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Commonwealth games 2010 and destination branding.


Sports event tourism has quickly developed into one of the trendiest facets of the 21st Century. Sports tourism is a combination of sports activities and travel. From a marketing and management perspective, it consists of two broad groups of products: (a) sports participation travel (travel for the purpose of participating in a sports, recreation, leisure or fitness activity); and (b) sports spectator travel (travel for the purpose of watching sports, recreation, leisure or fitness activities or events) (Pitts 1999, 31).

As a result, staging high profile sports event is increasingly being seen as an important method of supporting a destination's domestic and international tourism image. The sustained increase in tourism-related activity being produced by conducting sporting events has successfully cemented sport event tourism's materialization as one of the fastest growing niche market for travel and tourism industry in the 21st century (Chalip & McGuirty 2004). The economic benefits and social opportunities linked with spectator-driven sporting events continue to be well documented in academic literature (Ritchie & Adair 2004).

Getz (1991, 67) posits "events can become the most common channel through which visitors satisfy their desire to sample local foods and traditions, participate in games, or are entertained. Local and regional events can have the added advantage of keeping the domestic tourism market active". Effect of sports event such as Commonwealth Games on destination tourism is usual, but it is multiplied in emerging countries, such as India where tourism has started to play an important role.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has rated Asia and the Pacific as the world's second best performing region in terms of arrivals in 2007 after the Middle East, recording an increase by 10% to 184 million arrivals. South Asia recorded an 8% growth in arrivals in 2007, with India sustaining above average growth of 12 %. According to WTTC (2009) the contribution of Travel & Tourism to India's Gross Domestic Product is expected to be at 6.0% (US$67.3 bn) in 2009. The tourism industry in India is significant and effervescent, and the country is fast becoming a major global destination. India's travel and tourism industry is one of the most lucrative sectors in the country, and also is recognized with contributing a considerable amount of foreign exchange. According to Ministry of Tourism, India (Annual Report 2008), the share of India in international tourist arrival has progressively increased from 0.49% in 2005 to 0.55% in 2007. Tourism makes a significant contribution to India's foreign exchange earnings, which grew from US$ 6.17 billion in 2004 to an estimated US$ 11.96 billion in 2007. Domestic tourism too has grown phenomenally over this period. The number of domestic tourists in India has risen from 362.33 million in 2004 to an estimated 462 million in 2006. The World Travel and Tourism Report for 2009 for 180 countries worldwide also ranks the Indian Travel and Tourism economy 14th in absolute size worldwide and 5th in long-term (10-year) growth. Contribution of travel and tourism to gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to be at 6.0 per cent (US$ 67.3 billion) in 2009 rising to US$ 187.3 billion by 2019.

Recently, in the wake of the last year 2008 Mumbai (26/11) terror attacks many foreign countries have issued travel advisories against travelling to India. India's Ministry of Tourism (MOT) released numbers showing a 12 % drop in tourists when comparing March 2009 to March 2008. The attacks are expected to affect the image of 'Incredible India' and make it hard for the 'brand' to achieve its objective of doubling tourist arrivals from last year's five million to ten million by 2010. To maintain this growth, India needs to proactively re-brand itself and sports event such as 'Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010', offers the opportunity. Events are becoming established as an integral and major part of India's tourism development and marketing strategies and sports event such as Commonwealth Games 2010 gives the prospect.

Thus, management of Commonwealth Games 2010 in India has emerged as one of the major contemporary policy, strategy and operational issues for governments, civil society organizations (CSOs) and the public at large, in general. In this background, this paper attempts to conceptually seek answers to the following questions:

a) How special events, particularly sport events such as Commonwealth Games 2010, can be used by destination marketers in India to enhance destination brand.

b) To present backdrop to this study, the associated literature review will define the theory of sports tourism and will consequently study the impact events such as the Commonwealth Games have on tourism.

The contextual setting

Sports Event and its Impact on Tourism

Events are a significant motivating factor of tourism, and figure notably in the growth and promotion plans of most destinations. The function and impact of events within tourism have been well documented, and are of rising significance for destination competitiveness (Getz 2008).

As Getz (2008, p.403) states in his seminal work on event management ".....only a few decades ago that 'event tourism' became established in both the tourism industry and in the research community, so that subsequent growth of this sector can only be described as spectacular. Equally, 'event management' is a fast growing professional field in which tourists constitute a potential market for planned events and the tourism industry has become a vital stakeholder in their success and attractiveness. But not all events need to be tourism oriented, and some fear the potential negative impacts associated with adopting marketing orientation. As well, events have other important roles to play, from community-building to urban renewal, cultural development to fostering national identities--tourism is not the only partner or proponent".

Events can be classified into five ways, cultural celebration, political and state, arts and entertainment, business and trade, educational and scientific, sports and recreational activities and private (Getz 2008) . Also, Getz have explicitly argued event studies and event management cannot be discussed as disciplines or fields (Getz et al. 1998).

Event tourism, as other structure of particular--interest travel must be observed both from supply and demand side. Tourist viewpoints involve determining who travels for events and why, and also who will be present at events while travelling. Researcher and decision maker also want to identify what 'event tourists' do and how much they spend while attending the event. Incorporated in this demand-side approach is evaluation of the worth of events in endorsing a constructive destination image and co--branding with destinations. On the supply side, destinations develop, assist and endorse events of all kinds to meet multiple goals, including attracting tourists, developing infrastructure and developing destination brand.

One of the early literatures on the impact of event tourism was by Ritchie (1984) on the nature of impacts from hallmark events. According Carlsen and Taylor (2003), sports events had become the main platform for economic renewal of many cities. They observed at the ways in which Manchester, UK used the Commonwealth Games to amplify the city's profile, give momentum to urban development through sport and commercial expansion, and create change in socio--political environment of the city.

Kurtzman (2001) estimates the net worth of attending sports events to be approximately 30% of all international tourism-generated revenue. According to Getz (2008) sports tourism became firmly established as a research topic in the 1990s and has been expanding explosively since 2000. Gibson (1998) and Weed (2006) provided the first appraisal of sports tourism research. In addition to an ongoing debate on what exactly are sports tourism and its position in academia, traditional economic impact assessments, a number of other important areas can be found in sports tourism literature. A growing number of literature are available on the topic of sports tourism, both theoretical and applied in nature, and sports event figure prominently in all of them (see: Stokes 2004; Gibson 2006; Weed & Bull 2004).

With their unrivalled ability to generate global interest and international media coverage, periodically held sports events are one of the most frequently explored examples of tourism-generating 'mega' events (Madden 2002). According to Getz the literature of on sports management and sports studies with tourism deals with two main topic (2008, 412), "the intersection of sport management and sport studies with tourism deals with two major themes: sport events as attractions (for participants and fans), and more active forms of sport participation that require travel such as skiing. Just about every form of organized sport will generate planned events, and they tend to evolve from local to international in attractiveness. This gives rise to event travel careers that evolve and can last a lifetime".

Most of the studies on sports tourism have focussed on Olympics-related activities. Kasimati (2003) studied the economic costs and impacts of Olympics games. Pyo et al. (1988) explored the tourism markets for Olympics. Faulkner et al. (2000) studied the tourism impacts of the Olympics. Preuss et al. (2007) studied spectators of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and their economic impact. Carlsen & Millan (2009) studied the link between Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games and urban renewal

Hede (2005) found that the Australian attitude towards Greece as tourist destination changed as a result of their viewing of the telecast of Athens 2004. Considering that the Australian attitudes towards Greece improved, not as a result of first-hand experiences at the destination, but as a result of their vicarious experiences of the destination through viewing of a media telecast of a special event. Recently, Lockstone & Baum (2008) analysed the impact of the Commonwealth and its impact on tourism . As we can infer, much is written on the economic and social impacts of certain types of major sports tourism event such as Olympics and Commonwealth games etc, but few studies have focussed on impact of Commonwealth games on destination branding.

Defining Destination Branding

The purpose of this section is to briefly review the literature on destination branding. The increased focus on destination branding is based on a widespread acknowledgement of the profound affect that branding destination plays on tourist perception of destination and its implication on tourist behaviour (Echtner & Ritchie 1991; Stabler 1988).The tourism destination image (4) is comprised of a multiplicity of factors or attributes. Ahmed (1991) adopts a multi attribute attitude to the approach for measurement of destination image. Another approach is based on the notion that tourist may generate destination image on the basis of holistic approaches .The holistic approach acknowledges that tourist will generate destination image in a wide variety of ways, e.g. they might generate such images on the basis of one unfavourable news that they might hear from media or friend.

Places are products but existing branding frameworks cannot be directly applied to the destination context (Hosany et al. 2007; Hankinson 2005). There are many reasons, including past history, geographical constraints (location, weather, resources, infrastructure and people), inherited names, stakeholders --destinations are run by governing bodies which often report to their citizens and are influenced by other stakeholders limiting the decisions they can take (Stokes 2006; Hankinson, 2005), personal, consumer, business and government service dependency (McDougall & Levesque 2000).

Many countries have tried to brand themselfs as the best tourism destination. Some have been very successful such as 'Truly Malaysia'. The Brand Australia initiative is 10 year old effort, the campaign was launched in the mid-1990s by the Australian Government's tourism agency, Tourism Australia (formerly known as the Australian Tourism Commission). In 2004, Brand Australia was reinvented and re-launched as 'Life in a Different Light'. It has been a huge success, with 5.6 million international tourists visiting Australia in 2007 (DFT 2009).

Similarly, Britain has proactively chosen to communicate a social benefit as the basis of their brand positioning--that people located in Britain will be seen as cool and contemporary. France's long held emotional / social positioning to be all about 'tasteful living' still works. Destination like Bradford, UK (Trueman et al. 2004), Scotland (Donnelly 2004), Singapore (Wong et al. 2006), Sydney Olympics, Australia (Woodside et al. 2002) and New York (Rangan et al. 2006) have been successful in destination branding from the international perspective.

A destination brand can be developed a variety of ways, most obviously in advertising, through direct marketing, personnel selling, on website and in brochures but also through public and media relations and through cooperation destination marketing organizations. Gold & Ward (1994, p.2) defines place promotion as, "the conscious use of publicity and marketing to communicate selective image of specific geographic localities or areas to a target audience)". It not only involves advertising and publicity, but also encompasses flagship development and spotlight, events in the arts, media, leisure, heritage, retailing or sports industries (Ward, 1998). There is now a sizeable industry focused literature covering destination marketing issues from stake holder investments (Morgan et al., 2003) to marketing management (e.g. Kotler et al. 1993, 2002; Ritchie & Crouch 2000) and destination branding (Morgan et al. 2002). It is well established that a destination is not a product (see Buhalis 2000, Morgan & Pritchard 2000).

Branding is perhaps the most powerful marketing weapons available to marketer of destination. Every country claims a unique culture, landscape and heritage, each place describes itself as having the friendliest people and high standard of customer services and facilities. As a result, the need for destination to create a unique identity for differentiating from competitors has become very important. It has become the basis for survival within a globally competitive sector, with a handful of leading destination attracting over 2/3 of the worldwide market.

No matter where destinations are in the life cycle, by comparison to branded products and services, marketing managers in destination face peculiar branding challenges. In particular, they are vulnerable to both external and internal pressure, with many stakeholders to consider. Destinations are affected by very volatile external environment. While every product and service is affected by external change, tourism is particularly vulnerable to political strife, economic downswing, terrorism and environmental disasters.

Such external pressure on branding exercise of tourist destination not only highlights tourism vulnerability to hostile environment, but also remind us the destination are a composite bundle of different components, including accommodation facility, tourist attraction, arts, entertainment and cultural venues and the natural environment (Buhalis 2000, Ritchie & Crouch 2000). Also in destination branding, different agencies and companies are stakeholders in the marketing of the place. Decision maker have to reconcile an array of local and regional interests, and craft promotional appeals to a range of constituents. These vary from local and national government agencies through environmental groups and trade bodies, to tour operators and airlines (see Morgan et al. 2003).

From the literature it can be inferred that tourist destination can be described as a combination of services, resources and experiences. Also tourists' perceptions differs and changes based on their past travel experience, personal background characteristics, psychological needs, as well as from the exposure of information sources and their cultural values.


Background to the study

Van Der Westhuizen (2004) suggests that the Commonwealth Games are placed only behind the Olympics and World Cup in terms of size and profile. Talking about the Commonwealth Games history, Lockstone and Baum (2008, p.501) states "... [the games] frequently balance competitive elements with cultural and friendship dimensions (between participating countries, competitors and spectators) that are, perhaps, less emphasized by other mega event organizers. The origins of the Games begin in Hamilton, Canada, where in 1930, 11 countries sent 400 athletes to take part in six sports and 59 events (Commonwealth Games and Federation, 2007). Akin to its Olympic counterpart, excluding times of war (1942 and 1946), the Games have run on a continuous 4-year cycle since inception. From its early beginnings, the event has seen many changes, not the least being several different names including the British Empire Games (1930-1950), the British Empire and Commonwealth Games (1954--1966) and the British Commonwealth Games (1970-1974) (Commonwealth Games and Federation, 2007). It was the 1978 Games in Edmonton, Canada that the name of the event was detached from its colonial trappings and restyled as the Commonwealth Games".

Commonwealth Games are unique in the sense that, till 1994 it was only for single competition sports, but in 1998 games at Kuala Lumpur multi sports events were introduced, going one step further 2002 Games in Manchester saw further improvement with the addition of elite athletes with a disability (Lockstone & Baum 2008).

The 2010 Commonwealth Games are planned to be held in the month of October in New Delhi, the Capital City of India. It is normal that this event will be boon to Indian tourism. 'See You in Delhi', was the message that the Indian contingent had for the world, during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In 2010, India is going to become the second developing nation ever, to host the Commonwealth Games, the third largest multi sport event in the world. Government of India is working hard to prepare ideal infrastructure to host 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The diversity of products and experiences now offered by Commonwealth Games 2010 event to tourism has undoubtedly facilitated its emergence as a major force within the Indian tourism industry. It is regarded as a largely unique opportunity for India to generate substantial global media attention, while attracting a significant amount of short-term, but high-yielding, visitors at the same time.

The game could be used for systematic development, planning, marketing of the for tourist attractions' in India. The goals of Commonwealth Games 2010 could be: (a) create a favourable image for India (destination), (b) expand the traditional tourist season, (c)spread tourist demand more evenly through India, (d) attract foreign and domestic visitors. Experts from tourism, hospitality and airline industries are expecting that the event will certainly make a spectacular change and boon in tourism of India. They expect that the Commonwealth Games 2010 will increase tourism in nearby famous places like Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Fatehpur Sikri, Bharatpur, Ranthambhore, etc. The Commonwealth Games in 2010 will push up India's share in foreign tourist arrivals to about 1.5 per cent in 2010 from mere 0.52 per cent in 2006 out of 842 million tourist arrivals globally' (The Hindu Business Line 2007).

The Commonwealth Games 2010 gives an opportunity to improve the infrastructure and appearance of Delhi, and also gives global media exposure meaning that the image of a city can be transformed in the eyes of viewers. This was certainly true of Barcelona, which successfully rid itself of its traditional manufacturing city image when hosting the 1992 Olympics. Manchester used the 2002 Commonwealth Games as a tool to revive the city (Carlsen and Taylor 2003).

The provincial government is spending more than US$ 3 billion (5) for staging the Commonwealth Games 2010 on construction and development of: (a) new stadiums and renovation of existing stadiums, (b) games village, (c) transport sector and, (d) urban infrastructure like water and electricity .

The hospitality sector is another area that is estimated to grow swiftly in the coming years, with the help of the Commonwealth Games. The games are estimated to result in a large increase in demand for hotel rooms, with one estimate putting the requirement at 30,000 rooms for 2010. Provincial government is planning on auctioning over 20 sites for hotels, many in the vicinity of the games village. This would not only add about 7500 rooms, but also raise millions to the government. As of now there are only 6,500 rooms available in the star category hotels and about 7,000 rooms in the budget category.

Unlike exhibitions or events that are organised in India, sports event such as Commonwealth Games 2010 are primarily 'one-off' occasions of limited duration, created to generate short term visit and to increase public attention toward India. Essentially, Commonwealth Games 2010 is based specifically around what is happening, as opposed to what is always available.

Commonwealth Games is a 'spectator-driven' sports event in which the number of passive participants in attendance (i.e. spectators/ supporters) significantly outweighs the number of participants taking part or involved in the physical sporting activity (i.e. competitive athletes) . Unlike other events, in which the number of active participants is larger than the number of spectators, Commonwealth Games 2010 is a typically high-profile occasion, which can prove extremely challenging to plan or promote, especially from an Indian tourism development perspective.

Arguably, the biggest difficulty facing Commonwealth Games 2010 planners is in the pre-event stages and involves the need to forecast visitor numbers and calculate the potential economic activity likely to emerge from hosting Commonwealth Games 2010.

While the number of pre-registered participants (i.e. competitors and officials) in Commonwealth Games 2010 is likely to be known, it is not so straightforward to predict the exact number of spectators guaranteed to attend (6). Number of factors that can influence the number of people who actually will attend Commonwealth Games 2010, including the venue(s) chosen, the timing of the event, the cost of attending, the strength of media representation (local, national and international) and the success of promotional or ticketing campaigns of Commonwealth Games 2010. Likewise, uncontrollable and equally unpredictable external factors such as the weather, socio political environment can also have a noticeable, potentially critical, effect on attendance levels in Commonwealth Games 2010.

Commonwealth Games 2010 will tend to take place in, or at least around, one core (urban) location Delhi, compared this to the equally high-profile, elite sporting events such as Cricket World Cup Competitions 2011 to be co-hosted by India, that will not only last much longer in duration, but also will take place over a much wider geographical area of South Asia.

The leveraging and bundling of commercial products and additional event-related activities in Commonwealth Games 2010 can also become lucrative methods of increasing the events' appeal to a wider segment. With the increase in sport tourism activity all over the world, strategic planning must be regarded as a fundamental, yet particularly complex feature for the continued development of Commonwealth Games 2010. Likewise, as the potential positive implications for tourism become more apparent, organizer of Commonwealth Games 2010 logistical ability to plan and successfully host elite sporting events becomes a powerful avenue for brand 'India' as a destination. The accessibility of the location, the nature of the resources available and the demographic make-up of those who reside in or around New Delhi must be considered as highly influential factors when assessing the feasibility of planning and marketing of Commonwealth Games 2010.

Having provided a brief overview on planning tourism related to Commonwealth Games 2010, the focus now shifts towards co-branding Commonwealth Games 2010 and destination branding from an India perspective. In the following section, we will consider how India as a destination might use the Commonwealth Games 2010 to enhance or change its image among the tourist destination. The section will describe how to utilize the Commonwealth Games 2010 to obtain the desired effect on a destination's brand.

Commonwealth Games 2010 and Destination Branding

When looking to use the Commonwealth Games 2010 to help brand the destination 'India', the first challenge for the destination marketer is to determine what Commonwealth Games 2010 can contribute to the brand 'India'. Events like World Cup Soccer and the Olympic Games have strong brand images in their host destinations' source markets. When an event has a well-established brand of its own, then the event name, logo or slogan will activate an event-specific network of nodes and associations (7).

By pairing the Commonwealth Games brand with the destination brand (India), the expectation is that elements of the event brand will transfer to the destination's brand, and vice versa. This is a form of co-branding (Brown et al. 2004). Co-branding has benefited from extensive growth in recent years because it can be an effective way to highlight or change a brand image.

The co-branding effect depends on associating the Commonwealth Games 2010 brand with the destination brand 'India'. Co-branding is an effective way to reinforce or change a brand image (Simonin & Ruth 1998). Commonwealth Games 2010, objective should be to transfer the desired portion of the other brand, i.e., Commonwealth Games 2010 to destination features (India). The pairing of two brands, i.e. Commonwealth Games 2010 and India ought to be in a composite brand. Also it must match and is paired in such a way that each one of it is perceived when they are paired. Typically, that requires the two brands to be featured jointly in advertising and/or media about the event or the destination. This involves community support, co-operative planning and media support to make most of organizing Commonwealth Games 2010 at India.

In order for there to be an effect, destination marketers in India must plan strategically to create the transfer of brand Commonwealth Games 2010 image. This requires that they build the Commonwealth Games 2010 event into the destination's marketing communications, and that they work with Commonwealth Games 2010 event organizers to build the destination into event advertising and publicity. In order to obtain adequate pairings of the destination with the event, the destination's name and/or icons need to be built into the event logo, and destination visuals need to be built into event media.

Using Commonwealth Games 2010 for promoting tourism in India involves the study of brand Commonwealth Games prints, understanding what the Commonwealth Games stands for; it's positioning and values, identifying the target audience and liaisons with the creative conceptualization to create an event for a perfect fit with destination (India) personality/image. It is important to identify Commonwealth Games 2010 event portfolio, which shall help in the process of destination branding.

Co-branding Commonwealth Games 2010 with the destination involves 5 c's namely conceptualization of creative idea and ambience, costing which calculates the margins, canvassing for sponsors, customers/spectators/ tourist and networking components, customization of the games according to destination brand image.

One of the technique in co-branding India and Commonwealth Games 2010 is to identify the associating network of past destinations (Melbourne, Australia; Manchester, England; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) with Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, and then to reinforce, change or add desirable associations.

The effect of Commonwealth Games 2010 on brand 'India' will depends substantially on the reach and frequency of sports event mentions and visuals. For a Commonwealth Games 2010 brand to affect the destination brand 'India', audience in foreign countries must pay sufficient attention to be exposed to the associations that are being primed. Since each sports event appeals primarily to those audiences who have an interest in the sports and entertainment or activity that the sports event offers, only those audiences with that interest are likely to be exposed to associations between the Commonwealth Games 2010 and destination brand 'India'. Thus the reach of the Commonwealth Games 2010 depends on the diversity of market segments that will be reached via the portfolio. Commonwealth countries from where foreign tourists would explore the Commonwealth Games 2010 will include Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. The more varied the array of sport and cultural events in the portfolio, the greater the total reach.

The co-branding of two brands namely destination and sports events is very sensitive in nature. There can be positive image transfer or negative image transfer. The mere pairing of events and destination is not important rather it is important that which destination is paired with which event. It is essential to explore the events brand relation with the destination brand to acquire desired results (Kim & Allen 1996). The image of both brand whilst event and destination play important role while they are paired together (Till & Busler 2000) .The poor match of events and destination may lead to negative brand building and may cause transfer of negative image. It can be added further to this research that the co-branding of Commonwealth Games 2010 with Delhi/India or vice-versa can be positive or negative. A huge event such as Commonwealth Games 2010 may hamper the destination's image as the tourist will be more involved with the sport event than the destination which will not have a long lasting effect whilst a huge event may not have good response if the destination is not well known/ some issue.

In the words of Chalip and Costa (2005), "the market's attention needs to be focused on the desired associations (and away from undesired associations). Sometime, tourist may not respond favourably to the pairing of an event and the destination. The level of perceived match between two brands plays a important part in the ways that each is perceived when they are paired. The pairing and, consequently, each brand are appraised more positively when the two brands are perceived to be well matched than when they are perceived to be poorly matched--even if both brands are individually liked. A match-up seems to ease processing of the association between the two brands". If a tourist's schema for India as a destination were inconsistent with their schema for Commonwealth Games 2010 hosted at Delhi, then the association will not be represented in memory.

The more complex the Commonwealth Games 2010 event's brand, the more nodes can be transferred to the destination. Thus, it is theoretically possible to formulate a number of different brand objectives when hosting an event such as Commonwealth Games 2010 with a distinct brand image. Once the desired elements of brand transfer are identified, then tactics for highlighting the desired associations both verbally and visually can be formulated for Commonwealth Games 2010 event and destination 'India'.

The marketing communications challenge is different, with Commonwealth Games. Whereas co-branding requires that two independent brands be linked, brand extension in Commonwealth Games 2010 requires that the event's inclusion in the destination's product and service mix should appear rational. In other words, it needs to be shown that the event fits with other attractions and activities offered at the India. This can be attained if marketing communications highlight the event's consistency with core benefits in destination 'India' as well as features the Commonwealth Games 2010 shares with other attractions or activities in around Delhi.

Another issue is, the Indian destination marketers who seek to make aggressive use of events to build destination's brand. The majority of events do not obtain sufficient exposure in tourist markets to cultivate a distinct brand image, and those that do are typically costly. However, examination of the literature on branding suggests that it is not essential for an event to have a distinct brand image in order to contribute to its host destination's brand.

Sport events such as Commonwealth Games 2010 vary in the role they can play in destination branding 'India'. There are numerous events, competitions and tournaments, that serve as attractions for tourist, but that have little relevance to the India as a destination's brand. The Indian destination marketer must decide what role Commonwealth Games 2010 should play, and must then construct a marketing strategy that will use Commonwealth Games 2010 in a manner that is appropriate to its role. Figure 1 shows a flow chart to serve as a guide for deciding the appropriate role for Commonwealth Games 2010 in branding the destination.

In a nut shell Commonwealth Games 2010 shall deliver India's culture and attractions; lengthen the life cycle of India as a destination and the long term impact on tourism will be, when participants and spectators visit India again to explore it more.



Sports tourism events such as Commonwealth Games 2010 have a multiple effect--the direct effect of the attendance of the competitors and/or spectators and accompanying persons, and the indirect effect of the marketing of the India which will lead to subsequent tourism flows. It is clear that major sports events such as Commonwealth Games can play a significant role in generating tourism activity on a national and international scale. Such events can have positive economic and social benefits, and have in recent years been increasingly recognised by both federal and provincial governments as a legitimate focus for tourism and general economic development strategies.

The aim of the strategy should be to facilitate a viable and internationally competitive Commonwealth Games 2010 and to ensure that the benefits of this niche market are maximised and spread widely throughout India's tourism sector. This objective has been identified because of the perception among Indian public that the tourism benefits which Commonwealth Games 2010 can provide are not currently being maximized. The Commonwealth Games 2010 can induce the development of the sports tourism sector as well as identifying and addressing impediments to the growth of the industry.

The key elements of the strategy for the Commonwealth Games 2010 are a range of possible actions which can help to: (a) improve the coordination and competitiveness of the sports tourism industry; (b) identify and address education and training issues for the industry;(c) Minimize the impact of regulatory issues (e.g. visas, customs) on the industry ; (d) identify and address the infrastructure requirements of the industry; (e)identify and address the research and data collection requirements of the industry; (e) improve the means of evaluation of the economic benefits of sports tourism ; and (f) coordinate the implementation of the strategy.

This paper, about the Commonwealth Games 2010 and destination banding, highlights the role that mega sports tourism can play in stimulating the local and national tourism economy and, perhaps, providing a different dimension to tourism visitation than that associated with mainstream leisure and business travel. Finally, we need to put Commonwealth Games 2010 into their broader context. As Chalip and Costa (2005) says "the effect of individual events needs to be considered with reference to the overall event portfolio and with reference to the destination's mix of products and services, particularly other sport products and services. The impact of any one event depends on the ways it is leveraged. The destination's events portfolio and its product and service mix provide the raw material for event leverage. The branding challenge is to craft the tactics for effective leverage".

This paper also attempts to review the pertinent previous literatures on sports event tourism, branding and destination image and the specific variables that have been examined in those literatures

As Clifton says (2002, 161) 'In the end, of course, the future of brand is up to the brands themselves, and to the people who manage them. Reputation is, after all, a reality with a lag effect'. Consequently, what Commonwealth Games 2010 brand can do for destination such as India is that co-branding as a tool will enable the destination marketeer to investigate, understand, and respond to tourist and their perception about India.


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(4) Chalip and Costa (2005, p. 291) states " although the words 'brand' and 'branding' are often found in tourism research, destination image (rather than destination brand) has commonly been the focus of tourism researchers. In fact, 'brand' and 'image' are rarely differentiated in tourism research, and are often used interchangeably. Conversely, in the marketing literature, the term 'image' is often associated with 'brand' and 'branding', but image and brand are not treated as synonymous. Rather, a brand's image is thought to be a component of its overall equity, and image building is one task in building a brand".

(5) The costs of these mega-events almost always run in to billions of dollars. Japan spent over $4 billion and South Korea $2 billion, on new stadiums and infrastructure for the 2002 World Cup. China has spent a reported $20 billion on infrastructure improvements ahead for 2008 Olympics. Athens spent over $1 billion only on security expenses during the 2004 Olympics (Baade & Matheson 2003).

(6) Even, Gratton et al. (2005) comment on the growing tendency to overestimate the potential financial benefits gained through hosting spectator driven sports events.

(7) According to Chalip and Costa (2005, 222) ... "destination's brand is not its name, logo, slogan or any other marketing device. Rather, these represent the brand. They are intended to invoke a brand image, which is a schema in the sense that it is a hierarchically related set of associations in memory. The schema consists of nodes that are connected through a network of associations. Each node is a piece of information stored in memory, and the number and strength of associations among nodes determines the schema's structure. Since some nodes may be present in more than one schema, it is possible for schemas to become associated with one another, and even for one schema to invoke another. The process by which nodes are activated when a schema is brought into working memory is called 'spreading activation'. The activation of a node stimulates activation of associated nodes. Spreading activation favours nodes that are most closely associated with the source of activation. Destination branding consists of fostering spreading activation to nodes that the marketer most wants associated with the destination brand. To do so, the marketer first identifies the most desirable and relevant nodes, and then works to create and strengthen the associations among them. The desirability of particular nodes depends on: (1) the attributes that target market segments value (because of the benefits target market segments expect those attributes to bestow), and (2) the degree to which those nodes will favourably differentiate the destination from competing destinations".

V. Balaji VENKATACHALAM, Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), Manipal University, Karnataka, India
Table 1: Travel and Tourism Sector

T & T industry, 2008                     Percent    Annual Growth
estimates                                of Total   (% forecast)

GDP (US $ millions)             28,143     2.3           6.7
Employment (1,000 jobs)         13,127     2.8           2.3
T& T economy, 2008 estimates
GDP (US $ millions)             73,558     6.1           7.6
Employment (1,000 jobs)         30,491     6.4           2.7

Source: WEF (2009)
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Author:Venkatachalam, V. Balaji
Publication:Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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