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Some Economics of Staging Festivals: The Case of Opera Festivals

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Abstract:

In many instances festivals and events are designed to augment the tourist product of a destination. "Hallmark" events are stand-alone products that move from one destination another because it is what is happening at the time that is important rather than their location. Some events become branded by their locations, such as, for example, the subject of this article, the Savonlinna Opera Festival, which is an annual event that takes place every July in the lake regions of Eastern Finland. The main purpose is to examine how the Festival goes about the economics of sustaining itself financially and achieving its objectives. In terms of its operating characteristics, the Savonlinna Festival is similar to other well-known opera festivals by making use of performers from regular houses during their off season (the summer months) and including a guest company. As a charitable organization, its underlying philosophy is one of service to the public at large through offering a quality experience that is comparable to other world-class venues. This is constrained by the requirement to break even "one year with another" from a variety of revenue sources, of which some 60% comes from ticket sales. The article goes on to develop a revenue management model of the Festival in order to improve decision making, by enabling assessment to be made of the "downside" risk of making a loss. The model has general applicability and can be used to highlight the validity of different pricing strategies.

Keywords: ECONOMICS; EVENTS; OPERA FESTIVAL

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/109830406777410571

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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