Posted by: olymponomics | January 30, 2012

Tourism risk and the Olympics

One of the conventional wisdoms about the value of mega-events such as the Olympics concerns the idea of urban “boosterism” — in the regeneration and promotion of host cities, often through the stimulation of international tourism and investment. While it is argued that these sorts of events enable cities to establish a reputation as desirable tourist destinations, some research suggests that there is mixed evidence of a link between hosting sporting events and increased tourism. Indeed it is possible for there to be displacement effects, as supply shortages and cost inflation of hotel accommodation put downward pressure on regular tourism. Benefits of tourist ‘boosterism’ therefore tend to be distributed in the longer-term, although it is unclear to what extent a global mega-city like London will reach new tourist markets through hosting the Olympics. What is apparent is that the debate over the economic benefits of hosting the Games will rumble on into the future.

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