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Implementing Tourism Events: The Discourses of Umeå's Bid for European Capital of Culture 2014

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Regional competitiveness has become a truism for many places today. In line with this competitive discourse, planners in Umeå, Northern Sweden, are seeking to create a sticky place where capital and people are attracted by enhancing the cultural sector through the hosting of events. By implementing the bid for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2014 through a positive growth-oriented discourse, it is hoped that a multitude of stakeholders will come together in a network of co-creation, and enhance an image of the city as a creative and gushing place with endless development possibilities. This paper studies how a development proposal is implemented among the stakeholders by seeking to create positive expectations. With a point of departure in stakeholder theory and interdiscursive analysis, this study explores the role of discourse in stakeholder dynamics and engagement. The results of this study show that implementation is not merely a marketing process, but different opinions will emerge that may contest the official discourse, and that the outcomes of the implementation strategy may be hard to control unless the official discourse is consciously elaborated to adapt to these counter-discourses.
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Keywords: ECOC 2014; Stakeholder theory; Umeå; bid for events; discourse; event tourism; legitimate stakeholders; “co-creation”

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Social and Economic Geography,Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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