Legacy of Mega Events in Tourism - International - November 2010
Today, mega events have become a truly global phenomenon. With international communications operating at a level of sophistication never seen before, these events have the potential to reach (and be followed in) most countries around the world.
Mega events broadly fit into two categories: sporting and cultural. The former tends to grab the media spotlight largely because they are competitions in which nations are competing against each other. This creates a level of excitement that is not experienced in the cultural mega events. Sporting mega events also tend to be held for shorter durations than cultural ones. As a consequence, the impact and legacy of these two types of mega event can differ considerably.
The increased levels of professionalism in sport linked with improvements in broadcasting have made sporting mega events a truly global experience. At the same time, countries and regions increasingly consider these events as possible lucrative opportunities for large potential tangible (such as visitor numbers, expenditure, infrastructure development) and intangible (such as national pride and country image) benefits for the host.
The tourism benefits of mega events are generally believed to be the principal legacy of hosting an event, along with world-class sporting facilities and improved infrastructure. While most studies into the legacy of mega events focus on the period afterwards, there are in fact three stages of the legacy effect: the impact before the event, the impact during the event, and its legacy after the event. Consequently, while this report is titled The Legacy of Mega Events in Tourism, it covers the period before, during and after these events.
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