
thoroughly evaluate the economic impact of a one-time
event can only be justified in cases where the event is truly
a significant one.
Finally, while a general framework is extremely
valuable as a starting point for research on the economic
impacts of hallmark events, great care must be taken in
adapting the general model to local conditions. Factors
such
as geography (which influences access modes and
routes), climate (which influences data collection
conditions), tax policies (which influence data availability), local support for the event (which influences
cooperation in data collection), and the magnitude of the
event relative to the total
economy all
play a role in
determining the details of the research methodology.
Tourism/Commercial Impacts
The sponsoring of many hallmark events has often
been based
on the assumption that the event leads to the
enhancement of the
awareness and reputation of the host
region from both a tourism and commercial standpoint
(Exhibit
4). While this assumption is intuitively
appealing,
there have been few studies which document
the
extent to which it is valid. Upon reflection, it becomes
evident that the
potential for negative tourism/ commercial outcomes cannot be dismissed. Certain regions
which have a modest yet favorable image as an attractive
travel
destination may find they become the object of
humor
(or even mild ridicule) as the result of the event
designed to enhance their reputation. The reader can
undoubtedly identify examples of such situations from
his or her experience.
In terms of commercial impacts, hallmark event
organizers must recognize that success in promoting the
industrial attractiveness of their region may be met with
subtle
yet real opposition. While industrial development
may benefit the region as a whole, it may also have
negative impacts on particular individuals and firms.
These individuals and firms
may resent the emphasis on
efforts to attract outside foreign investors who will
compete
for local labor and divert government
assistance.
Researchers
attempting to assess the extent to which
a hallmark event affects the tourism/ commercial
activities of a region face several methodological
concerns. These include:
1. The need to obtain awareness and knowledge
measures in a large number of foreign countries. This
implies difficulties of coordination of data collection, the
need
to overcome language differences, and high unit
costs
per respondent.
2. Difficulties in determining the relevant target
populations from both a tourism and a commercial
standpoint. Since a large percentage of the population
and the industrial community of a given region offers
little
or no potential for actual business, great care must
be taken in deciding how awareness and knowledge data
should be
gathered.
3. The need to continually monitor awareness and
knowledge levels over time.
4. Difficulties in
relating measured changes in
awareness and knowledge levels concerning the city or
region to the hallmark event. In this regard two issues are
involved. First, shifts in awareness and knowledge may
occur owing to other happenings unrelated to the
hallmark
event. Examples might include natural
catastrophes and political scandals. Second, for certain
better-known
destinations, the measureable impact of
the hallmark
event
may be difficult to detect separately
from the overall reputation of the region.
Physical Impacts
Nearly
all hallmark events require special facilities
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6
EXHIBIT 3
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED
IN ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA COLLECTION AND
INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
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7
EXHIBIT 4
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED IN TOURISM/
COMMERCIAL IMPACT STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA
COLLECTION AND INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
and infrastructures, many of which are extensive and
costly. The development of such facilities presents a
situation in which there is an ever-present conflict
between the benefits derived from the
development and
the
potential for environmental degradation caused by
facility
construction and subsequent use (Exhibit 5).
There is clearly no right answer concerning the &dquo;most
appropriate&dquo; set of trade-offs that should be made; each
set of decisions must reflect the unique mix of economic
conditions, stage of development, natural resources and
human values of the
region involved.
The benefits resulting from a hallmark event are
most commonly in the form of public works left behind
for the
use of the local population once the event is over.
These public works, often referred to as the &dquo;legacy&dquo; from
the event, are very prominent, functional reminders of
the
event which
range from
unique single-activity
buildings
to general purpose items such as road systems.
While
the physical presence of such developments
presents researchers with few measurement problems
when assessing the benefits from an event, there are some
very real accounting concerns that need to be addressed
in
attempting to fairly report on the benefits that can be
attributed
to a given event. Considerable judgment is
required to determine the degree to which a given facility
or infrastructure component is a direct result of the event.
In
many
cases there is no clear evidence that a facility
would not have been provided without the event or that
particular infrastructure development has not merely
been accelerated because of an event. In another vein, the
value of the
benefits provided to the population by a
given facility or infrastructure component may be
difficult to assess. Certain highly specialized facilities
may be irrelevant
to the interests of large segments of the
population. In other cases, the size and specifications of
the facilities
required by the event may far exceed the
needs of the local
population. Despite these potential
concerns, the reader should not gain the impression that
the
legacies from hallmark events are generally
questionable.
In the great majority of cases, hallmark
events have resulted in the creation of highly valuable
developments which have served as the basis of
recreational
enjoyment for local populations for many
years. As
well, certain facilities have served as the catalyst
for new economic development, cultural growth, and
athletic excellence.
EXHIBIT 5
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED IN PHYSICAL IMPACT
STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA COLLECTION AND
INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
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8
The negative impacts ofdevelopment related to hallmark events usually fall in the area of environmental
degradation. This is particularly true in cases where the
event allies itself with, or draws upon, some unique
natural or physical resource which is in limited supply. In
such situations there is
a clear risk that development for
the
event will cause serious deterioration of natural
resources, sometimes in an irreversible manner. Even
here, however, there is considerable scope for judgment
concerning
the extent and seriousness of the degradation
which results from both development and subsequent use
of a facility. The values of those making such judgments
are particularly influential in determining the extent to
which environmental degradation and facility
overcrowding
are viewed as unacceptable. Finally, while
the
environmental impacts of hallmark events are often
viewed
as negative, there are also examples of positive
outcomes. The most striking of these is the renewal of
decaying urban areas associated with several recent
world fairs.
Research to establish the nature and extent of the
environmental impacts of a given hallmark event draws
heavily on a wide range of methods and skills. The study
of impacts on natural regions requires input from
engineers, biologists and landscape designers, to mention
only a few. In urban settings, the views of urbanplanners, sociologists and psychologists are essential
supplements to the engineering and architectural skills
required for facility construction. While a detailed
discussion
of the diverse methods for environmental
impact analysis is beyond the scope of the present article,
it should be stressed that such research must now be
considered an essential component of an overall research
program
to assess the impacts of hallmark events.
Sociocultural Impacts
This area of impact analysis has received increasing
attention in recent
years, although it remains far behind
economic impact assessment as a field of research
activity. While much of the work on sociocultural
impacts which has been reported to date involves the
study of developing and/ or fragile cultures, it is also true
that a major hallmark event can significantly affect a
developed community or region in ways which are both
positive and negative.
The positive impacts of hallmark events (Exhibit 6)
can be assessed primarily by the extent to which they
contribute to the social and cultural development of the
sponsoring or host milieu. On the social dimension, hallmark events offer at least two important opportunities
for community development. One involves the
strengthening of the social fabric of the community
through the improved quality of personal relationships
derived from the extensive volunteer efforts frequently
associated with such events. A second major area of
opportunity for social development involves the
possibility of initiating or reinforcing activities and
behaviors which it is felt would contribute to the well
being of a community. A specific example is the increased
level of participation in sports activities which might
result from hosting a major sporting event.
Hallmark events offer parallel opportunities for
cultural
development. In an educational sense, the
frequently international appeal of such events provides a
stimulus for the expansion of the cultural horizons of
community residents. In more concrete terms, the
holding of a hallmark event is often accompanied by a
large number of peripheral events and activities which
attract outstanding cultural groups and exhibits that
EXHIBIT 6
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED IN
SOCIOCULTURAL
IMPACT STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA COLLECTION
AND INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
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9
might normally not be drawn to a particular community.
In this role, a hallmark event can serve as a catalyst for a
renaissance of cultural activity for an entire region.
On the negative side, hallmark events may
contribute
to social dissension and charges of cultural
elitism if
care is not taken to ensure that activities are
compatible with the values of community residents. As
well, efforts must be made to facilitate access to, and
participation in, the full range of opportunities
encompassed by the events. Furthermore, hallmark
events which attempt to impose lifestyles or behaviors
which alienate
significant segments of the population will
not leave the legacies of more compatible undertakings.
In a similar vein, those responsible for the organization of
hallmark
events should attempt to involve the existing
social and cultural structure of the community rather
than
developing new, parallel structures. While such an
approach may appear functionally inefficient and require
substantially
more effort, it will go far in ensuring that a
fundamental goal of hallmark event hosting is retained,
namely,
that of community development.
From a research standpoint, the measurement of the
sociocultural impacts related to a hallmark event
presents a number of difficulties, many of which are
conceptual as well as practical. These difficulties derive
largely from the fact that success in the sociocultural
sense is heavily determined by individual and community
value systems. To the extent that there is a reasonable
consensus among community members as to the
desirability of particular outcomes, then research can
assess the success achieved in the pursuit ofspecific sociocultural objectives. Conversely, when a community holds
strongly diverse views on social and cultural goals,
measures of success are not
easy to define and researchers
must place greater emphasis on simply documenting and
describing the impacts resulting from the hallmark event.
Even when a consensus exists as to the objectives
sought
from a hallmark event, the study of sociocultural
impact is still difficult owing to the lack of hard measures.
Whereas economic impacts can be defined in terms of
expenditure and employment figures, measures
describing sociocultural outcomes frequently do not lend
themselves
to
easy quantification. Examples might
include measures of community spirit, social interaction
and cultural richness. This is not intended to imply that
reasonable
proxy
measures cannot be developed-only
that there are relatively few existing guidelines and that
considerable conceptual thinking is required for the
design of such measures.
The lack of accepted, ready-made measures leads to
a further research problem, namely the non-existence of
base-line data against which to measure progress or lack
of
progress. This implies that for the results of a study to
be meaningful, the research will almost always have to
involve a longitudinal design. Such a design necessitates a
long term research horizon, substantial commitment to
the study, and more resources than required by a simple
cross-sectional approach.
Psychological
Impacts
The psychological impacts of hallmark events are to
a great extent related to the cultural effects discussed
earlier.
For
purposes of
this discussion, it has been judged
desirable to examine psychological impacts separately
because they offer a distinct avenue of research (Exhibit
7). In specific terms, one of the impacts of interest is the
increased level
of local pride and enthusiasm for the
community which can result from the prestige associated
with the success of a hallmark event. Such pride and
enthusiasm
may result in very real improvements in
industrial
self-confidence and in employee productivity.
Other less commercial benefits involve the expanded
awareness of communities and regions outside of the
country in question. Examples can be cited of smaller,
relatively isolated cities which have developed a much
more cosmopolitan view of the world as a result of a
mainstream hallmark event, such as a world’s fair.
EXHIBIT 7
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED IN PSYCHOLOGICAL
IMPACT STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA COLLECTION
AND INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
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10
There are also downside risks with respect to the
psychological impacts of a hallmark event. Unless local
confidence
is developed, outside comment and criticism
may lead to defensiveness and self-doubts rather than
pride and enthusiasm. As well, in the case of a smaller
host
community, the arrival of large numbers of visitors
having different values and behaviors may result in
varying degrees of host/visitor hostility rather than
improved hospitality. Discussion of the foregoing
negative impacts
is not intended to discourage such
initiatives. However, the organizers of hallmark events
must
recognize the need to create and build the positive
momentum of confidence that will enable the inevitable
minor reversals to be readily overcome.
Studies to assess the psychological impacts of
hallmark
events focus primarily on the measurement of
resident attitudes
and opinions concerning the hallmark
event and the visitors it atttracts. Fortunately, there is a
considerable body of knowledge in the field of attitude
scaling and measurement which can be drawn upon when
undertaking such research. What is required is to use this
knowledge to develop measures specifically related to the
event under study. Resident attitude research (versus the
study of visitors) is also made easier by the fact that
respondents are easily located and can be interviewed at
home. This facilitates the gathering of data on a
longitudinal basis, thus providing the basis for an
information system which can alert event managers to
potentially negative resident reactions to proposals or
decisions related to the event.
While the measurement of resident attitudes
may be
fairly straightforward, the interpretation of the data may
not be. Again, as in the case of sociocultural studies,
resident values are involved, particularly in the area of
hospitality towards visitors. Different individuals derive
varying satisfactions from the meeting and hosting of
visitors. Given this reality, the existence of negative or
positive measures regarding visitors may reflect resident
dissatisfaction
or merely disinterest in the topic.
Political Impacts
To date it has been somewhat unfashionable to
explicitly acknowledge the pursuit of political objectives
in relation to the sponsorship or hosting of a hallmark
event (Exhibit 8). Despite this reality, political goals can
be the primary driving force behind efforts to attract or
establish events such as world sports championships, the
Olympic Games, world fairs, and high profile
international meetings. The more obvious political
objectives
related to hallmark events are found at the
macro level. Here, governments or private groups from a
nation or major city may seek to enhance the reputation
of their region for commercial and tourism purposes or
hope to promote the status of a particular ideology in
relation
to the event.
Less obvious, but perhaps more important as true
driving forces for the holding of hallmark events, are
what
may be termed
micro-political factors. This refers to
the desire of individuals to utilize the visibility offered by
involvement with an event to enhance their careers in
both
political and non-political arenas. It may also refer
to the desire of particular individuals to provide greater
EXHIBIT 8
SPECIFIC VARIABLES MEASURED IN POLITICAL IMPACT
STUDIES AND ASSOCIATED DATA COLLECTION AND
INTERPRETATION PROBLEMS
opportunities to local athletes for high quality
competition
and international exposure. It should be
stressed that
micro-political motives should not be
dismissed merely as negative examples of selfish egotrips. While such may be the case, it must be recognized
that
many hallmark
events rely heavily on the efforts of
individuals who receive few financial rewards while
incurring high personal costs. Viewed in this perspective,
recognition
for effective efforts which provide a fair
return to the population as a whole appears both
legitimate and desirable.
Attempts to document the political impacts of
hallmark
events
appear to have received little or no
attention in the reported literature. Two reasons
probably account for this situation. First, the lack of
desire to explicitly acknowledge political goals (macro
and micro) has meant that there has been little incentive
to commission such research-indeed there are
undoubtedly pressures in the opposite direction. Second,
even if political impact research were desired, it is
difficult
to obtain short term, quantitative measures
related to such goals as increased status or ideology
enhancement from a diverse and dispersed international
or national population. While the task is not an
impossible one, the measurement of political impacts will
continue to be neglected unless the subject attracts the
interest of
a particular individual or group of individuals.
CONCLUSION
To date, the majority of reported studies on the
impact of hallmark events has focused on the impact
(usually economic)
of a specific example. In this article,
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11
an attempt has been made to critically review the overall
concept of measuring the impacts of such events. In doing
so, the discussion has focused on three main areas:
1. A proposed classification of hallmark events
which identifies and structures the wide variety of events
under consideration. This framework includes events
which might not normally be viewed as hallmark events
in the more traditional sense, but which can and do
involve a significant level of travel/ tourism activity.
2. A proposed classification of the types of impact
which need to be assessed for a particular hallmark event.
Again, this framework includes traditional areas
(economic impact, tourism impact, physical impact), an
emerging area (sociocultural impact), and two more
speculative areas (psychological impact, political
impact).
3. A listing of the types of variables that might be
measured in relation
to each type of impact. In addition,
the nature of associated data collection and interpretations were highlighted.
It is hoped that the ideas expressed in this article will
serve as a stimulus for further discussion of this
important topic and will eventually lead to more
definitive and more comprehensive approaches to the
assessment of the impact of hallmark events than are
currently employed in most situations.
REFERENCES
Buck, Roy C. (1977), “Making Good Business Better: A Second Look
at Staged Tourist Attractions,” Journal of Travel Research 15,
(Winter),
3-32.
Della
Bitta, Albert J., David L. London, Geoffrey G. Booth and
Richard R. Weeks
(1971), “Estimating the Economic Impact of a
Short-Term Tourist Event,” Journal of Travel Research 16, (Fall),
10-15.
Jafari, Jafar (1982), “Understanding the Structure of Tourism—An
Avant
Propos to Studying its Costs and Benefits,” Proceedings of
the 32nd Congress of the International Association of Scientific
Experts in Tourism, St. Gall, Switzerland: Editions AIEST.
Ritchie, J. R. Brent and Donald Beliveau (1974), “Hallmark Events: An
Evaluation of a Strategic Response to Seasonality in the Travel
Market,” Journal of Travel Research 14, (Fall), 14-20.
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