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Dancing with the Devil – Reimaging a Destination through Events

Devine, Adrian, Devine, Frances and Boluk, Karla (2015) Dancing with the Devil – Reimaging a Destination through Events. In: 11th Annual Tourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference (THRIC), Letterkenny, Ireland. THRIC. 9 pp. [Conference contribution]

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One of the potential benefits of organising a major event is that it can be used to improve the ‘image’ of the host destination (Jago et al., 2003; Chalip, 2004; Bowdin et al., 2004; Ferdinand and Kitchin, 2012; Getz, 2013). Northern Ireland is an example of a country that is currently using events to help remove stereotypical images of its troubled past. In August 2013 Northern Ireland hosted the World Police and Fire Games which is the third largest international multi-sport event in the world. The official event evaluation survey found that the games projected Northern Ireland in a positive light. However, this survey does not tell the full story. Northern Ireland experienced four months of civil unrest in the month leading up to the Games. This civil unrest occurred at a time when many of the international athletes and their families were still in what Court et al. (2009) refer to as the evaluation stage of the consumers decision making process i.e. they were conducting research before purchase. Many turned to social media to seek reassurance and guidance. Unfortunately the event organisers did not provide this, in fact the way they handled the comments on social media actually created more doubts in the minds of potential visitors to Northern Ireland. Consequently by mismanaging this crisis this major international event actually helped to reinforce the negative stereotypical image of Northern Ireland and because it happened on-line it was ignored in the official event evaluation. The key lesson that other event organisers and destination marketers can learn from this case study is that do not underestimate the power of social media especially in a time of crisis.

Item Type:Conference contribution (Paper)
Keywords:Place Marketing, Civil Unrest, Reputation, Image, and Planning.
Faculties and Schools:Ulster Business School > Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Ulster Business School
ID Code:33226
Deposited By: Dr Adrian Devine
Deposited On:16 Feb 2016 08:54
Last Modified:16 Feb 2016 08:54

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