16 Jun 2010 18:14:00.000
The FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, and Shanghai Expo 2010 are ‘mega events’ — often sports or leisure focused. At their best they’re a catalyst for social, cultural and economic change, potentially worth millions to their host nations. But they don’t always live up to expectations.
Mega events aim to attract visitors from many countries to help develop or reposition a ‘destination’, enhance its international profile, stimulate the economy, and generate social and cultural legacies to benefit communities. How well they achieve their aims depends on many factors. Gains can be made by learning from previous hosts.
Now, backed by a research grant from VISA, Nottingham University Business School’s DeHaan Institute has been asked to use its expertise to construct a new web portal to share winning formulae for tourism ‘mega events’. Working closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and other key bodies, its primary focus will be sports and tourism events
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The project was announced last week in London when the Honourable Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Tourism Minister for the Republic of South Africa, updated the travel industry and media on his country’s preparedness for the FIFA World Cup and positive tourism trends in South Africa. It builds on evidence presented in South Africa in February at the UNWTO Summit on Tourism, Sport & Mega Events.
Professor Leo Jago, Interim Director of the DeHaan Institute, said: “Mega events can bring substantial economic, social and environmental benefits for a host destination, but this potential is rarely realized. Destinations generally treat mega events as short term solutions rather than part of a longer term strategy.
“Since much of the information related to event performance is treated as a state secret and rarely shared, host destinations are often forced to repeat mistakes rather than building on the learning of former host cities. We plan for this portal to be a repository of best practice providing help for those planning future mega events.”
Presenting a report by the DeHaan Institute and VISA on the need to strengthen links between mega events, sports and tourism, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Chair of the DeHaan Institute’s Advisory Board, said: “There is growing recognition of the strong intersects between tourism and mega events; particularly sporting events like the Olympic Games and the Soccer World Cup. It is also clear that there are important economic, social, and environmental impacts — good and bad.
“During the UNWTO/Republic of South Africa meetings in February this year, VISA, as a major global sponsor of mega events, commissioned the research framework led by the DeHaan Institute at The University of Nottingham. We are pleased to announce continuing collaboration in the development of a new Knowledge Portal that will help advance industry interests in this important field.”
The new report reveals that, in recent years, the scale, scope and impact of mega events has increased dramatically — particularly for sports related events.
These events provide massive opportunity and challenges for tourism companies and communities. On the one hand, they give an impetus for local development, new revenue streams, branding, innovation and enterprise; on the other, major cost, management and environmental impacts need to be taken into account.
The bidding and award process itself can be complex, time consuming and very costly. The economic, environmental and branding consequences last for many years. Because such events are ‘owned’ by many different bodies — some very influential, such as the IOC and FIFA — there are knowledge gaps for communities, policymakers and industry stakeholders interested in hosting these events.
Whilst the knowledge may be available in some areas, it is often not easily accessible. The ‘tourism intersects’ are often even less well identified and the full impact over a strategic planning timeframe is difficult to assess given the political hype and media focus of such events. Once bids have been won, these challenges intensify due to the many interests involved in celebration and execution.
Clearly, a means to objectively fill in some of the knowledge gaps would be helpful to destination managers and the many travel and tourism stakeholders engaged in such events. The experience around mega events will be useful for those involved in any international event bidding and management activity.
These points were among the most important conclusions of the Summit on Mega Events held earlier this year under the auspices of the Government of the Republic of South Africa and UNWTO. They were also identified as priorities by the associated research colloquium sponsored by VISA and supported by research from the DeHaan Institute at The University of Nottingham, and Johannesburg University.
As a follow-up to this research, VISA has committed to sponsor the ‘Knowledge Portal’ development, spearheaded by the DeHaan Institute. The work will draw support from other academic institutions around the world. To ensure engagement with stakeholders during the design, construction and operational phases, an Advisory Group is being formed with involvement of major event organizations, UNWTO, and other interested agencies.
Professor Leo Jago added: “This Portal will be a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone in the travel and tourism sector engaged in mega events. It will be designed to meet the evolving policy goals articulated by UNWTO at the Johannesburg Summit, to highlight good practice, identify challenges and particularly to link with the long term shift to green economy values and norms.
“By including operational and performance data across different types of events, it will allow organizers and bidders to gain increased knowledge for planning and delivery of events as well as to better meet their potential based on best practice and as part of a long term strategy.
“It will also incorporate the most up to date search, classification and web based access/storage technology. Relationships will be forged with key event agencies in order to access as much existing data for the portal and where possible, it will link freely with other sites holding event information.”
Following the design and scoping stage in the second half of 2010, the Portal will be launched in 2011 in good time for the London Olympics. This is a great example for Universities Week 2010, taking place from 14-18 June, of how university-based research can be applied to generate positive effects for the global community.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top Ten and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.
Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).
Nottingham University Business School is one of the UK’s leading centres for management education. It ranked among the world’s leading business schools in the 2009 Financial Times Global Top 100 MBA and Global Masters in Management ranking, and The Economist Top 100 MBA 2009.
The School also ranks 1st in the UK, 3rd in Europe and 23rd globally in the Aspen Institute’s ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ ranking of the world’s most innovative MBA programmes that lead the way in integrating social, environmental, and ethical issues into management education and research. The Business School has pioneered entrepreneurship teaching and research at Nottingham and the University won the 2008 Times Higher Education
Entrepreneurial University of the Year award.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (
) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.
More University of Nottingham news: http://communications/nottingham.ac.uk/
Visit http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ttri to find out more about the DeHaan Institute and its research.
For the latest from Nottingham University Business School, visit: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/business/
‘Universities Week: What’s the big idea?’ aims to tell higher education’s success stories this week. Visit the website here:http://www.universitiesweek.org.uk