The Role of Festivals and Cultural Events in the Strategic Development of Cities. Recommendations for Urban Areas in Romania

By Popescu, Ruxandra-Irina; Corbos, Razvan-Andrei | Informatica Economica, October 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Role of Festivals and Cultural Events in the Strategic Development of Cities. Recommendations for Urban Areas in Romania


Popescu, Ruxandra-Irina, Corbos, Razvan-Andrei, Informatica Economica


Building a good image of a city or state so as to differentiate it and to make it unique in tourists' minds is a vital condition nowadays, in a world of global competition. This image may be created by taking advantage of local culture and values' promotion or by organizing festivals and special events. There are various festivals and events held every year somewhere in the world that add image and competitive advantages to host cities. In order to illustrate this idea, the paper presents some less common festivals hosted by different cities that are turning themselves into real "urban agglomerations" during these events. The study analyses the impact of festivals on the strategic development of cities and the importance gained by urban areas after organizing these events. In the final part of the paper there are some recommendations for Romanian cities which might enhance their image and might become more known through the organization of such festivals and cultural events.

Keywords: Competitive Advantage, Cultural Events, Festivals, Strategic Development, Urban Development

1 Introduction

Events and festivals are an essential part of the urban life, having generally, very diversified themes, such as thematic festivals, political events, cultural activities, sport events, religious meetings, etc., and can be held at an international level (such as: Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, World Expo), as well as at a national level (for example: Oktoberfest from Munich, Las Fallas (The Festival of Carpenters and Fire) from Valencia, The Ice Festival from Harbin (China), The "George Enescu" Festival from Bucharest, Romania). Such type of events are becoming more and more important both for the urban development (having a great impact on the image of the host city), as well as for its inhabitants, as research related to this area have developed rapidly, becoming a popular subject.

Events" represent a way o selling the city "as a product", by attracting tourists, as well as industries and investments"[6]. Events of global importance (Olympic Games, World Expo or FIFA World Cup) offer opportunities for the host cities. This way, most of the urban areas (Munchen, Montreal, Moscow, Seoul, Barcelona, Sydney, Salt Lake, Torino, Beijing, and Vancouver) which have been the host of the Olympic Games have taken advantage of this opportunity to present and sell themselves.

According to the Romanian Explicative Dictionary, the word "festival" means "an artistic manifestation with a diversified schedule, having an occasional or periodical character", or "an artistic manifestation (musical, theatrical etc.) comprising a series of representations and having a festive character" [1].

Generally, the festivals are organized in order to answer the specific needs of a community and in the same time to offer entertainment. These types of events have the power to offer people a feeling of social, geographical, cultural, etc. belonging. The typology of festivals, and generally of events, is a much diversified one. Usually, people find a reason to celebrate in almost every aspect that surrounds them, starting from religious rituals, military events, the day when a certain institution was established, and ending with customs less ordinary, such as ice sculptures (Japan, China, Norway, and Canada), the cheeserolling (England), the night of the radishes (Mexico), and many others. In one of his papers dedicated to the study of festivals and events, Derret Ros has the opinion that "organizing a festival allows a community to stay united, to work together and to bloom". Even more, he states that "this connection and welding of the community can be accomplished through people's effort and creativity, resulting in skills in more areas of the social life"[2].

Events and festivals play an important part in the life of a community. In the places where people have understood this and have organized events and festivals to cheer up, to exchange knowledge and to tighten the relations between neighbors, there was also an improvement in the way the community faces challenges and people have become more united. …

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