The Notting Hill Carnival

Topics: Tourism, London, Notting Hill Carnival Pages: 9 (3195 words) Published: April 23, 2012
The events industry has become an essential part of our culture today as Bowdin et al (2006, p.4) noted when he sated, ‘since the dawn of times, human beings have found ways to mark important events in their lives. Today, events are central to our culture as perhaps never before’. As a consequence countries are increasingly looking for ways to highlight their advantages in order to produce a variety of social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits that, in turn, reflect the area. Heritage and cultural tourism is a fast growing sector within the tourism industry with a rise in the number of tourists who look for culture, history and interaction with local people (Hollinshead, 1993). The multifaceted nature of urban tourism and the use of heritage and cultural events as a vehicle for its production, are both difficult when describing and interpreting them (Laws, 1998). Therefore the aim of this report is to address the implications and changes to the heritage and culture tourist industry and how this has impacted upon the execution of cultural events, especially the Notting Hill Carnival in London. Heritage and Cultural Events

Major events can be an advantageous way with which to position a destination and all that it represents, promoting it to the world stage. It has been suggested that destinations have become a place product, with Selby (2004) indicating that cultural events are able to improve and create unique place products, a concept that is both attractive to the consumer and the producers. Major events around the world have been used as a means to raise destination image, boost their cultural offerings and benefitting the economy. The Liverpool European Capital of Culture attracted 9.7 million additional visits to the area, generating £753.8 million to the economy. It is estimated 2.6 million European and global visits were motivated by the Liverpool Capital of Culture in 2009, with 97% of these being first time visits to the city (Garcia et al, 2008). However with economic benefits of these kinds, it has resulted in cultural and heritage tourism becoming more competitive and the events industry has witnessed destinations developing a more strategic approach when delivery these kind of events. The Notting Hill Carnival

Within various countries the cultural strategy for urban tourism is the same, in that it is a growth factor in boosting the culture of the area and spreading tourist activity within the region (Richards, 1996). A city which has utilised this approach is London by using events as a catalyst for bringing the diverse cultures of the area together and enhancing the tourists experience within the city. Established events, such as the Notting Hill Carnival have acted as channels to reach London’s ever diverse communities, improving social capital and engagement, also benefiting the economy with the carnival bringing £93 million to the area over its 3 day weekend (Festival and Events International, 2012). Benji B of Radio 1 comments on what the carnival means by stating that the ‘Notting Hill Carnival offers a reflection of what it is to be a Londoner' (Benji B, 2011). From these comments it suggests that the public identify with the ethos of the carnival and its place within mainstream culture. A theory which Bowdin et al (2011, p.153) seemed to agree upon when noting, ‘the carnival has become more than just an event, it has become a way of life’. The origins of the carnival can be seen as being purely cultural with the carnival stemming from freed slaves in the Caribbean, make musical instruments out of materials they have around them, as any other instruments were banned by the British and the French. Originating in 1964, the carnival is regarded the largest festival in Europe and is only 2nd in the world to the Rio de Janeiro Festival (The Notting Hill Carnival, 2012). The objectives of the event were to portray Caribbean people in a positive light, ‘uplifting the Caribbean...
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