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The Impact on Tourism of Mega-Sporting Events: The Stakes of Foreign Spectators

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Many economic impact studies have been commissioned to ensure that mega-sporting events have an influence on the level of economic activity of the host territory. The attraction of many tourists is usually at the center of the analysis. Nevertheless, these studies are still controversial. Indeed, major methodological challenges arise when it comes to making such calculations, and results should be interpreted with a great deal of caution. We have tried to avoid the main biases linked to calculating the impact in order to develop the most reliable assessment possible of a mega-sporting event. By using base theory and collecting quality information, we have tried to avoid common errors. We chose the rugby World Cup 2007 in France to illustrate this debate. Foreign spectators were at the root of most of the economic impact on French regions, with significant differences depending on their nationalities and their sociodemographic profiles. It thus appeared that the regional impact of the event was even stronger, since the host matches attracted many foreign spectators with a high level of income and expenditure. Lessons can be learned from such a result for organizers who want to host a mega-sporting event.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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