Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Music Event as a Tourist Product: Specifics, Issues, Challenges

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Aleksandra Krajnović and Ivana Paula Gortan-Carlin

Submitted: 09 June 2017 Reviewed: 28 September 2017 Published: 20 December 2017

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.71338

From the Edited Volume

Mobilities, Tourism and Travel Behavior - Contexts and Boundaries

Edited by Leszek Butowski

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In this chapter, the authors describe the concept of cultural tourism using an example of event tourism, specifically music events on coastal tourist destinations. As an example, the authors describe Istria, one of the strongest tourist regions in Croatia, showing effective ways in managing events using a strategic approach and having well-organized stakeholders. They continue by providing an additional analytical presentation of issues relating to music events, as one of the key subgroups of the events. Furthermore, the authors give an overview of the challenges and specificities that are occurring today in the field of not only music event management but also event management in general by using, once again, the example of coastal tourist destinations. The authors conclude that the scientific aspects of cultural tourism and event management are of increasing importance since these events are becoming an integral part of the tourism product of each destination, and the experience, as well as the motive and outcome of each event, becomes one of the key categories in the life of a postindustrial man. For a better understanding of an event as a complex phenomenon, the authors advocate for further ontological research and a multidisciplinary approach.


  • event management
  • cultural tourism
  • tourism destination
  • music event
  • sustainable tourism

1. Introduction

Cultural tourism is one of the oldest forms of travel and one of the most significant and fastest growing components of the tourist phenomena. According to UNESCO, cultural tourism is the area with the most rapid international growth of industrial tourism. In this chapter, authors try to answer to some of the contemporary issues and challenges that appear in the field of cultural tourism, both in theoretical discussions and in practical performance. The authors offer a critical analysis of the complex phenomenon of event tourism as a segment of cultural tourism, specifically music events and their role in an integrated tourism product of tourism destinations. The authors aim to contribute to an easier and more efficient understanding of the concept of cultural tourism, specifically event tourism. As the geographical area of observation, Croatia is taken as a tourist destination on the rise and examples of tourist events are taken from Istria, which generates a third of Croatian tourist traffic as a tourist region. We should not ignore the concept of cultural geography [1]. The authors, namely, consider that the tourist event is tightly bound by the only “tissue” of tourist destination.

This chapter contains a critical analysis of the concepts of cultural tourism, events tourism, and music events. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the authors provide a brief overview of the key concepts, classifications, and conceptual frameworks of event tourism, taking for example music events. The second part of the chapter deals with a “practical,” managerial aspect and focuses on events tourism. Events, as analyzed by the authors, should be treated as a specific tourist product, which needs to be systematically and strategically planned and managed. In the third part of the chapter, the author presents the key challenges for further research in the field of cultural tourism, specifically events tourism, using the example of tourist destinations. The authors attempt to provide a scientific and professional contribution to the most important issues and challenges present in the field of event tourism.

For the purpose of this analysis, the following methods were used: heuristics, the analysis of relevant scientific literature, the analysis of available strategic documents, primary research through cultural tourism workshops, and direct and participatory observation based on the experience of both authors in managing cultural tourism in coastal tourism destinations.

Croatia is presented as a case study in the chapter. Croatia is a country abounding with the protected material and nonmaterial cultural heritage of UNESCO (see more on: A special motive for the research that authors express for writing this chapter is, what they believe is also a challenge for many other authors who are dealing with this issue, that cultural tourism, in a significant way, preserves and valorizes the material and immaterial cultural heritage and regional and national identity of the tourist destination.


2. Cultural tourism and event tourism: characteristics and specificities

The following analysis describes the notion and the concept of cultural tourism and event tourism as one of its segments. The examples used are music events.

2.1. Cultural tourism as a platform for event tourism

Cultural tourism is the kind of tourism that is stimulated by culture. The term culture signifies the totality of material and spiritual goods, the ethical and social values created by humanity [2]. In order to promote and develop cultural tourism a cultural attraction within a particular destination is needed.

World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines cultural tourism as the form of tourism that “includes all the aspects of the trip through which people learn about the mentality and lifestyles of those with whom they meet during their stay [3].” The Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS ) defines cultural tourism as “the movement of people to cultural attractions that are far away from their place of residence, with the intent to collect information and new experiences in order to satisfy their cultural needs [3].”

According to World Tourism Organization specialists, cultural tourism includes [3]:

  • tourism for youth people, where the cultural and educational aspects are predominant e.g., study trips, trips for learning a foreign language, international camps;

  • exchanges of artists, writers, and the events celebrating this exchanges;

  • rural tourism, holidays to the families of the visited region/country;

  • holidays in the villages integrated in the cultural local environment;

  • attendance at religious festivals, national, and international festivals;

  • cultural circuits, which includes visits to museums, historical sites, and attending various cultural events;

  • pilgrimages to historical and religious places and monuments.

Compared with the other forms of tourism, cultural tourism has a number of features arising from its specific content, its manifestation manner, and its evolutions and involutions in this area. Moreover, cultural tourism is positioned at the intersection between tourism and culture, borrowing some of the characteristics from both of the two phenomena [3].

According to this, the particularities of cultural tourism are:

  • cultural tourism has a complex content, due to the special services that are included e.g., special services offered by cultural institutes (museums, churches and monasteries, festivals, shows, various cultural events, etc.);

  • cultural tourism targets a clientele with a certain level of culture and education or which is being educated;

  • cultural tourism is generally a more expensive product, but not a luxury one;

  • compared with other forms of tourism, cultural tourism seasonality is less accentuated [3].

2.2. Event as a tourist attraction and the specificities of event tourism

The term attraction [4] means the power that attracts, the power of attraction, or what attracts to, great interest (in the case of events, it can be a performance, a concert, etc.). According to Kušen, “tourist attractions are the basic tourism resources of every tourist destination that determine and condition the tourist offer and the development of tourism in general [5].” Their concept is determined by tourist needs, motivations, and activities. All tourist attractions are strongly spatially marked (emphasized by authors), regardless of whether they are part of a specific space or their occurrence that is strictly spatially defined.

An attraction is often associated with the term event. The English noun event means “happening, phenomenon, consequence, competition.” This word was taken over and is used as such in the Croatian language as well. In the Croatian foreign word dictionary [6], the word event is not mentioned, meaning that the word is in use only after the 1990s. An event can be a ceremony, a sports competition, a congress, a conference, an exhibition, a festival or a party, or something that happens or is regarded as happening, or an occurrence, especially one of some importance [7]. It is an event that can take place in different fields. The word event is often used for notions such as event management and event organization [8].

When debating the categorization of events, a thematic approach is then taken by assessing literature specific to the four general categories of events and related venues (i.e., business, sport, festivals, and entertainment) that dominate praxis and have attracted the most attention from researchers [9].

In Kušen’s overview of the usual types of individual and mass tourist attractions, music is a part of the cultural and historical attractions, located in the subgroup Manifestations (festivals, performances) and Culture of Life and People (folklore and tradition). However, Kušen points out that this basic classification does not extend to the basic tourist attractions and because of that he further contributes with a detailed classification of tourist attractions. When it comes to music, only those subgroups of attraction according to Kušen’s division that directly or indirectly touch on music are stated. Attractions belonging to the folklore group, for example, are classified as a subgroup of possible attractions derived from the people: folk music, folk dances, customs, legends, urban legends, and “UFO legends,” He continues by dividing the group of cultural manifestations into the following subgroups: games, festivals, presentations, exhibitions, art colonies, gatherings, and entertainment programs, while at the same time dividing the group of cultural and religious institutions into museums, galleries, exhibition spaces, shrines and locations of pilgrimage, monasteries, theaters (including the opera, national theater, drama theater, comedy, variety, cabaret, and specialty theaters) as well as concert halls. Regarding the notion of motivation or activity of a visitor who participates in the event, Kušen cites watching and listening, experiencing, learning the professional and scientific education and photography.

Getz and Page indicate a core proposition of event tourism [9]:

  1. Events can attract tourists (and others, such as sponsors and the media) who otherwise might not visit a particular place; the spending of event tourists generates economic benefits; event tourism can be leveraged for maximum value in combatting seasonality of demand, spreading tourism geographically, and assisting in other forms of urban and economic development; portfolios of events can be designed for maximum impact, especially by appealing to multiple target segments.

  2. Events can create positive images for the destination and help brand or reposition cities.

  3. Events contribute to place marketing by making cities more livable and attractive.

  4. Events animate cities, resorts, parks, urban spaces, and venues of all kinds, making them more attractive to visit and revisit, and utilizing them more efficiently.

  5. Event tourism acts as a catalyst for other forms of desired development (including urban renewal, community capacity building, voluntarism, and improved marketing), thereby generating a long-term or permanent legacy.


3. Event as a cultural product integrated into the integrated tourism product of a destination

The focus of this segment of the chapter is primarily on the destination-related issues of event tourism. The authors also present the results of the primary research and place them within the context of the previous research within this area.

Cultural tourism and event tourism as its integral part should be based on the principles of sustainable tourism development. The UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Program represents a new approach based on dialog and stakeholder cooperation where planning for tourism and heritage management is integrated at a destination level, the natural and cultural assets are valued and protected, and appropriate tourism developed [10].

The EU produced the Agenda for Sustainable and Competitive European Tourism, which is seen as the “New tourism” policy. This agenda primarily aims to sustain tourism promotion and development and rather downplays dimensions of sustainability. It confirms the view that tourism is seen as a major tool for regional and local development throughout the EU. Verheugen (2008) stated recently [11]: “Tourism is a strategically important sector for the European economy and can play an important role in reaching the goals of the growth and jobs Strategy.” This Agenda as the following objective evidence:

  • Promote competitiveness and sustainability

  • Improve the regulatory environment e. g., facilitate new starts

  • Enhance the understanding and visibility of tourism

  • Promotion of European destinations, i.e., European Destination Tourism Portal (

The principles articulated for achieving a competitive and sustainable tourism throughout the EU are as follows:

  • Take a holistic and integrated approach

  • Plan for the long term

  • Achieve an appropriate pace and rhythm of development

  • Involve all stakeholders

  • Utilize best available knowledge

  • Minimize and manage risk (precautionary approach)

  • Promote negative impacts, e.g., externalities should be included in costs (polluter pays principle)

  • Set and respect limits, where appropriate, e.g., apply carrying capacity models

  • Undertake continuous monitoring

This Agenda…has an emphasis on small-scale, locally managed, and controlled tourism, which has a social responsibility [11].

Within the context of tourism and the tourism system, events comprise a key element in both the origin area (i.e., events are an important motivator of tourism) as well as within the destination area (i.e., events feature prominently in the development and marketing plans of most destinations) [12]. Events are both animators of destination attractiveness but more fundamentally as key marketing propositions in the promotion of places, given the increasingly global competitiveness to attract visitor spending. To use Leiper’s analogy of the tourism system, events have become a core element of the destination system (emphasized by the authors) where accommodation, attractions, transport, and ancillary services have been utilized or specifically developed (e.g., the provision of infrastructure for mega events) to enhance the destination offer, thereby expanding the tourism potential and capacity of destinations beyond a narrow focus on leisure-based tourism (e.g., holidays).

Recent research (e.g., Connell, Page, & Meyer) also demonstrates the critical relationship that exists between events as a bridge between the market for visitor attractions created by tourists and the use of events to fill the gap left in the off-peak season by a seasonal drop in tourism demand, as residents and domestic visitors provide a substitutable form of demand stimulated by events. In this respect, events have a wider remit than destination-related tourism although the focus of this part of chapter is primarily on the destination-related issues of event tourism and the studies associated with this area.

To be simultaneously successful in all these different areas at the level of tourist destinations requires a global approach, focused on tourist satisfaction and based on the principles of sustainable development, which is described as integrated quality management (IQM). IQM model serves as a support for the activities of restructuring and repositioning of the tourism destination whose task is to ensure a higher level of quality elements in the structure of the tourism product.

Integral quality management (IQM) is a relatively new concept in the management of a tourist destination that developed in the 1990s as a response to competitive pressures on both the supply and the demand side. At least three reasons can be cited to explain the late appearance of this concept [12]:

  • A more intense pressure of the competition both on the supply and on the demand

  • A delayed emergence and development of quality management in the service sector that occurred not earlier than in the 1980s

  • A complex nature of the overall quality management of tourist destinations

The IQM approach implies an equal satisfaction of the needs of the visitors, the local population and everyone involved in the tourism sector. The European Commission’s integrated quality management is defined as a “systematic effort for internal and external quality, i.e., short-term economic progress and long-term local development [13].”

The European Commission has conducted separate studies and has adopted the appropriate Directives, separately for the urban, coastal, and rural tourist destinations [14], taking into account their specificities, and adapting the management approach accordingly. The European Commission points out that the coastal tourist destinations “do not just include destinations right next to the sea, but destinations that have been identified, recognized, and promoted as homogeneous entities where coastal tourist activities are the primary attraction for the visitor.” [15].

Figure 1 shows a different approach to the event portfolio depending on the type of destination and in conformance to the aforementioned classification of tourist destinations according to the EU Directives using music events as examples. Urban destinations should offer all genres of music offered in urban destinations, with the repertoire mostly consisting of globally relevant authors and composers, and to a lesser degree consisting of autochthonous or locally characterized events. In the coastal area, due to the frequency of tourists of other cultural interests, the offer should be varied and of equal proportion, both popular and autochthonous. Within rural areas tourism as well as event tourism should be developed around the autochthone qualities of the destination that is being visited, promoting a tourist offer based on autochthone elements such as folklore, classical, ecclesiastical, and entertaining music.

Figure 1.

The link between the type of tourist destination (urban, coastal, rural) and the genre of music events. Source: Research conducted by the authors.


4. Specifics and importance of strategic event management on the example of a coastal destination: case of tourist cluster of the northwestern Istria

In this section, the authors present a practical (professional) approach to the managing of events in tourism. It should be noted that in this field, as well as in the wider context of management of destination tourism, the crucial approach is that of the stakeholder, making the use stakeholder theory unavoidable [1618].

It is interesting to mention a very important study of Getz and Page [9], where the authors define the research themes on planning and managing event tourism. They state the planning and managing of event tourism as one of the key research topics. This issue primarily refers to the practical, economic-management aspect of event tourism. This is also the research focus of this segment of the chapter, with the authors agreeing with the conclusions of earlier authors about the management of tourism events being a long-term more than being a short-term issue, as well as the key importance of the stakeholder approach together with the need for a permanent and systematic long-term event management and their strategic planning [18]. Therefore, by referring to and further developing the Getz and Page view, the authors propose the following thesis: planning for a long-term or permanent legacy is overtaking short-term measures of economic impact in justifying event tourism, halo effects relate to the short-term image boost, quantum leap means using events to accelerate growth, capacity building requires consideration of cumulative, sustainable benefits, repositioning stems from the exploitation of events in rebranding a destination, and leveraging applies to a variety of methods intended to increase visitor spending and longer term trade or development gains [9].

What follows are the results of the research that will try to provide certain answers to key research questions regarding contemporary event tourism within a defined field of event tourism management. The geographic area used for the research is Istria, a Croatian tourist region that accounts for one-third of Croatia’s tourist traffic and which invests significant resources into event tourism, developing it as part of an integral product of coastal and rural tourist destinations.

This region is particularly interesting for studying due to the fact that already with the first Tourism Development Master Plan in 2002, it was divided into tourist clusters, the lower level strategic organizational units, which in part independently decide on the development of their tourist area, based obviously on the unambiguously defined key strategic directions for the entire region of Istria.

The research also includes a time component. The results of the research are presented in Table 1 , with the first column referring to the base year 2008, which consists of still unpublished primary research. The research refers to workshops on cultural tourism held in two locations (Novigrad and Umag) on May 27, 2008 [19]. The workshops were conducted as part of a preaccession EU project, called Cultural tourism in Croatian Regions. It is necessary to point out that one of the co-authors of this research participated as a moderator at the mentioned workshops. The second column of the Table 1 shows what has been done based on observations, deep interviews with the managers of the presented tourist clusters (2016), and the research carried out in 2016/2017 by Frank Medica needed for the study of the impact of the organizational culture in a cluster on the development of a tourist destination [20]. As a microarea, the tourist cluster of the northwestern Istria is being observed, together with the organization of stakeholders and tourist communities, which has the most developed strategic approach to managing event tourism in Croatia. By comparing the presented periods, a conclusion can be made about the progress in the field of event management, as well as cultural tourism in general in this area. The cluster consists of tourist communities of the town of Umag, Buje and Novigrad, as well as the Brtonigla municipality. As a separate methodological approach, the professional experience of both authors within institutions and organizations dealing with the managing of tourist events in the explored area, especially in the cities of Umag and Novigrad, is also being emphasized at the time of the observation (the base years within the research).

Situation in 2007/2008 Situation in 2016/2017: What has been done and what is not?
1. Rich tourist tradition, infrastructure, cultural, and historical heritage.
2. There is a master plan for the development of tourism in the region of Istria.
1. This represents a good platform for further development of tourism events, which is partly completed.
2. Strategic planning in tourism is still present, but there is a question of knowing and including the guidelines of the master plan as defined by all stakeholders, as well as the monitoring of achievements at all levels.
1. The cultural and tourist offer should be profiled in accordance with the historical periods to which the cultural heritage belongs.
2. Ethnographic elements, autochthonism, and tradition should be valued more appropriately.
3. The target market is insufficiently profiled.
4. Relatively, weak pre- and postseason tourism results.
5. Insufficient monitoring of a tourist consumption in a destination (as well as in cultural tourism) outside the hotel at lower non-national levels.
6. Insufficient co-operation and networking of stakeholders.
7. Tourist destinations are defined by administrative boundaries.
8. Insufficient co-operation of public-private partnerships.
9. Lack of stronger engagement of the local population in the events. “The absence of people who will tell the story.”
10. The need to create a cluster of ideas on a broader platform.
11.Training for event managers.
12. Inadequate education of the local population for the better inclusion in event tourism and cultural tourism in general.
13. The promotion of events on key emitting markets is not adequate and timely.
14. A “poor” event-portfolio with no innovations.
15. Insufficient/inadequate connectivity between coastal and rural destinations.
16. Insufficient co-financing of events by sponsors.
17. The tradition of the life of the local population is not sufficiently valorized.
1. Not completed. Certain types of events do not systematically follow the key historical periods of the tourist destination history.
2. Partially completed. Event-portfolios partially observe the autochthonous elements but not in a systematic manner, with a questionable degree of consulting with field experts.
3. Completed. The cluster has defined that the key target group of the cluster should be the middle to a higher purchasing power level. This should also be reflected in the event portfolio, but it is still not sufficiently tailored to the target market (e.g., the music noise from terraces during the night affects negatively a “more sensitive” type of tourist).
4. Partially completed. The tourist season is prolonged, with this cluster predominating in Istria. Local experts believe that one of the reasons for these improved results is a more systematic approach to event management, especially for the pre- and postseason.
5. Not completed in a systematic manner. Despite the existence of high-quality national-level monitoring of tourist expenditure in a destination (TOMAS survey), the data have not been sufficiently analyzed for lower levels.
6. It has been greatly improved and organized in a systematic way, from the regional level (Istria) to middle level (Tourism cluster) to the lower levels (municipalities and cities).
7. Partially completed by merging smaller units into clusters.
8. This co-operation has intensified, but there are still strong political interests, as well as the interests of large hotel companies in relation to small stakeholders, which reflects on the event portfolio and event tourism in general.
9. Not completed. The population is poorly involved in organizing or following the events.
10. Not completed. Innovations and decisions relating to the events and event-portfolios are still determined by a narrow circle of people.
11. Partially completed. There are high-school programs and institutions that educate managers in cultural tourism, but the “market” does not recognize them sufficiently.
12. Not completed. There are no systematic programs of education about the historic heritage of a local area. The responsibility about the decision on additional education is shifted toward cultural institutions and individuals desiring to participate in such lectures.
13. The development of technology has allowed improvements in this regard, but there are no systematic connections between event portfolios and other basic and additional elements of the tourist offer, with some exceptions (tourist boards).
14. Although there are numerous ideas for innovations and the creation of new types and forms of events, the impression is that only small steps are being taken in this regard and that this depends largely on the great enthusiasm of individual (mostly cultural) institutions and individuals.
15. Completed. This cluster is just a good example of linking coastal and rural elements to a unified whole and an integrated product, where some key events are organized in a cluster-level collaboration.
16. Not entirely completed because of unfavorable legal regulations that do not encourage sponsorship. Sponsorship of events mostly includes large local hotel companies that they consider to be key events for a specific tourist destination.
17. Much has been done about the so-called gourmet events, but there is a lack of an adequate valorization of other elements of traditional heritage.
1. A rich cultural and historical heritage provides an excellent platform for events
2. It is necessary to create a “cultural story” for destination
3. The identity of the destination should be based on indigenous elements.
4. The possibility of “integrated” cultural-tourist products, which consists of different elements.
5. The possibility for the clusters to train “internal” local tourist guides (in addition to the general knowledge gained through “official” seminars) who would receive certificates and as such would contribute significantly to cultural tourism.
6. A greater inclusion of children and primary school pupils in the organization of the events.
7. The formation of a Council for Cultural Tourism in the cluster composed of members of different professions.
1. Certain types of today’s events based on a cultural heritage that did not exist before were created.
2. Not fully completed. No “all-round cultural story” has been defined for each destination individually.
3. The identity of the destination is not fully built on the autochthonous elements. Small stakeholders are ahead of big companies, by “guarding” the indigenous elements more adequately. It seems that accordingly, “smaller” events are more suitable than “mega” events when it comes to autochthonous elements.
4. Almost every event consists of several elements, but the possibilities for such “interconnected” cultural-tourist products are not exhausted yet.
5. Not completed.
6. Partially completed for certain individual events. The issue is not approached in a systematic way
7. Not completed.
1. Inadequate recognition of tourist destinations
2. Inadequate educational level (knowledge of foreign languages, knowledge of cultural and historical heritage, etc.) of key stakeholders for cultural tourism.
3. The antiquated concept of tourist communities as key organizers of events. The process should be transferred to the Destination Management Organization (DMO).
4. Conflicts between the tourism community and tourist agencies, which can also reflect on cultural tourism.
1. Completed. A fully agreed-upon position on the new visual identity of the cluster that is being systematically constructed.
2. Partially completed. There is no systematic verification of these types of knowledge. Despite the education of tourist guides (they need to obtain a certificate after their education), it is questionable whether all of them present the cultural heritage in an adequate manner. Event managers often lack sufficient education or knowledge about management or culture. The knowledge about the cultural heritage of tourist representatives can also be questioned.
3. Not completed. Changes in the legal regulations for the establishment of DMOs and DMCs are being planned.
4. There are no systematic forms of this type of cooperation, except for representatives of tourist agencies in the tourist board.

Table 1.

Comparative SWOT (Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of basic assumptions for the development and for the achieved level of development event tourism in tourist destinations of the northwestern tourist cluster in Istria–selected topics * .

For the purpose of this paper, only a few selected topics relating to this research field are being presented, while keeping in mind its complexity and the need for a much deeper analysis.

Source: Research conducted by the authors based on a stakeholder workshop on a Tourism cluster level (2008), Tourism cluster of the northwestern Istria, Croatia.

Generally, it can be concluded that significant progress has been made in the field of event management in the tourism cluster of the northwestern Istria, which is manifested primarily in the systematic and strategic orientation of tourism development planning, as well as event tourism, based on the cooperation of key stakeholders. This is probably the key reason for the achieved tourism results: increased tourist traffic in the pre- and postseason, a trend headed by the cluster in Istria. However, already from this short analysis, it is obvious that there are still numerous additional opportunities for improving and developing event tourism in general, in this cluster, region and beyond, which proves that the development of tourism events is a difficult and complex process. It should be emphasized that within the presented cluster, a general consensus has been established with the event portfolios planned out in advance, and that they are based on the Tourism Development Master Plan of the entire region, and that the cluster conforms to the interests of several groups of stakeholders (in particular, tourist communities, large hotel chains, small stakeholders, local politics), while the key events of the cluster are being defined and structured according to their importance, as well as the participation of individual tourist communities in their funding. Although this model needs to be further developed and perfected, it can serve as a good example to others, as it has been proven that it has already achieved the desired effects, most of all an increase in tourist traffic within the cluster that uses this approach in relation to the other, while also increasing the strength and recognition factor of the cluster.

Some research shows that such efforts to achieve this type of consensus (workshops, strategic conferences, etc.) contribute to the development of additional cohesion among the stakeholders [20, 21]. One of the main thesis of the previously described principle and system Integrated Quality Management (IQM) has also been mentioned, with the directives recommending a stakeholders’ approach and a strategic planning of tourism as a platform for a sustainable tourism development in tourist destinations and the construction of an integral tourism product, whose event is its integral part, connected to the “tissue” of the destination itself, especially for those in the coastal and rural areas.

It is of great importance to consider the distinction of specificities, according to the already mentioned classification of urban, coastal, and rural tourist destinations. This can also serve as a guide to the possible designing of joint events (coastal-rural), which has already been partially done as presented in the example of the addressed cluster. Similarly, this should be taken into account when doing scientific research since the event portfolio, the planning of the events and their organization, is significantly different for urban destinations (big cities, metropolises) than it is for smaller urban and social contexts: the coastal and rural tourist destinations.


5. Issues and challenges in event tourism

Numerous authors have claimed that event tourism is a subfield of both event and tourism studies. The field of event studies, reviewed by Getz, depicts the expanding area of event management and the wider contribution of social sciences to this interdisciplinary area of study [9].

The most comprehensive overview of key issues and research areas was presented by Getz and Page in the aforementioned study.

This study covers the key research areas of cultural tourism, which include the following:

  1. Research themes on the experience and meaning of event tourism

  2. Research themes associated with the antecedents of event tourism

  3. Research themes on planning and managing event tourism

  4. Research themes associated with dynamic processes in event tourism

  5. Research issues associated with the economic effects of events

  6. Studies of resident and social impact on event tourism

  7. Future research themes on the personal, social, and cultural outcomes of event tourism

  8. Future research issues on environmental outcomes and event tourism (our emphasis)

Additional research challenges, according to the authors of the present article, include the following:

  1. The question of small and new events. The authors agree with Getz and Page that although all types of planned events have tourism potential, including even the smallest wedding or reunion (see also [22] Kruger, Saayman & Ellis, 2014), larger events dominate in the literature and in event tourism development. The authors of this text believe that it is important to conduct further research into different types of event portfolio. Although the classification into four basic groups of events (business, festival and culture, entertainment, and sport) is usually used by academics, it is debatable how precise it really is and whether it should be improved. For instance, in the here-analyzed location, the region of Istria in Croatia, gourmet events feature heavily, even though they are not included — or at least not explicitly named — in this generally accepted classification. Furthermore, an objection to such a classification could be expected from other disciplines. The authors prove this in the present article using the example of music, which is here “shared” between two groups — festivals and culture and entertainment, which certainly does not add to a better understanding or, in more practical terms, better management of cultural events as regards music.

  2. Based on the review of the latest literature and on the practice of destination management, as well as on professional training in the field of destination management in the analyzed example (for example, Experta Business Academy, Zagreb, [23]), a certain amount of confusion and somewhat differing views on event tourism and event management can be noticed. The need, therefore, arises for a more comprehensive and modern view on this research area, with concepts, definitions, and classifications delineated in a clearer way. To this effect, the Event Management Body of Knowledge (EMBOK, and Meeting and Business Event Competency Standards (MBECS, projects present a praiseworthy endeavor. But, as stated by Getz and Page, “both these projects lend themselves to the development of curriculum and certification processes, but do not establish knowledge or the means to acquire it [9].”

It is generally accepted that tourist boards (or DMOs in some countries) should use the event portfolio method as a starting point in event management. The crucial question in using this method seems to be which kind of events (according to their contents, groups of events, subgroups, the targeted segments of the market, etc.) should be included in the portfolio. Ziakias and Costa also agree with this, stating that “Although host communities have begun to capitalize on the portfolio of recurring events to achieve a range of benefits, there is a knowledge gap, scarce research, and empirical evidence about the event portfolio phenomenon” [24].

The key issue, in the view of the authors of the present article, is stakeholders’ consensus or the possibility of a conflict among them. This was also pointed out by Andersson and Getz: “The extent to which festivals can function as sustainable attractions, while fulfilling their social and cultural roles at the community level, is an issue of considerable importance. In this context, sustainability will often depend upon the political and tangible support of key stakeholders” [25].

In regard to event tourism management, a consensus has been reached concerning the necessity of the stakeholder theory application. However, the key challenge to the practical application of this theory is found in the strong interaction of different stakeholders and their interests, which sometimes create synergy and sometimes breed antagonism. For example, certain authors have previously pointed out that “Stakeholder theory stresses the interactions of power, legitimacy and urgency” [26]. It is precisely these characteristics, and the “struggle” among stakeholders at different power levels in particular, that frequently allow for a balance of power within the stakeholders’ network, which certainly reflects on the strategy and policies of event management, as well as on the event portfolio itself as the core category in the given context.

To this effect, in an interesting study titled Cultural Tourism: The Partnership Between Tourism and Cultural Heritage, the authors Bob McKercher and Hilary Du Cros stress that “there is underperformance of many cultural tourism activities” (p. xi), as they call for the efforts to bridge the gap between cultural heritage management and tourism (p. xii). In their publication, authors also present and describe different degrees/levels of cooperativeness or conflict among individual stakeholders in cultural tourism, primarily between those from the field of culture on the one hand and those from the field of tourism on the other. According to the authors, the degrees are the following: full cooperation, working relationship, peaceful co-existence, parallel existence/blissful ignorance, mild annoyance, nascent conflict, and full conflict. This proposition inevitably opens up questions and creates a platform for further questions and research areas and issues, mainly those pertaining to the management of conflicts within the stakeholders’ network in event management.

In general terms, promoting additional education and organizing various creative workshops or team-building activities within the tourism destination would certainly contribute to the development of networking and synergy, and consequently improve the success of the destination. The first step, however, is to be rich, a higher level of awareness of the latent conflict in practice on these two fields, where it often lies without being openly spoken of, being explained away as an outcome of personal issues, or its cause being simply misunderstood. It is, therefore, right to ask: Is event management in a tourist destination battlefield or area of common interest?

Finally, the authors of the present article support the view that the field of event studies, reviewed by Getz [27, 28], depicts the expanding field of event management and the wider contribution of social sciences to this interdisciplinary area of study.


6. Conclusions

Research in the field of events brings about new challenges. Events can be observed from a theoretical, managerial, sociological, economic, socio-psychological, or anthropological perspective, as well as from a number of additional perspectives, among which this article particularly stresses ontology (as “a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them [9]”) together with the approach to event management from the viewpoint of tourism destination management.

In their overview of the current state and critical analysis of these two themes, the authors of the present article have introduced their own views on key issues and challenges in the research field of cultural tourism and, more specifically, event tourism, pointing out to a certain “theoretical confusion,” which is particularly noticeable when it comes to definitions, classifications, and terminology. The presence of numerous invaluable research studies in this field is commendable; however, the authors have here stressed their opinion that this research should somehow be put “in order”: the conceptual framework needs to be defined with more precision, and so do the key categories and their logical levels of hierarchy (which of the categories are “subordinate” to others, i.e., which are “segments” of other categories), the context in which event tourism occurs requires a more precise definition, the mutual relationship between event tourism and the environment should be clarified, etc. In addition, the body of knowledge in the field of event management should be further expanded, and this is, according to Getz and Page, one of the key challenges for academics and professionals. To this effect, the authors have here focused on a recent praiseworthy study by Getz and Page, which to a certain extent presents an inventory of the most important research themes and directions for further research in the field of event tourism, thus providing a platform and guideline for researchers and outlining the directions they should take in the study of this extremely complex multidisciplinary phenomenon.

The authors have in this article presented a possible subanalytic model of the conceptual overview of music events, referring to the example of Istria, Croatia. The authors, namely, put forward the proposition that a generally accepted framework for event portfolios cannot possibly be completely defined, because it largely depends on individual localities and their particularities (space, sociocultural conditions, authentic elements of the community, etc.).

Referring to the analyzed example of a tourism cluster, the authors have proved that defining an event portfolio requires consensus and strategic planning, as these improve event efficiency and generally allow for a better connection to be made between the event and the destination management system. The analyzed example shows that there are increasingly more initiatives in practical tourism to avoid ad hoc organization of events and approach the process in a serious, systematic, and methodical way.

The authors are of the opinion that the level of the organization and development of the event management system is largely defined by various factors such as, above all, the enthusiasm and willingness of stakeholders to take initiatives in this field, as well as the willingness to mediate between different and frequently antagonistic interests, which are generally characteristic of tourism destination management. The management of events — those that are very fluid, soft, “invisible,” and therefore fragile elements of tourism — makes this latent conflict visible par excellence. Additionally, when it comes to coastal and rural tourism destinations, one of the key factors is participation of the local population (due to the ostensible presence of tourism in their surroundings and their lives). Other factors include the creation of events based on the authentic elements of cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, as well as many others. The authors have here put forward their own proposition that the basic portfolio framework should be defined in accordance with the destination type. Namely, urban destinations (as a rule, metropolises) should resort to mega-events and “global type” events, and coastal destinations require a certain “mixture of global and local events” — for example, music festivals ranging from international jazz festivals to those of local traditional music, whereas rural destinations should primarily organize such events that are based on authentic cultural elements.

Event management and the related theory are still fraught with open questions, and it seems that every answer merely opens up further questions, especially in the era of rapid social, technological, political, and cultural changes. Some 30 years have passed since the term event was first mentioned in 1987 by the New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Department, and since that same year, Getz defined the framework for planning event tourism. At that time, the research went in line with the profound transformations the society was undergoing. Although theses have been proposed to the effect that event management cannot be a separate field of research or professional work, the increasing number of higher education courses in the fields of cultural tourism, event management, event tourism, etc., as well as of “event manager” positions, points toward a possibility for event management (or event tourism?) to be eventually singled out as a separate field of research (or management?), with a strong multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary component, which arises precisely from its interconnections with numerous academic fields, areas, and disciplines.

What remains to be seen is where the research and practice of tourism will lead us in investigating this extremely interesting field, in a world where the words event, happening, and experience have started to acquire new meanings. In the overall alienation characteristic of the world that is busy and overburdened with modern technologies, events will probably gain in importance, representing, as it is a new possibility of escape into a form of the ancient “counter-everydayness,” which is nowadays acquiring new shapes and expressions. It will, therefore, be interesting to observe how the modern homoturisticus will move in the contemporary world of experience and at the same time to keep track of the accompanying scientific research and tourism practice.


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Written By

Aleksandra Krajnović and Ivana Paula Gortan-Carlin

Submitted: 09 June 2017 Reviewed: 28 September 2017 Published: 20 December 2017