Next week marks ABBA’s 40th anniversary, which will be celebrated by events worldwide. The Official International Anniversary Party will gather more than a thousand of ABBA’s biggest fans at Tate Modern in London, and ABBA The Museum in Stockholm is hosting a major event to honor the band’s international breakthrough four decades ago. Research shows that ABBA still has many dedicated fans that travel to destinations and events associated with the band.
- ABBA and Twilight Saga tourism are great examples of how important popular culture fans are for tourism in general and for destinations in particular. Destinations become interesting for new groups of visitors because of their connection to a popular culture phenomenon, says Christine Lundberg, researcher at The European Tourism Research Institute (ETOUR) at Mid Sweden University.
Fan event tourism consists of fans travelling to participate in events in the wake of popular culture. Researchers at ETOUR have for a number of years studied fans travelling to participate in ABBA and Twilight Saga events around the world.
- 62% of all ABBA and Twilight Saga tourists have participated in an ABBA or Twilight Saga event. The average number of days of travel for an ABBA/Twilight Saga event tourist is 2.8 days and they often travel with friends, family or online friends, says Maria Lexhagen, another researcher at ETOUR.
Fans are very active on the Internet. 7 out of 10 fan event tourists visit an ABBA/Twilight related blog, website or community one to several times a day. A majority of them also use internet as their primary source of information when planning their event participation.
- When fans travel, they are very emotionally involved in the place they are going to visit. They are also very knowledgeable about the places they visit. The question is if the destinations really understand the driving forces behind these fans’ desire to travel there and how to benefit from their interest, says Maria Lexhagen.
Research shows that seven out of ten wouldn’t have travelled to the specific destination they visited during their last ABBA/Twilight Saga trip if it had not been for their interest.
- This makes fan event tourism especially important for developing tourism in general and event tourism in particular, says Christine Lundberg.
Facts about ETOUR
The European Tourism Research Institute (ETOUR) at Mid Sweden University develops and communicates scientific knowledge about tourism and travel.
AT ETOUR, there is a research project called PopCulTour, which focuses on knowledge about the way media, like film, TV and literature motivate people to travel. Popular culture tourism can be seen as a system of services, where the tourism trade and other creative industries like film, TV and publishing houses create value for tourists.
See three short presentations of PopCulTour here:
Around the World in the Wake of Pop Culture, part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqkLv2QuJTo
Around the World in the Wake of Pop Culture, part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZh3xLNJJfs
Around the World in the Wake of Pop Culture, part 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sYDpRd7bp8