The impact of events can now be evaluated in a new way

Fri 24 May 2019 21:05

For many destinations, events like music festivals and sports events are opportunities to attract tourists and to place the destination on the map. Together with the Mid Sweden University research centre ETOUR, a panel of experts in tourism research has identified six indicators that can be used to capture the effect of events on the communities in which they take place.

Photo: Storsjöyran

To be able to evaluate events from an economic perspective is essential to policy-makers, who distribute funding and apply for new events. However, a sustainable destination must also be able to attend to the needs of the community members – so how can we evaluate the social impact of planned events on a destination level? This is the focus of our research, says Martin Wallstam, doctoral student at the tourism research centre ETOUR at Mid Sweden University.

The six new indicators are:

Community quality of life - the general impact on the perceived conditions under which community residents live
Community pride - the impact on community residents’ sense of pride from living in a locality where a certain event takes place
Social capital - the impact an event has on community residents’ social networks and networking opportunities (e.g. does the event offer opportunities to meet and interact with event visitors or other community residents?)
Sense of community - the impact an event has on community residents’ perceived sense of cohesion following an event
Community capacity enhancement - ways in which an event provides opportunities for community members to build competency
Facilities impact - the perceived improvement of infrastructure and facilities because of a planned event, as well as the perceived access to these facilities for community members.

− By means of these indicators, we hope to contribute to overall event strategies that evaluate more than tourism spending and brand-related values. In the long run, municipalities will be better equipped to build well-balanced event portfolios that put communities first, says Martin Wallstam.

The project used a so-called Delphi approach. An expert panel evaluates a number of questions. The answers are collected and the experts then have the opportunity to change their evaluation based on the findings of the rest of the panel. The aim is to reach consensus.

ETOUR mapped 79 researchers around the world that would be suitable experts for the panel. From this list, 12 participants were chosen, all experts in different fields of event research.

The next step of the project is to interview key stakeholders and conduct a pilot study of an event.

You will find the full text here:
Wallstam, M., Ioannides, D. & Pettersson, R. (2018). 
Evaluating the social impacts of events : in search of unified indicators for effective policymaking. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events


The page was updated 5/25/2019