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The Role of Events in Tourism & How to Market Your Event

Events tourism is the act of organising and promoting an event in a town, region, or country in the hope to attract domestic and/or international tourists. An event has a wide spectrum of possibilities: music festivals, sporting events, religious dates (India’s Holi festival, the ‘Festival of Colour’ for example), arts, charity events, food and drink, and much more. Event tourism slides under the tourism umbrella and not only is it a big contributor to the global economy, but it’s also a field of study coupled with events management.

Events can help prompt domestic growth. A successful event can help boost the area via media exposure and, in turn, attract future visitors, provide local jobs, and help make a case for local infrastructure improvements. The benefits that events bring to a country’s economy are why many tourism boards have taken it upon themselves to help promote them.

As a tour operator, having events in your area can prove highly beneficial to you and your business. Take advantage of this extra surplus of possible customers and consider marketing your tours and activities towards those attending the event. If you don’t match the specific event hosted, creating special tours to capture that audience could work too. Take into account how long people will be staying in your area, what time of year will it be, and what they’re there for and what you envision they’d like to see.

But first, let’s dive into some examples of events.

Examples of Event Tourism

In general, you can fit all types of events under 4 main categories: niche events, participatory sporting events, cultural events, and large international sporting events. In the UK in 2019, Statista(opens in a new tab) found that sporting events were the most popular events attended by Brits with nearly 69 million people attending a live football match. Another live sporting event (not football) was attended by 45 million, 42 million attended a live music concert/event, and 32 million visited an alternative arts/cultural event.

Let’s break down the categories.

Niche events can include elements associated with a country, region, or culture. Anything art, food, drink, business, sport, etc related. Pop-up events like local farmers markets, an international expo/conference, a salsa class, group yoga sessions in the park are some examples.

Participatory sporting events are another draw to many places around the world. Marathons, the UK’s Tough Mudder obstacle and mud run course, or Western Australia’s Ironman race are prime examples of these.

Signature cultural events are fun as there are so many examples to pick from. These must-see events draw people from all over the world and some stand-out events include Oktoberfest in Munich, Japan’s sakura (cherry blossom) season, Edinburgh’s world-famous Fringe Festival, the beautiful Loy Krathong festival (Thai lantern festival), or La Tomatina (Spain’s celebrated tomato throwing festival).

And last but not least, international sporting events. These are the events that are broadcast across the world on TV and social media and make huge sums of money for their respective hosts and draw millions of viewers across the globe. Examples include the Olympics, the Champions League, Wimbledon, the Superbowl, the Masters, the Rugby World Cup, and so much more.

What Governments Have Been Doing

Many tourism boards have taken it upon themselves to help promote such events. It makes sense, the benefits that come with hosting events are huge and tourism boards worldwide have a wide audience and the tools to market them.

Take Visit Scotland(opens in a new tab) for example, they have a department dedicated to event funding across the country and have also introduced an ‘Events Recovery Fund’ to help spark the comeback from the pandemic. The funding is available for international events held in Scotland, domestic events, winter festivals, The Scottish Clans & Historical Figures Event Fund, and more! Not only that, but the tourist board also promotes said events on the dedicated section of their website and via their social media channels.

It’s not new though, with other governments pumping funding into their tourism sectors in a bid to fund, create, promote, and host events once again. Visit Britain(opens in a new tab) have introduced a Business Events Growth Programme, Hong Kong’s government(opens in a new tab) injected funds in the hope that ‘high spending groups return sooner’, and South Australia’s government offers several levels of financial support for various sizes of regional events.

How to Market Your Niche Event

For those who are looking to host their small regional event, there are a few general guidelines you can follow. After you have secured your funding, it’s time to promote it. The marketing strategy will differ depending on the type of event, but here are some broad tips to get you started:

1) Make your event look inviting. Whether you’re promoting your event via social media, your website, in a shop window, on online boards, you want to sell your event with a creative, enticing description. This description could be the deciding factor between someone going to your event or walking away from it.

  • The description should be clear, imagine you’ve never heard of your event before, then describe it as concisely as you can.
  • Break up the text, no one likes chunky paragraphs, especially when reading online.
    Add an FAQ section, make sure you cover all the questions you feel any possible
  • attendee would have to dispel any doubts and encourage a smooth booking process.

2) Ensure your posts are SEO-friendly. Having the correct headlines in place, meta titles/data, permalinks, and strategically placed keywords throughout your descriptions are imperative to help drive organic traffic to your website. There is endless material online to help get the basics down.

3) Expand your horizons and look to post/promote your event on influencers pages(opens in a new tab). Influencers these days have extensive reach and if you find someone suitable that will promote to your audience, it will only do you good. Another option is Facebook groups. Nowadays, there’s a Facebook group for everything and if you find one that fits into your niche event, get posting! If your event celebrates the country’s culture, consider searching for foreigners living in that country. It’s a great opportunity to market to a precise target audience.

Events play an important role in tourism for many reasons but aside from the financial aspect, events bring people together in celebration of culture, sport, music, food and drink, and more. If you’re creating your own event, good luck, and if you’re attending a local event or heading off worldwide, enjoy it!

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