Building a lasting legacy

Tourism and mega-events – such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup – are closely interlinked in today’s globalised society. Many of those participating in mega-events are tourists, while events that draw large crowds have an enormous impact on the tourist offering of the host destination.

Beyond the immediate impact of large events in terms of investment and infrastructure development – namely accommodation provision and transport, urban development or regeneration, employment generation and brand exposure – there are a number of legacy impacts that should be associated with hosting a major occasion. These include:

  • Building national unity and pride through community involvement
  • Improving the capacity to attract private investment
  • Forming a better prepared workforce
  • Achieving a strong positioning, or repositioning, of the brand of the host destination
  • Transforming a tourism destination

Large events, such as sports tournaments, pose a challenge in terms of environmental impact as they generally concentrate a significant number of people in a limited space during a short time span, so planning committees of mega-events need to incorporate measures that help mitigate this. Objectives must include distinct pre-, during- and post-event strategies and be part of the long-term development plan of a city, region or country if they are to be successful in leaving the desired legacy for the host destination.

The 2014 Tourism Ministers’ Summit, hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel Market (WTM), has the theme ‘Tourism and Mega-Events: building a lasting legacy’, and focuses on the links between tourism and mega-events. The summit will concentrate particularly on:

  • How to measure the impact of mega-events on tourism destinations
  • How to ensure adequate infrastructure development and planning
  • How to promote environmentally sustainable events
  • How to translate the hosting of mega-events into strong destination brands
  • How to promote community engagement and invest in human capital

Speakers will include Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of UNWTO, and Simon Press, senior exhibition director for WTM at Reed Travel Exhibitions. A panel debate will be moderated by Charles Hodson, anchor of CNN’s business programme World Business Today.

The summit takes place in the UK at London’s ExCel exhibition centre on 4 November, during the World Travel Market.




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