Will your event leave a legacy for the host destination?

Griffith University recently released the ‘Gold Coast business and the Commonwealth Games: Impact, legacy and opportunity’ paper, highlighting how the business community can gain benefit and leverage this great opportunity.


“Every dollar of event investment is effectively a dollar invested towards experience and destination marketing” - TEQ Event Guide

As I prepare to present at the Australian Events Symposium on the Sunshine Coast, this topic of the symbiotic relationship between events and tourism is high on my radar. This paper from Griffith University reinforces the power of events to drive destination development and growth.

What do you do to ensure that your community and the tourism industry gain complete value from your event? Do you leave a legacy in your community?

Following are 3 ways that any event can ensure your destination and the community gain benefit from your event.

  1. Collaboration from the beginning! Many of us understand the power of collaboration and often take the time to share our event marketing collateral with the tourism bodies, develop packages to promote in a campaign and attend industry functions to network and gain insights…but many event organisers neglect to bring the tourism body and relevant destination partners on board from the very beginning.

    The symbiotic relationship begins when you start planning your event, ensuring that a specific, planned approach where stakeholders work together throughout the entire event planning process, is the focus. As soon as you are ready to start planning your event you should engage with the relevant destination stakeholders and arrange a catch-up. This is where you can do your initial brainstorm around partnership opportunities, funding support, in kind deals, packaging opportunities and leveraging opportunities. Then you need to keep the communication open and work as a team to drive the goals of the event and the destination.

  2. Shop Local Policy. For more remote destinations this can be a challenge, but where possible all events should try to support local. This is where your event can make a difference and leave a legacy. Think about all the equipment, supplies, staff, entertainment and contractors that you need for your event and always look local first. Put out a call for local suppliers very early in the planning and take the time to work with them to make it work.

  1. Create a destination experience. We know that as event managers our events are great marketing hooks for the destination, but often we overlook how the destination can add value to the event and the attendees experience. Remember your customer? What do they want? Some will just come for the event, but many are looking for an experience! This is where you can work with your destination and the tourism operators in the region to create packages, suggested weekend itineraries and bundled experiences related to your event e.g. The ultimate arts and cultural weekend. An event that does this well is the iconic Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, with a whole section of their website dedicated to experiences and itineraries.

But it’s not all up to the event, right! A destination and business must consider what direct benefits can be sought form the event, and what actions are necessary to maximise these benefits. Everyone has a role to play, and when we all play that role well the overall economy and community will benefit for the long term.

So, what do you do to ensure your event leaves a legacy for your destination?

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Cristy HoughtonComment