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The Development of a Generic Scale to Measure the Social Impacts of Events

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Tourism destination managers are increasingly looking at events as an important mechanism for enhancing tourism development in their regions. While it is clear that events have the potential to generate positive economic impacts, a balanced appraisal of the success of an event needs to consider the total cost/benefit package including social impacts. Unlike economic impacts, social impacts of events can be difficult to measure objectively as many of them cannot be quantified, and they often have a differential effect on different members of the community. For this reason, social impacts are frequently examined through investigation of residents' perceptions of the impacts. However, little research has undertaken a systematic evaluation of these social impacts, and the aim of this CRC for Sustainable Tourism study is to provide a framework within which to assess these impacts. This article documents the processes involved in developing a scale to be used in assessing the social impacts of three different events. The development process began with a review of literature to generate items, which were supplemented by items generated through focus group discussions. The overall aim of the study is to test and validate an instrument that can be used to compare the social impacts of a variety of events and ultimately to inform knowledge in the area of social impact assessment in tourism more generally. In so doing, the article provides, through the use of factor analysis, a reduced set of items for measuring the social impacts of events. It is anticipated that this method will provide a more parsimonious instrument for general use.
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Keywords: Assessment scale development; Events; Generic scale; Residents' perceptions; Social impacts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Griffith University 2: †Victoria University

Publication date: January 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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