Současná Evropa
Národohospodářská fakulta
Regionální studia
Národohospodářská fakulta, Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze

Regionální studia 2012/1

Mega-event tourism and its lasting effects on a locality

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Marta Bakucz

Since the change of regime there has been no Hungarian city which has experienced such a complex event as that in Pécs in 2010 – planned to drive and renew political and cultural life and to unite local social forces. The ‘Pécs 2010’ year is now over, but it will remain a serious topic for investigation for the foreseeable future, even if the long-term issue of the sustainability of major cultural events is overshadowed by concerns relating to the burden of the associated financial investment. ‘Pécs 2010’ represented a huge challenge: of that there was never the slightest doubt. The city – Hungary’s fifth in terms of population – is, with below 160,000 residents, no huge metropolis and nor is it a traditionally major tourist destination. Hence, its experience and expertise in organising major events could not be regarded as any guarantee of success. The degree of success in material terms is something which is relatively easy to measure on the basis of statistics pertaining to the year and the opinions of local experts and opinion leaders. In respect of the first, there is a good amount of such data available to demonstrate tourism performance, and this is drawn upon in the paper. In respect of the second, the author has assembled secondary data from the representatives of the most important stakeholders: the heads of the tourism, hotel, catering and cultural industries at city, regional and/or national level – all in respect of what their organisations did in their particular fields for the success of the city in the project year. However, a serious assessment of the true impact and value of a project such as the ECoC year can only be achieved by asking the most important target group - the local residents - for their opinions on whether the city was now a better place in which to live, whether their Quality of Life (QoL) had improved. Our survey focusing on this was started in the Spring of 2011, as the effects of the year in question had started to mature, and was continued and concluded during the Summer and Autumn. We were first able to consider data from the early results of a ’test survey’ carried out among students (most of whom are residents of the city) and the results of the completed exercise are now presented here.

Keywords: EcoC year, local residents, Quality of Life, sustainability, weak tourism destination.00