Tourism During The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games

1917 words - 8 pages

In 2003, Vancouver was awarded host city of the XXI Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to take place in 2010. A worldwide event of such magnitude resulted in significant economic and social effects on Canada’s tourism industry and society as a whole. This essay will explore these effects, highlighting both the positive and negative effects of Olympic tourism on Vancouver. It will begin by deconstructing Vancouver’s promotional material of the Games, to reveal specific advertising intentions. Furthermore, it will draw upon relevant sociological theorists to critically analyze the phenomenon of a tourist event of such magnitude, and the social issues it can raise. Specifically, concepts such as media promotion, performing tourism, and staged authenticity will be discussed. By using Vancouver as a specific case study, one will be able to better understand the sociological importance of tourist spaces and the societal consequences of global events like the Olympics.
The city of Vancouver is of interest to tourism sociologists because of its affluent nature, regularly being ranked as one of the best cities in the world to live in. Vancouver was awarded the Top Destination in Canada in Trip Advisor’s 2012 travelers’ choice awards, and was also named the ‘World’s Most Livable City’ in 2010 by the Economist Intelligent Unit, a title it has won 8 times in the past 12 years (HelloBC.com 2014). Some of Vancouver’s attractive features as an Olympic host city are its outstanding opportunities for outdoor adventure. Snow covered mountain slopes are only 20 minutes away from the downtown core, providing a perfect location for winter sports. Also, the sea-level city is one of the few places in the world where you can experience a morning on the slopes, and a sail in the evening (HelloBC.com 2014). Vancouver is also a very cosmopolitan city, regularly praised for its cuisine and nightlife (Wilson 1997). For these reasons and more Vancouver was awarded host city of the Olympics, attracting hundreds of thousands tourists from across the globe.
Examining the impacts of Vancouver’s tourism in the specific context of the Olympic Games highlights the spatial and temporal dynamics of tourism. Gareth Shaw and Allan Williams (2004) discuss these concepts in their book Tourism and Tourism Spaces, the introduction to their writing describes how tourism is contextually dependent on the construction of place and space. Shaw and Williams argue that tourism is perishable, and that places must be consumed at specific times, thus experiences cannot be deferred (Shaw, Williams 2004:22). They use the example of Olympic Games and the World Cup, to show how Tourism is produced along temporal and spatial lines, and how tourism can drastically alter a city’s economy based on contextual demand (Shaw, Williams 2004:22). For example, the Olympics draw worldwide visitors, but only during the event time. There are several factors that need to be considered for events that create...

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