The Economic Significance of a Mountain Tourism Event: The Case of the 2009 Ice Climbing World Cup Finals in Busteni, Romania

By Douglas Michele, Turco; Mihaela Sofia, Dinu | Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends, July 2009 | Go to article overview

The Economic Significance of a Mountain Tourism Event: The Case of the 2009 Ice Climbing World Cup Finals in Busteni, Romania


Douglas Michele, Turco, Mihaela Sofia, Dinu, Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends


Introduction

Before athletes set foot in a stadium or other contest venues to compete for a sport championship, several cities have already waged a fierce battle for the rights to host the event--winner-take-all! Sport events are bid upon for the expected value added to the host city from private investments, sponsorships, and spending by thousands of sport tourists. Increasingly, event stakeholders are asking, is the sport event worth the investment?

An economic impact study is the most common way to evaluate the worth of a sport event. Essentially, it measures how much value the event adds to the designated economy. Put another way, what would be missing from the economy without the event? Such studies have been conducted on a wide range of sports using a wide range of methods--from automobile racing (Burns, Hatch, & Mules, 1986) to World Cups (; Lee & Taylor, 2005; Baade & Matheson, 2004; Maennig, 2007). Despite widespread use there is growing skepticism surrounding sport event economic impact research, in part, because of faulty studies and over-inflated findings (Crompton, 2006; Baade, Baumann, & Matheson, 2006). There are several reasons for the inaccuracies, including the misapplication of data to purposeful falsification. Crompton (2006) argues that some sport tourism impact studies are inflated for political reasons i.e., to justify public investment, improve public relations, etc. Further, some studies purported to measure event economic impact are merely benefits study that fail to account for the associated costs.

Outdoor sports including climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, and adventure racing, and hang gliding are marketed by mountainous communities as tourism attractions to niche market segments. The popularity of extreme or adventure sports has grown significantly during the new millennium (American Sports Data, 2002) yet research studies on extreme sport participants remain few, particularly those attracted to winter sports (Tyrrell, 1996; Bricker & Kerstetter, 2000; Doshi, 2000; Donnelly, 2006; Gillett & Kelly, 2006). The authors have not found a published tourism study on sport climbing competitions and sport event tourism research in new European Union countries is void in the literature.

Ice climbing is an activity of climbing through ice structures or formations. Ice formations may be in the form of frozen waterfalls, icefalls, ice slabs or rocks covered with frozen water flow or ice, or they may be artificial structures covered with ice. Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA), founded in Chamonix in 1932, is the international association of mountaineering (including climbing and mountain sports) organizations. The International Commission for Ice Climbing Competitions (ICICC) is the sport's body responsible for the administration and development of all aspects of the new international competitive ice-climbing sport. UIAA recognizes ice climbing as a competitive sport and is responsible for organization and promotion of the Ice Climbing World Cup and International Championships. There are three types of ice climbing competitions: Speed, Lead, and Boulder difficulty. Athletes wishing to compete in the Ice Climbing World Cup and World Championship competitions are required to obtain the ICICC International License.

The 2009 Ice Climbing World Cup Finals was held in Busteni, Romania 5-8 February 2009. Busteni is situated in the center of Romania in the Bucegi Mountains. The town sits at an altitude of 900 m and has approximately 19 000 residents, though the number of inhabitants varies due to tourism. Busteni is located 131 kilometers north of Bucharest and 35 km south of Brasov. Prior to the 2009 Finals in Busteni, three other World Cup competitions were held in 2009: Daone, Italy (16-18 January), Saas Fee, Switzerland (22-24 January), and Mostrajna, Slovenia (31 January). More information on the World Cup Finals may be found at www. …

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