Global Competitiveness and Special Events in Cultural Tourism: The Example of the Barnes Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Carmichael, Barbara A., The Canadian Geographer
Cette etude examine le role du tourisme culturel dans l'amelioration la competitivite mondiale urbaine. La recente expansion des produits culturels urbains est liee a l'amelioration de la qualite de vie, a la prosperite et au developpement economique. Un exemple de produit culturel urbain d'importance internationale constitue l'etude de cas de cette recherche qui essaie d'etablir de potentiels rapports entre ces facteurs. De septembre 1994 a janvier 1995, la Galerie d'Art de l'Ontario a accueilli une importante exposition de peintures impressionnistes francaises intitulee: de Cezanne a Matisse, chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture francaise, mais plus connue sous le nom de l'Exposition Barnes. Cet evenement culturel a joue un role dans le pole attractif du tourisme urbain de la ville de Toronto. L'exposition a attire, tel un aimant, de nombreux visiteurs, venus de l'exterieur de Toronto, uniquement pour visiter cette exposition. Cet article explore ?impact spatial de l'Exposition Barnes grace une analyse de segmentation des visiteurs de l'exposition venus de l'exterieur. Les visiteurs ont ete segmentes en fonction de leur motif principal pour la visite et en fonction de leur origine. L'attrait de l'exposition a ete analyse avec deux simples modules de gravitation qui decrivent l'effet des distances sur la frequence des visites. Les visiteurs exterieurs venus de l'Ontario sont compares aux visiteurs venus des Etats-Unis en fonction de leur motivation de voyage, de leur profil socio-demographique et de leurs habitudes de depenses. Les visiteurs ontariens ont tendance a etre plus ages que les visiteurs americains et l'Exposition Barnes etait le but principal de leur voyage a Toronto. L'etude montre bien la nature de la valeur ajoutee des evenements speciaux sur le produit culturel urbain du point de vue du voyage recreatif et de celui du voyage touristique. Elle montre la complexite et le chevauchement des domaines urbains d'un pole attractif torontois pour differents types de visiteurs d'un meme evenement.
Mots-cles: evenement speciaux, la competitivite mondiale, la competitivite urbane, tourisme culturel
Cities have long held the privileged role of major centres of production and consumption of both economic and cultural activity. However, the precise nature of these functions has changed over time. Cities have changed from centres of manufacturing and mass production in the first half of the twentieth century to central places for a range of service industries by the end of the century. Recently, globalization forces and the increased mobility of labour and capital have led to increased competition among major cities as they aspire to become centres of capital accumulation and foci for the knowledge based industries. Gertler (2001) argues that the foundations of economic success in an increasingly competitive world are the social qualities and properties of urban places as well as their 'cultural products.' The growth in cultural products and the development of urban cultural tourism as part of this phenomenon are instrumental in enhancing city images, attractiveness and competitiveness. Cultural tourism is defined as "visits by persons outside the host community, motivated wholly or in part by interest in the historical, artistic, scientific or lifestyle/heritage offerings of a community, region, group or institution" (LORD Cultural Resources Planning and Management 1993, 11). This growth in cultural activity is particularly relevant to competitiveness in tourism marketing and tourism commodities in cities such as Toronto which are attempting to become 'global cities.' It is also relevant in that cultural products and amenities provide a high quality of life for existing residents and for the attraction of potential residents in growth and 'footloose' industries.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate in what ways one example of a cultural tourism product, a special event, enhances competitiveness in a major city. It is hypothesized that a special cultural event has a number of functions in facilitating competitiveness: it increases linkages with the urban hinterland by attracting tourists; it temporarily increases the tourism resource base by increasing the range of attractions available; and it generates income both to the attraction and to the surrounding city functions as event visitors participate in other activities. In the broader sense, a special event contributes to the quality of life both for locals and tourists alike.
A case study approach is taken by secondary analysis of a data set of visitors to the Barnes Exhibit, an Art Exhibition of Impressionist paintings, that were shown for a limited time at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto in 1994-1995. This exhibition can be considered a 'hallmark' event in that these rarely seen paintings came from a private collection and were displayed in only a few major cities. Other secondary sources in the form of news media reporting comprise a further means of qualitative inquiry used in this study. The following objectives provide the basis of the research:
a. to examine the urban fields created by the event in order to show the interconnectedness of Toronto to surrounding regions at different scales. Here the research focuses on a comparison of the Ontario (not Toronto) and US markets and the distance decay functions of these visitors.
b. to compare the characteristics of visitors from different origins. Here a spatial segmentation approach is taken and visitors from Ontario (not Toronto) are compared by their socio-demographics and trip characteristics. This will investigate what type of visitors are attracted. It will identify if the event is elitist or whether it appeals to a wider audience.
c. to examine the characteristics of the visitors that are attracted to Toronto specifically to attend the event compared with those who were in Toronto for other reasons. This question isolates the role of the event as an 'attractor' and demonstrates its importance in attracting additional visitors to the city and enhancing competitiveness.
d. to investigate the event as a generator of economic impact and the improvement of competitiveness by revenue generation. Such contributions are difficult to measure but demonstrate the 'value' in hosting a special event to urban residents and planners.
e. to examine the linkages between the event and visitor attendance at other tourism products in the downtown cluster. This objective shows the potential synergy among urban attractions which leads to improved competitiveness.
These objectives explore in detail the 'value-added' nature of an urban special event both for recreational and tourist travel. The competitiveness of the city is hypothesized to be enhanced by: an increased connectedness with surrounding regions; the types of visitors attracted; their economic impact; and their increased synergy with other attractions. Thus, this study of the spatial and economic impact of an event indicates its role in improving the competitiveness of its host city. Empirical evidence is used to show the relationships between global cities, urban competitiveness and cultural tourism products. This case study is a response to the second part of Ashworth's call for more theory in urban tourism studies. Ashworth (1992, 5) argues:
Urban tourism requires the development of a coherent body of theories, concepts, techniques and methods of analysis which allow comparable studies to contribute towards some common goal of understanding either the particular role of cities within tourism studies or the place of tourism within the form and function of cities.
These objectives are investigated as far as possible, given the limitations imposed by secondary data analysis. Figure 1 provides the conceptual framework for this research and its rationale is provided in the following discussion.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Cultural Tourism Products and Urban Competitiveness
Global cities and the cultural economy
Globalization forces have resulted in a world economy with quicker and denser transactions between its sectors due to better communication, cheaper transport, a new international division of labour, the activities of transnational corporations and the effect of more liberal trade and capital flow policies. This has resulted in the development of 'global cities' in response to the intensification of the transactions and interactions between different segments in the world economy. In addition, international transactions are concentrated in certain cities whose significance resides more in their global rather than their national roles (Cohen 2000). Global cities are the sites of immense concentrations of economic power and command centres in the world economy, whereas many traditional …
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Publication information: Article title: Global Competitiveness and Special Events in Cultural Tourism: The Example of the Barnes Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Contributors: Carmichael, Barbara A. - Author. Journal title: The Canadian Geographer. Volume: 46. Issue: 4 Publication date: Winter 2002. Page number: 310+. © 2001 Canadian Association of Geographers. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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