Sustainable event management in Ireland: A local authority perspective
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This postgraduate research addresses the sustainable planning and management of events in Ireland from a local authority perspective. Sustainable event management is defined by the British Standards Institute (2011) as “an enduring balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress”. With the number of festivals and events throughout Ireland increasing year on year and global tourism set to hit 1.6 billion arrivals by 2020 (UNWTO, 2009), it is important to identify if there will be a greater emphasis on sustainable event management in the future and what challenges this may bring to the industry. Festivals and events in Ireland have great economic potential. Fáilte Ireland invested €3.62 million in 210 events in 2011, over 400,000 overseas visitors attended festivals and events in Ireland in 2010. More than 2 million bed nights are generated by festivals from the domestic market alone and €448 million was generated by festivals in Ireland in 2010, with €300 million of this originating from domestic and overseas visitors who travelled specifically to attend a festival. Over €685,000 has been approved by Fáilte Ireland for 170 regional festivals and events taking place in 2013 (Fáilte Ireland, 2012). It is evident that events can create many positive and negative impacts. Some positive impacts include income generation, increased employment, raising awareness of environmental issues, awareness of conserving energy and implementing strategy. Negative impacts include traffic disruption, waste, pollution, host community disruption and noise pollution. These negative impacts can incur large expense for event managers and local authorities in difficult economic times. Sustainable event management is therefore highly important as it provides an opportunity to manage and reduce such impacts while improving the quality of events. There are some existing guidelines in place in Ireland to combat such negative impacts. These however are quite basic and limited in their scope but can provide clarity to many stakeholders involved in the events industry. This paper examines the level of sustainable event management in Ireland and whether or not it is possible to fully sustainably manage events. It examines the local authority process, procedures and guidelines in place to combat negative impacts and identifies what factors are taken into consideration in order to achieve sustainability. Furthermore it assess if there is a gap in the provision of a tool to aid local authorities in managing events at an operational level which in turn will prove helpful in assisting event managers in making the transition towards the sustainable management of events.
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