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Strategic Event Tourism Management Barcelona
  • 9

  • Course Code:
  • University: Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Country: United Kingdom

Assessment Briefing

Strategic Event Tourism Management

This module is assessed through a single summative essay. You will produce a 3,000-word document in essay format and will 
answer one of the following essay questions:


Strategic event tourism is often cited as a driver of economic development for destinations. Critically discuss the impact which strategic event tourism has had and/or could have on a destination of your choice, using examples.

Your discussion must consider the strategic management of event(s) which are tourism related.

You must refer to theory, use evidence and reference properly with a good range of credible sources. A critical academic writing style is essential for passing this assessment. If you feel you need help with this, perhaps if you are new to Harvard referencing, or have had a break from studies, you should seek assistance with your writing from the Learning Development Centre.

Summative Essay


Strategic event tourism, can be defined deliberate organisation and presentation of events to attract tourists and stimulate the local economy. It is an emerging subfield within the tourism industry (Getz and Page, 2016). The simultaneous presence of conventions and displays catering to the corporate community with international athletic events and cultural festivals is possible.

Strategic event tourism leverages the appeal of large-scale gatherings to produce significant financial gains for the host destinations and stimulate economic development.

The significance of strategic event tourism lies in its capacity to stimulate economic growth. The economic benefits derived from tourism extend beyond the mere expenditure of tourists, as it also stimulates local economies and facilitates employment opportunities (Laing, 2018).

Moreover, the exposure garnered by the host destination through these events is advantageous in the fiercely competitive tourist sector.

This essay will focus on Barcelona, a highly frequented global city and a prominent tourist destination in Europe. The city of Barcelona is well recognised as a prominent destination for event tourism due to a variety of factors that contribute to its appeal.

These factors include its extensive historical background, impressive architectural structures, vibrant cultural environment, and advantageous positioning along the coast (Goodwin, 2016). Barcelona has hosted several globally recognised events, including the Primavera Sound Festival and the Mobile World Congress. These events attract substantial attendance and yield significant economic advantages for the city.

This essay will examine the impacts that strategic event tourism has exerted on Barcelona. Case studies will be conducted to analyse the impact of significant events on the city's economics, culture, and environment.

The examination of future expansion and the enduring sustainability of this plan for Barcelona's tourist business will also be subject to scrutiny. The essay will conclude by providing a concise overview of the key facts and ideas about the potential influence of strategic event tourism on the future trajectory of the city.

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Understanding The Context of Barcelona as a Tourist Destination

Barcelona, situated in the northeastern region of Spain, has garnered significant popularity as a prominent destination for vacationers over several years. The city of Barcelona has had a significant increase in its status as a favoured tourist destination over the last few decades. However, the occurrence of the 1992 Summer Olympics marked a pivotal moment in this trajectory.

According to Martins (2018), hosting the Olympic Games in Barcelona garnered significant global recognition, leading to a substantial increase in tourist arrivals. This inflow of visitors had a profound influence on the growth and development of the city. Subsequently, the city has implemented a purposeful approach of organising various events to solidify its status as a prominent global destination for tourists.

Barcelona's unique tourist allure stems from its wide array of ancient landmarks and state-of-the-art entertainment places. The Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, both erected by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, are two of the several architectural marvels in the city that have been officially recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The diverse combination of traditional Catalan practices and modern festivals that constitute the cultural fabric of Barcelona is a significant attraction (Zerva et al., 2019). The city's Mediterranean allure, characterised by its picturesque beaches, temperate climate, delectable cuisine, and vibrant nocturnal activities, serve as further enticing factors for tourists.

Barcelona's strategic event tourism model has been carefully adjusted to cater to the diverse requirements of various categories of visitors (Rico et al., 2019). This particular approach ensures a consistent influx of visitors throughout the year.

The city's tourism strategy encompasses a diverse range of initiatives, catering to a wide demographic. These include hosting music and cultural events targeted towards a younger audience and organising business conferences tailored to corporate executives.

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Case Studies Of Major Strategic Events In Barcelona

The Primavera Sound Festival

Barcelona has been the chosen location for the yearly music festival Primavera Sound since its establishment in 2001. This event has garnered global acclaim and draws attendees from many parts of the globe, contributing to the establishment of Barcelona as a prominent hub for culture and music. The festival showcases a diverse range of musical genres, encompassing popular and rock music as well as underground and experimental genres (Borges et al., 2016).

The event is commonly held at Parc del Forum, a substantial open-air venue situated along the waterfront in proximity to the city centre. Renowned musical acts such as Radiohead, Patti Smith, and Tame Impala, among many others, have had the honour of performing on the festival's prestigious platforms during its existence.

According to Garay Tamajon and Morales Perez (2020), the festival further functions as a platform for emerging artists, enhancing its global recognition. More than 200,000 individuals annually participate in the event, with about half of the attendees originating from countries outside of Spain.

The Primavera Sound Festival has direct effects in terms of economic benefits and enhanced tourism. The event attracts a substantial number of tourists, who contribute significantly to the local economy by making substantial expenditures at hotels, restaurants, and various businesses within the vicinity (Trindafe et al., 2018).

Temporary employees contribute to the growth and prosperity of the tourist and retail sectors inside the city. Furthermore, the festival garners substantial media coverage, therefore bolstering Barcelona's reputation as a prominent cultural centre on a global scale.

The event enhances Barcelona's reputation as a city renowned for its abundance of music and cultural offerings. The region has an increase in visitor influx due to the attraction of individuals with a keen interest in such activities.

The city has made improvements to its infrastructure and services in response to the festival's enduring success, enhancing its appeal as a destination for both tourists and residents (de Almeida et al., 2021). The economic advantages are substantial, but the enduring consequences will encompass some challenges. The event might lead to elevated noise pollution levels, increased traffic congestion, and additional strain on local infrastructure and services (Nadais et al., 2021).

Furthermore, the city has an ongoing issue of effectively ensuring that the favourable consequences of these large-scale meetings permeate through to the ordinary residents and contribute to the city's sustainable growth.

The Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona serves as a notable illustration of strategic event tourism. However, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive analysis of its multifaceted impacts, which will be undertaken in the subsequent sections of this essay.

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The Mobile World Congress

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a yearly meeting organised by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) in Barcelona. The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is widely recognised as a prominent international gathering in the mobile industry, with participants from many sectors including enterprises, researchers, and consumers on a global scale (Montojo et al., 2022).

In conjunction with its distinguished roster of speakers, innovative concepts, and extensive networking prospects, the event's capacity to influence the trajectory of mobile technology in the future has bestowed upon it worldwide significance.

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is anticipated to impact Barcelona's economy significantly. The annual four-day event attracts a substantial attendance of over one hundred thousand individuals, hence generating significant economic revenue for the hosting city.

The expenditure made by tourists on accommodation, meals, and transportation within the region significantly benefits the aforementioned companies. The MWC positively impacts the local employment rate due to the creation of both temporary and permanent work opportunities.

According to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in 2019 resulted in a substantial economic impact on the local economy, generating an estimated €470 million and creating more than 14,000 temporary employment opportunities (GSMA, 2019).

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is a significant economic driver, contributing substantial financial gains to Barcelona. Additionally, it is pivotal in enhancing Barcelona's reputation as a hub for innovation and technological advancements. Consequently, there is an optimistic expectation that this heightened profile will attract more enterprises to establish their operations in the city.

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is anticipated to yield a lasting positive economic influence on Barcelona due to its capacity to effectively host extensive global gatherings. This exhibition of the city's organisational prowess is likely to stimulate the interest of other entities in selecting Barcelona as a preferred destination for their respective events.

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) has benefits and drawbacks regarding its impact on society and culture. Barcelona promotes a global outlook by facilitating interactions between individuals from diverse geographical backgrounds, including international visitors and local residents (Montojo et al., 2022).

Furthermore, the occurrence often ignites a revitalised enthusiasm for mobile technology inside nearby educational establishments, fostering an environment favourable for instruction, scholarly investigation, and innovation.

However, the neighbouring village does see specific transient disruptions due to the presence of the MWC. Montojo et al. (2022) posit that the event may engender transitory drawbacks for residents, such as overcrowding in the downtown area and escalated service costs.

Therefore, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) offers an illustrative instance of the typical impact that strategically significant events may exert on a city such as Barcelona. The event tourism strategy implemented by the city has shown to be advantageous for its economy and reputation. However, the pursuit of further growth in this sector necessitates the resolution of emerging challenges.

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The Economic Impact Of Strategic Event tourism On Barcelona

Barcelona's economy experiences significant advantages due to its strategic focus on event tourism. The direct consequences encompass financial gains, increased employment rates, and improved infrastructure (Wise and Harris, 2017).

On the other hand, the indirect effects involve stimulating local businesses and enhancing worldwide prominence. The negative consequences of over-tourism, seasonal economic fluctuations, and impacts on property values are among the factors that need to be carefully considered with favourable aspects.

The economic impact of strategic event tourism in Barcelona is evident and can be readily observed. Tourists expend significant financial resources in order to see theatrical performances. As previously indicated, the Mobile World Congress generated around €470 million for the local economy in the current year (GSMA, 2019). Without this infusion of money, the city's economy and public services would face a significant risk of collapse.

Another evident benefit is the potential for securing lucrative work. The influx of tourists during significant events has increased the demand for housing, food, transportation, and entertainment services. Consequently, the abovementioned necessity gives rise to career prospects that span both immediate and extended timeframes.

According to the GSMA (2019), the Mobile World Congress alone created around 14,000 temporary posts in 2019. One notable benefit is the enhancement of infrastructure. As a city, Barcelona has undertaken substantial infrastructure expenditures to cater to its burgeoning status as a global hub for hosting international events.

Notably, the development of Fira Barcelona, one of Europe's largest trade fair institutions, exemplifies these efforts. However, it is essential to note that the benefits of these infrastructural changes extend beyond only tourists, as residents would also see noticeable improvements.

However, there are downsides associated with these monetary rewards. The presence of an excessive number of tourists, particularly during important events, could impose a strain on local resources and services. The potential consequence of this situation is an increase in the cost of living inside the urban area, leading to a higher expenditure for residents and regular tourists.

The economy's vulnerability to seasonal fluctuations is an additional area of worry. During periods of high demand, such as when large events are hosted, tourism may play a substantial role in bolstering Barcelona's economy. The economy may have adverse effects as a result of event cancellation or low attendance (Martins, 2018).

Another concern pertains to the potential impact on residential property values. The rise in popularity of short-term rentals has coincided with the expansion of tourism. However, this phenomenon can exacerbate rising rents and challenge residents in their search for affordable housing choices (Ramos & Mundet, 2021).

As mentioned earlier, the situation has incited demonstrations and prompted demands for more stringent regulations pertaining to guest accommodations in Barcelona.

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Sociocultural Impact Of Strategic Event Tourism On Barcelona

A multitude of positive sociocultural outcomes may be anticipated. Strategic event tourism enables individuals from diverse geographical backgrounds to engage with local communities and immerse themselves in a novel cultural milieu.

According to a study by Mansilla and Milano (2019), empirical evidence suggests mutual advantages when individuals with diverse backgrounds establish connections. Festivals such as Primavera Sound facilitate cultural exchange by extending invitations to international tourists and artists, so establishing a forum for intercultural engagement.

Strategic event tourism is also associated with improving infrastructure in the host city. As previously mentioned, the enhancements made to public areas, transit networks, and recreational facilities during the building of significant event infrastructure typically remain accessible to the local population even after the conclusion of the events.

An example of this can be seen in the residents of Barcelona, who have had positive outcomes due to the city's allocation of resources towards enhancing its public transport system in anticipation of the 1992 Summer Olympics (Wise & Harris, 2017).

Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge that noteworthy events can sometimes have adverse societal consequences when they attract a substantial number of people. With the world's increasing interconnectedness, there is a potential for the erosion of local customs.

There have been criticisms over the commercialisation of the local culture in the heavily frequented areas of downtown and historic Barcelona. Consequently, residents may have a diminished attachment to their local community and a decreased sense of cultural pride (Paredes-Rodriguez & Spierings, 2020).

Another concern is individuals being compelled to vacate their residences. As evidenced by existing observations, the escalating property values and the transformation of residential properties into hotel establishments can potentially displace residents from their communities.

This phenomenon is particularly evident in popular tourist destinations, where it might escalate housing expenses that surpass the financial means of local inhabitants.

Lastly, it is worth noting that there is a possibility of an increase in crime rates during significant events, as shown by Zerva et al. (2019). The prevalence of pickpocketing and other sorts of minor larceny may potentially increase due to the influx of tourists.

Furthermore, the heightened level of activity and large gatherings may strain local law enforcement's operational capabilities in maintaining public order.

Environmental Impact Of Strategic Event Tourism On Barcelona

The integration of environmentally friendly adjustments into infrastructure is a prevalent aspect within the strategic event tourism sector. The reduction in private vehicle usage leads to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions due to the improved availability and utilisation of public transport (Rico et al., 2019). Events such as the Mobile World Congress have included greener event management practises, which encompass using energy-efficient lighting and establishing recycling schemes.

However, the magnitude of the possible environmental impact is substantial. The presence of a high number of individuals at major gatherings can lead to amplified levels of noise and air pollution resulting from transportation activities, as well as an increase in trash generated by the consumption of food and beverages (Hughes, 2018). This situation places additional pressure on the already constrained resources of the urban area.

If Barcelona experiences a significant increase in visitor arrivals, the city's waste management systems may become overwhelmed, leading to an escalation in public littering. The probable consequences of these environmental problems may reduce the city's appeal for both residents and tourists in the future.

Future Scope and sustainability of strategic event tourism in Barcelona

In the forthcoming years, Barcelona is poised to serve again as the host city for many significant strategic events, including the Mobile World Congress and Primavera Sound. In order to get desirable and enduring outcomes, it is imperative to manage the potential consequences of any occurrence effectively. Martins (2018) has highlighted concerns over the long-term sustainability of Barcelona's current approach to recruiting strategic event tourists.

Strategic events have yielded favourable outcomes for the city's economy, culture, and environment; nevertheless, they have posed significant challenges. The city has significant challenges to its long-term well-being and economic growth due to over-tourism, pollution, and the elevated cost of living.

Barcelona has the potential to employ many methodologies in order to develop a comprehensive and sustainable strategic plan for event tourism. In order to safeguard the stability of the local housing market, it is advisable to consider implementing more rigorous restrictions on short-term tourist lodgings. Additionally, directing investments towards developing sustainable transport and waste management systems would prove beneficial.

Furthermore, the promotion of off-peak tourism might effectively mitigate issues related to overcrowding during significant events. In order to ensure equitable distribution of the benefits of tourism between local inhabitants and tourists, it is imperative to place considerable focus on fostering inclusivity and encouraging active community engagement in the planning and decision-making processes.

The prioritisation of tourist promotion that simultaneously supports the city's cultural institutions and natural resources while also stimulating its economy is of utmost importance.


The objective of this essay is to conduct an analysis of the outcomes of strategic event tourism in Barcelona. The city's standing as a significant tourist destination has been analysed due to its hosting of globally renowned events such as the Primavera Sound Festival and the Mobile World Congress. The city of Barcelona has seen significant economic advantages, employment opportunities, and infrastructural developments due to the implementation of meticulously coordinated event tourism strategies.

Furthermore, it has enhanced local businesses' performance and garnered international recognition for the urban area. Although there are certain drawbacks associated with tourism, such as over-tourism, seasonal economic fluctuations, and impacts on property values, it is essential to acknowledge that there are also corresponding benefits.

Strategic event tourism has resulted in global acknowledgement, improved local infrastructure, and increased cultural exchange. However, it has also brought about negative consequences such as the erosion of local customs, relocation of longstanding residents, and an escalation in criminal activities.

Despite improvements in infrastructure and the adoption of greener event management practices, concerns persist over congestion, pollution, and increasing waste generation.

It is anticipated that Barcelona will persist in hosting significant events in the foreseeable future, yet, this engenders apprehensions regarding the sustainability of the current approach over the long term. In order to attain a sustainable model of strategic event tourism, the city must confront and effectively address these challenges.

On the whole, the impact of strategic event tourism on Barcelona's economy, culture, and environment is extensive. In order to effectively address these effects in a manner that is economically advantageous and promotes cultural and environmental sustainability, it is imperative to adopt a comprehensive approach that considers the needs and preferences of both residents and tourists.

The difficult equilibrium between fostering tourism for economic development and safeguarding Barcelona's distinct identity necessitates careful management. In order to preserve the positive impacts of event tourism on Barcelona's local economy, the city must adopt a meticulous approach to planning, implement stringent regulations, and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to sustainability.

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