Focusing on the London 2012 Olympics, we investigate the impact of mega-sport events’ spatial transformations on visitor mobility, local leisure consumption and resulting small business trade. Our case study draws on 43 in-depth interviews with local authorities, governmental and non-governmental project actors, and small-local leisure and visitor economy businesses (retail and hospitality) located at the heart of a ‘Host Event Zone’ in Greenwich, London. We supplement subjective accounts with a documentary analysis of policy reports, media, and archival material as the basis for our empirical analysis. Our findings reveal a major dichotomy between the ‘rhetoric’ of inclusion and local ‘realities’ of exclusion as security planning and spatial controls served to close off public spaces and local attractions: diverting visitor flows and leisure consumption towards official event sites, away from local businesses. We illustrate how such urban processes effectively render a vibrant business community invisible and visitors immobile to explore local community spaces during the live staging periods. We close with implications for event organisers, managers and policymakers focused on re-configuring the socio-spatial elements of Olympic organisation and re-direct and mobilise visitor economy flows towards more open civic and leisure spaces in the hope of better (re)distributing consumption into host communities.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on 31/01/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02614367.2019.1572212
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- business leveraging
- event impacts
- host community
- London 2012 Olympic Games
- Tourist mobility
- visitor economy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management