Resident Reactions to a Major Tourist Event: The Gold Coast Indy Car Race
There has been an increasing tendency for hallmark events to be included as an integral part of tourism destination marketing strategies, with events in effect becoming extensions of the region's inventory of attractions. This trend, coupled with the growing acceptance of sustainability as a guiding principle for managing tourism development, has highlighted the importance of systematically monitoring the social impacts of major events in much the same way as for tourism generally. The study described in this article contributes to the development of such an approach by drawing on past research on the social impacts of tourism to provide a foundation for examining local resident perceptions of the Gold Coast Indy event. It reveals that, although there is overwhelming support for the event among the resident population irrespective of their exposure to its impacts, negative impacts are nevertheless recognized. Thus, although the benefits of the event with regard to tourism promotional effects, community self-esteem, and business and employment opportunities are broadly appreciated, costs of the event associated with noise levels, traffic congestion, overcrowding, and disruption to lifestyle are also acknowledged. This response appears to indicate that the benefits are generally regarded as outweighing the costs. However, in an unambiguous signal to organizations responsible for event/tourism planning, variations in the response of residents also indicate a strong relationship between acceptance of the event and resident perceptions of social justice outcomes and satisfaction with the level of public participation. Residents who regarded the event's costs and benefits as being justly distributed and public participation in its planning as adequate tended to be more positively disposed to the event.
Festival management & event tourism