Impact of Olympic Games on Host Cities

Keywords: olympic games impact, beijing games impact,


According to Turner (1982), persons in all cultures identify the need to set aside assured times and spaces for common creativity and commemoration. This was the value of events in ancient period and the evolution of an event in human culture and tradition. Any event or occasion where public assembles for any of these purpose which is celebration, marketing, education or reunion can be termed as event. Any special major event such as World cup or Olympic Games can attract millions of visitors from in and outside the country which will eventually boost the country’s economy. To organise the major event hosting country will invest huge sum of money in transportation, communication and infrastructure which will leave a lasting legacy for the whole economy of the country and also a lot of opportunity and benefits to the locals as well as for the whole residents of the hosting nation directly or indirectly.

The aim of this research will be to analyse and evaluate the impact of events in China after hosting the 2008 Olympic games although the essay will try to highlight the event and its types furthermore it will briefly analyse the concept of event management in terms of planning , staging and monitoring an event specially the Olympic games, similarly evaluating the benefits and challenges that the china had gone through in hosting the 2008 Olympic games and finally the positive and negative impact in China after hosting the Olympic games in 2008.

2. Beijing – Host of the Olympic Games 2008

China is one of the rapidly developing country and one of the emerging power of the world, which hold the area about 9.6 million square kilometres is located in eastern part of Asia, the pacific west bank which has the largest population among the globe approximately 1,333,212,646 represent ting different faith, cultures and language .China is nearly about 50 latitude from north to south and 5200 kilometres away from east to west crossed the five time zones about longitude 60 degrees. The east part of the china is closest with ocean with a long coast, convenient transport facilities and large numbers of ports which makes china easy to communicate with the rest of the world’s ports and travel of tourists.

Based on the specific criteria to be eligible to host the Olympic Games which was set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) there were five selected cities selected to be the finalist by the International Olympic Committee which were Beijing, Toronto, Paris, Osaka and Istanbul after receiving and reviewing the application of 10 cities to bid the host of 2008 Olympic game. Beijing won a complete majority of votes in July 2001from the member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following two round of voting to host the Olympic Games after beating four competing cities which were Toronto, Paris, Osaka and Istanbul. Beijing had lost the same battle for 2000 Olympic Games with Sydney by two votes. Since they hold the games for 2008 they had got just 7 years to make ready for the mega event Olympic games which was later organised in 2008 successfully .From 8th August 2008 to 24th August 2008 the major international multi -sport event took place in Beijing; China. Which was publicly called as the games of the XXIX Olympiad which was also known as 2008 summer Olympics? A total of 11,028 athletes competed in 302 events and 28 sports. The participants were from 204 National Olympic Committees. China was the 22nd nations which host the Olympic Games in 2008 , embracing the fundamental facts of the Olympic Games with its own slogan, which was” One World , One Dream, “they became the 18th to grip a summer Olympic Games.

3. Objectives

  • To understand the history, definition and different types or forms of Event.
  • To analyse the concept of Event management in terms of planning, staging and monitoring an event – the Olympic Game.
  • To evaluate the benefits, challenges and barriers faced by China in hosting the Olympic Games.
  • To evaluate the positive and negative impact of the Olympic Games in China.

Literature review

Since the invention of an event there had been many definitions and meanings forwarded .According to Gets (1997:4-11) “Events are temporary occurrence, either planned or unplanned, with a finite length of time”. An event can be defined as; a structured event such as a convention, meeting, exhibition, gala dinner, special event etc. An event is frequently composed of numerous diverse yet interconnected functions {Accepted practices Exchange (APEX) Industry Glossary of terms (CIC, 2003)}.

Similarly it can be defined as a distinctive form of visitor attraction, ranging in a level from programmes of recreational events at parks, through community festivals to jumbo -events such as world cup Rugby and the Olympics{Getz(1991:122)}

Furthermore event can be defined as something which happens result; whichever thing or occasion principally a memorable one; prospect of happening ; an item in a programme (of games, etc); a sort of horse-riding competition, frequently held more than three days(three-day event), consisting of three sections, that is dressage, cross-country riding and show jumping; fate or luck ;a structured movement at a scrupulous location ,e.g. for fundraising ,promotion ,sales (The Chambers Dictionary)

Or, it can be termed as an incident happening at a determinable period and place, with or without the contribution of human being agent. It could be a branch of a chain of occurrences as an outcome of a foregoing incident and as the source of a successive occurrence. (

Different types of event:

There are different types of event which can be classified on the source of their type, context and size which are described below;

  • Social /life-cycle events

Any event such as Hen/Stag party ,Bachelors party ,Birthday party ,Graduation day , Wedding ,Engagement ,Anniversary ,Retirement day ,Funeral etc can be classified as social /life-cycle events.

  • Education and career events

Events like job fair, education fair, workshop, debate seminar, competition, contest etc can be classified as Education and career events.

  • Sports events

Olympics, world cup, marathons, wrestling matches, Wimbledon and any small or big sports which happen in this world can be classified as sports events.

  • Entertainment events

Any music concerts ,festivals ,fairs, fashion shows, celebrity nights, award functions, beauty pea gents jewellery shows flash mob, stage shows can be classified as Entertainment events.

  • Political events

Events such as demonstration, political procession, political functions, and rally can be classified as political events.

  • Corporate events
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Any business functions like meetings, conferences, incentives, exhibitions, road shows, product lunches, buyer-seller meet can be classified as corporate events.

  • Religious events

Any Religious festivals or fairs, katha, religious procession, Pravachan, Christmas, Dusherra and Diwali fair can be classified as Religious events.

  • Fund raising/cause related events

Any event which is organised for the purpose of fund raising/cause can be classified as a fund raising /cause related events. E.g. auctions.

Analyse the concept of event management in terms of planning, staging and monitoring an event-Olympic games

Event planning

“A successful event or seminar takes a clear vision and an enormous amount of planning, details and follow up. Successful Event planning is a valuable resource and a must have for any department or organization that puts on events or seminars – regardless of size.” Karen R. McLaughlin, APR, CEO, QB Comm., Inc., Rochester, NY

Event planning is the life blood of a flourishing event- from building and designing the venues through setting up risk management, holding the test events, timetabling trustworthy transport and other necessary services. There are mainly two process of planning which is used in an event planning process. The two types of planning process are discussed below:

Strategic planning

Strategic planning can be defined as an instrument for organizing the present situation on the source of the projections of the preferred future. Or in specially Olympic Games termed strategic planning is a road map for any hosting cities to plan in the present situation to acquire the successes in the 7 years. Beijing has used different strategy as in terms of strategic planning process like using slogan “one world one game”, and different concept which was Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People’s Olympics. Beijing also used different strategic tactics which was encouraging the whole nation to participate in the preparation for the Olympic Games, hosting the games to promote the social civilization, hosting the Games to improve the people’s living standards, create the new image of china and many more.

Operational planning

Operation planning is the planning which deals with the operation issue after setting the strategic planning which is defining how you will function in practice to execute your action and monitoring the plans – that is how you will deal with the threat, how you will certify the sustainability of the projects achievements, how you will engage with the risk and what your ability needs are. Olympic operational planning is mostly important to conduct a successful Olympic Games. Operational planning should be well formulated and co- ordinate in order to get flawlessly and efficiently outcome. Mostly Olympic Games take place in a city, which are densely residential areas so while planning operational planning it needs to make sure those adjacent areas and the residue of the city to function as smoothly as possible all over the event.

Event staging

In simple meaning event staging is the planning and staging different stage which need to be place during any event. The simple format of the event staging is drawn below in a circle according to its importance but it can be varied from one event to another.

There were 3 different phases which was used by Beijing in terms of event staging which are as follows:

  • Pre -preparation phase

This was the phase between December 2001 to June 2003 where Beijing plan to established the organisation structure of the BOCOG and also take all the necessary step to complete the construction of the Olympic venues and the facilities. In between those phase Beijing plan to put marketing programmes into operation and also plan to initiate the construction of EP facilities and urban infrastructure plus a number of tourist and cultural site.

  • Development phase

This was the phase from July 2003 to June 2006 where Beijing plan to complete its task set out in the “10th five- year plan” and plan to swing the overall construction of the Olympic venues and other linked facilities. Beijing also plans to finish the major construction projects of the Olympic venues and other related facilities by June 2006.

  • Improvement and operation phase

It was the phase between July 2006 to the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games where Beijing plan to in place all the venues and related facilities which will be as per the standard requirement of the Olympic Games. In this phase all the inspection and any necessary improvement will be made to the venues and also test event will be conducted to guarantee the smooth operation and all the related services will be accessible.

Monitoring an event

  • To evaluate the benefits and challenges faced by China in hosting the Olympic Games.

Benefits of hosting the Olympic Games

  • Job creation

Hosting a mega event like Olympic Games will create millions of jobs from construction to the hospitality and tourism related industry which will indeed leave a long lasting economic benefit for the hosting country and its communities. As per the official website of the Beijing Olympic , the Olympic Game helped in creating 1.8 million fresh jobs across all sectors of the financial system in year 2008.major building construction helps to create extra 430,000 jobs from 2004 to 2008 while there were 130,000 new jobs gained in the retail and wholesale industries.

  • Publicity

Through hosting the successful Beijing Olympics china has paved its importance as a vital player on the global stage .China showed its outstanding organization skill and strong governing capability from the opening to closing ceremonies in 2008 Olympic Games and in carrying out the Olympic Games itself. And also working together with the athletes ,the government ,the party and the ordinary Chinese people for the common purpose which was successful of the Olympic Games was an impressive movement showing the National unity and pride to the rest of the world.

  • infrastructures and tourism

Beijing spent billions of dollar in constructing the new Olympic venues , parks and ,airports ,transportation leak and many small -medium to big five star hotels which was the everlasting benefit for the Chinese infrastructure and specially for Chinese tourism industries. Also Chinese government opened the door for foreign investors who were willing to invest in hotels ,tourism spots and some worked as a joint venture with the international travel agencies which were the huge benefit for the Chinese tourism industry.

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Challenges of hosting the Olympic Games

  • Security

Hosting the event especially mega event such as Olympic games is always been in threat because it is hosted by a Nation and it is highlighted to all over the world and the radical people belonging to different community and county are looking for the purpose of their voice to be heard. The modern world where we are leaving now days is always of security threat. None of any part of the world is free from its own security issue either it is from terrorist group or it is form the different radical communities. Beijing had faced different direct and indirect terrorist and radical community’s threat while hosting an Olympic Games in 2008. Before 1 day to opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2008 there was a video released by the A Chinese Islamic group who were demanding the independence for china western Xinjiang region to attack in the Olympic Games. According to Chinese officials there were 16 dead and 16 wounded when the Turkic Muslim group ramped into the joggers with the tossed explosives truck and also stabbed the victims . There were also people been arrested by the Chinese authorities during prior to opening ceremony who were carrying the homemade bombs and a gun holding the written letter that they were prepared to carry out the jihad.

  • Financial strain

Hosting an Olympic games will cost a lot of financial capital and in some cases the Olympic Games will create a lot deficit to the hosting country economy and it can take country’s economy years to come from that financial deficit. Montreal the host city of1976 Olympic Games is still paying off the cost of staging the 1997 Olympic Games and also Athens the host city of 2004 Olympic Games ran billions of Euros more than the original budget- at country expense. Altogether in total Beijing spent 280 billion Yuan including the Olympics specific operating costs and construction of infrastructure facilities. Finally the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games became the most expensive Olympic games in the throughout the Olympic history.

  • Political

China faced one of the largely politicised Olympic Games ever in the history. China was strongly criticized by different foreign Governments ,interest groups and other parties for its so-called appalling suppression of press ,human rights record and lack of democracy. Due to the apparent attack on peaceful protest in Tibet in march 2008 china faced more external pressure even some renowned individuals and foreign leaders boycott their participation in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

  • Pollution

China faced huge challenges in controlling their air and water pollution during the time of Olympic Games.16 of 20 most polluted cities of the entire world are found in china with the highest level of particulate and sulphur dioxide anywhere. Supplying the clean water is another headache of the Chinese authorities. 100 out of 640 Chinese largest urban areas are facing water scarcity. A number of Chinese river are being pumped dry and the table water under northern part of china is rapidly falling down. China has spent $100 billion every year to find clean water and treat the existing dirty water. This tends to be a costly to both human beings and the Chinese economy.

Evaluating the positive and negative impact of the Olympic Games in China.

Hosting an event especially mega event like Olympic Games can have a range of both positive and negative impact overall in the hosting country and their community. Furthermore, to discuss the positive and negative impact of Olympic Games cannot be concluded in a paragraph, it needs to discuss touching main aspect of the country and society. So the author had tried to break down the positive and negative impact of the Olympic Games in china in following points.

Positive impact of Olympic Games in China

  • Economic

Hosting a mega event like the Olympic Games had leave a huge economic impact in a country specially to a developing country like China as it had created new jobs , new opportunities to the citizen and country itself, more tax revenue to the country. After winning the bid to host Olympic games Beijing started to boom in hotel building reaching 174 four and five star hotels by the end of 2008 which was not the case in the year 2001 where there was only 64 four and five star hotels. The economy of the country boost with the Olympic Games directly and indirectly. The direct income will be from manufacture sponsors ,use advertisements at mass communicate TV , ticket earning where TV relay rights of 2008 in the Olympic games has managed to sold over one billion and six million. Also there was a prediction by different experts before the event took place. Tourism experts expected that there will be 4.5 million tourist which will be from inbound and outbound in Beijing in 2008 and industry analysts predicted that there will be approximately US$4.5billion inbound spending by visitors in 2008 Olympic games. There was prediction by the Beijing tourism administration that there will be 550,000 international visitors during the game.

  • Social and Culture

A mega event such as Olympic Games can have huge social and cultural impact in a society especially in china which has over 1.3 billion population showcasing different cultures and beliefs. The positive aspect of the mega event such as Olympic games in Beijing 2008 will create new jobs in different sector specially tourism and hospitality sector this will benefit local people in one or other way. Beijing spent nearly 20 million dollars for constructing new roads ,parks ,stadiums and an extended subway system for the preparation of Olympic Games. Beijing put so many efforts to improve air quality ,producing cleaner energy by using the natural gas ,regulating the factories. Because of Olympic game Beijing has upgraded the home heating method, put effort in improving the public transportation in a more convenient level, and improving the water treatment . For the preparation of Olympic game Beijing has invested huge sum of money in public transportation ,road ,airport ,water supply ,television ,power supply and freedom in internet which was a huge benefit for the society of china. The difference noticed in the Beijing Olympic game was china focussed entire the nation rather than just focussing in the hosting city which was calculated as a huge benefit for the entire society of the china.

  • Environmental
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China has a huge environmental problem ,the five most polluted cities is located at china. The leading cause of death in china is cancer which is from pollution. Almost 500 million people of china are lacking from safe drinking water and only 1 percent of countries 560million city dwellers are able to breathe fresh air. After bidding to host the Olympic games 2008 china announced a slogan that was green Olympic where china integrated green concept into Olympic venues which was seen a success to flow a message that china is concern with the environmental issue to the nation and to the entire world. China has spent $16.4 billion to reduce the pollution level ,they have impose new regulation over factories , use natural gases instead of using coal which was the major cause of pollution to produce cleaner energy, put effort in improving the water treatment and during the Olympic games over 300,000 buses and taxis were replaced with the emit less pollution vehicles. These all are the positive impact of the Olympic Games towards environmental benefit.

  • Political

Hosting a thriving Olympic Games can drive a city to world class position leading to business opportunities and increased tourism specially it will leave effective impact in developing cities like Beijing. It will help a country or cities to create a lasting profile and also it will lift the country’s prestige to international level. It also helps community to stand together for common purpose that will help in uniting the community. In the antique Olympics was used  as a type of tact through culture” for the sake of peaceful decree of conflicts and differences. Olympic Games were used as the means of tactical civic diplomacy pressing in the era of post World War II for causes other than sports. China uses 2008 Olympic Games politically by maintaining the country’s uncompleted process of development and transformation, and addressing the serious problems. Demonstrating its hi-tech development ,socioeconomic revolution and its modernisation, accomplished in the course of peaceful development. Showing an attractive image of the state and using the games for improving the international relationship with rest of the world and also issuing rebuttals to deformed abroad reports about china. Finally successfully managing and organising the mega event like Olympic Games china showed rest of the world that china is not less than anybody it’s a great achievement for the nation .

Negative impact of Olympic Games in China

  • Economic

Organising the Olympic Games need huge amount of money to be spent from the preparation to the closing ceremony and there is no guarantee that the money spent in Olympic Games will be always profitable for the country. There are couple of state which are suffering economically until today after holding the Olympic Games.

Extra spending in the Olympic Games can boost the inflation rate in the Chinese economy which was already a existing problem in china plus tourism flood could put extra upward pressure in Chinese Yuan .During the process of cleaning the air quality and pollution of the Beijing city in the preparation of the Olympic Games, Beijing reduces its Beijing based manufacturing company by half and relocates some of the risky factories outside the city. It cost million dollar loses for the company and the country in terms of revenue making. It was estimated that the company will lose US$350 million as economic loss from reducing their production.

  • Social and Culture

In every event there will be certain benefit for some groups and there will be some loses or discomfort for certain groups. China also made some people unhappy during the process of urbanising the old Beijing city. Some urbanization victim residents fell sad of being their home destroyed and some were unhappy because they didn’t have enough compensation of their property lost. During the Olympic period the HKS1(Hong Kong Sports Institute ) was converted to competition arena and training ground for dressing and show-jumping which create disruptive to the elite athletes who use to use it.8,400 employees of steel factory became jobless after the government impose rules to relocate some of the steel factories from the Beijing city. Around 30,000 construction labourers mostly migrated from rural regions and villages of china which were used as a cheap labour during the construction of Olympic venues and related facilities and also some cheap labourer became victim of unpaid salary ,maximum hour ,and risky job.

  • Environmental

During the Olympic Games there will be enormous people in the hosting city who will come from different parts of the world which can create pollution, traffic jams, and congestion

And it can turn into overcrowded problem. Plus there can be a chance of destruction of different parks and heritage as during the period of Olympic Games the hosting city will need huge open space for public toilets , crew changing room , and so on.

Talking about Beijing since they focus on Green Olympic Games they tried to minimise the environmental damage as far as they could. But they also faced the overcrowded problem during the Olympic Games in 2008 , a huge congestion and traffic jam issue, sound pollution and so on.

  • Political

While organising the mega events like Olympic Games hosting nation need to go huge political challenges and barriers since there will be a lot of chances of political rights form different groups inside the country and now a days there can be a chances of terrorism attack and also there will be a chance of different state and political parties to use the Olympic Games for their own political and national benefits. Plus it’s the time for different world campaigners such as different human rights group and environmental protectionist to raise their campaign.

China faced a lot of political problems while organising the Olympic Games in 2008. There were huge rights in Tibet at the time of Olympic Games who were demanding the separate state from the china. There was a voice from inside and outside the country defending for the Chinese monopoly system. There were a voice for democracy in terms of freedom of press, internet and rights. There were different attempts of terrorism by different terrorist groups trying to fail the effect the Olympic Games and scared the Chinese Government. China also went through huge criticisms from different nation head and political parties some of them even boycott their presence in the opening ceremony.

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