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Post-print of Walo, M, Bull, A & Breen, H 1996, 'Achieving economic benefit at local events: a case study of a local sports event', Journal of Festival Management and Event Tourism, vol. 4, no. 3/4, pp. 95-106.


Special events or hallmark events are generally thought of as huge 'mega' events. The Olympic Games, World fairs, historic milestones and other similar events fit neatly into Ritchie’s definition of hallmark events as : "one-time or recurring events of limited duration, developed primarily to enhance the awareness, appeal and profitability of a tourism destination in the short and/or long term" (Ritchie, 1984:2). These large international special events have tended to attract huge marketing fees, dominate media time and are obvious tourism research opportunities. By contrast, local sports carnivals, cultural festivals and community fairs generally attract no marketing fees and have a low media profile. Nevertheless these local fairs and carnivals can be special events : "in relation to their regional and local significance" (Hall, 1989:264). What is important is the examination of the impacts of an event for which the resources required can be met out of ‘slack’ within the destination (i.e. it is generally within the destination’s existing tourist carrying capacity) rather than requiring the addition of specific and perhaps temporary resources. This study was designed to investigate the economic benefit of a small special event which operated within the existing resource capacity of a local economy. It will be shown that opportunity costs were low and community benefit is likely to be enhanced from other sources in addition to direct tourist expenditure. The event was the NCUSA Games held at Southern Cross University, Lismore, July 2-6, 1995. The local community was the Lismore City Council area (LCC), comprising about 40,000 people, living on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia (North Coast Population and Development Monitor, 1992).

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