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Lequeux-Dincă, A.;  Sava, A.;  Teodorescu, C.;  Gheorghilaş, A.;  Clius, M. Sport Event Tourism in Romania. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 18 April 2024).
Lequeux-Dincă A,  Sava A,  Teodorescu C,  Gheorghilaş A,  Clius M. Sport Event Tourism in Romania. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 18, 2024.
Lequeux-Dincă, Ana-Irina, Amira-Andreea Sava, Camelia Teodorescu, Aurel Gheorghilaş, Mioara Clius. "Sport Event Tourism in Romania" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 18, 2024).
Lequeux-Dincă, A.,  Sava, A.,  Teodorescu, C.,  Gheorghilaş, A., & Clius, M. (2022, November 24). Sport Event Tourism in Romania. In Encyclopedia.
Lequeux-Dincă, Ana-Irina, et al. "Sport Event Tourism in Romania." Encyclopedia. Web. 24 November, 2022.
Sport Event Tourism in Romania

Event tourism represents a travel domain that displays various spatiotemporal dimensions and may consolidate in a sustainable way the social, cultural and economic development of a region as a sometimes constant element overlapping a country or a city.

sport event domestic tourism UEFA 2020

1. Introduction

Event tourism represents a travel domain that displays various spatiotemporal dimensions and may consolidate in a sustainable way the social, cultural and economic development of a region as a sometimes constant element overlapping a country or a city. Events may attract visitors coming from nearby locations, or they may trigger worldwide tourism flows. According to Gholipour et al. [1], a mega sport event’s potential to generate tourist attractiveness has been a topic of high interest for researchers during the last years allowing authorities to better plan, manage and market such destinations. Studies emphasized the influence of sport mega-events in increasing tourist arrivals [2] and consequently promoting a destination’s image and even contributing to enhancing national branding opportunities [3][4][5]. However certain researchers agreed that economic effects from mega-events remain difficult to determine [6] while others also emphasized economic efforts connected to mega-event organization [7].
Other researchers emphasize the “psychic income” that sport mega-events bring and their social effects in relation to residents and local host communities [8][9], and more recent studies mention the terms “sustainability” and “sustainable development” as an associated future paradigm for future international major sporting competitions [7]. Seraphin et al. [10] showed the fact that event tourism may have a positive socio-cultural impact not only through the self-development it stimulates for visitors but also through the cultural benefits brought to the host community.
Event tourism has developed greatly in recent years. This includes several segments among which sport tourism represents an important part of attracting a continuously growing number of participants and encouraging cities and governments to compete in order to attract hallmark tourist events.
In 2020, when the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared, some of the sectors most affected by mass gatherings and traveling were sporting events and tourism [11], as “countries scrambled to return travelers home” while “the framing of the global tourism system moved from overtourism to non-tourism” (p. 2, Reference [12]).
Safety and health concerns after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak played an essential role in tourism development and destination marketing and led to the study and application of industry-specific practices [13]. Traveling for events meant particular attention from authorities who were particularly concerned with the limitation of the public health risk of mass gatherings and who made notable efforts in this respect, “given the networked nature of the global sport industry and its associated events programme” (p. 79, Reference [14]). Particular attention was paid to mega sport events that were postponed because of the pandemic lockdown periods and were still organized under particular circumstances such as EURO 2020, which revealed the fear of infection and health concerns as important symptoms of the recent COVID-19 pandemic [15].
Despite severe lockdown periods and restrictions imposed by the SARS COV-2 pandemic, sports mega-events were among the very few leisure segments organized during the first relaxation measures after the first pandemic peaks. The UEFA EURO 2020 championship, hosted by eleven stadiums, was located in different European countries. The event in Bucharest’s National Arena stadium was also rescheduled because of the sanitary crisis and finally took place in 2021, highlighting the attendance of spectators in stadiums compared to other sport competitions [16].
On the other hand, the pandemic period was an “opportunity” for different countries to stimulate domestic demand for tourism activities, as was the case in Portugal [17]. Restricted by lockdown periods in the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic tourism dominated international arrivals, even in famous inbound destinations [18].
Hosting mega sports events is believed to be a valuable opportunity to dramatically enhance a region’s reputation as an established international tourism destination [19]. Romania is a young destination on the event tourism map and makes great efforts to host events. Mega sports events, in particular, are supposed to increase tourist demand and add important value to the brand while fighting the stereotypes and labelization so often applied to post-communist destinations [20][21].

2. Events and Sports Events as Tourism Attractors with a Multilevel Impact. Romania’s Case

Sports tourism may boost the economic impact of tourism through increased consumption during the event and was explicitly problematized as a very comprehensive but sometimes confusing term [22]. A phenomenon in itself, meaning more than a simple combination of sport and tourism, sports tourism involves sports events and performances outside the attendees’ usual environment which represent important tourism attractors. Obviously, sports tourists would be much more attracted by the events with increased significance and promoted worldwide [23]. Positive effects are displayed in the city where the event takes place as tourists animate the area during their stay. Sports tourists sometimes get involved in leisure and cultural activities as they are interested in various activities such as tasting local food and visiting museums of the destination that hosts their target event. These multiple opportunities associated with core products [19], such as sports events, should be emphasized by organizers. They could also be a key strategic element in tourist planning strategies for large Romanian cities. Besides the economic and development stimuli for host populations, the particular event atmosphere enhances the positive social perception toward sports tourism. Consequently, the evaluation and accentuation of the impact of sport tourism can be of real support “in the formulation of policies aimed at social cohesion and local development” [24].
Sporting mega-events in particular have been a part of city and national government development strategies since the mid-1980s, following the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, for which significant economic impact was evident [25]. Kelly and Fairley [26] emphasized, however, that the effects of leveraging strategies vary with event size, and despite efforts to leverage tourism gains for mega-events, not all large-scale events are successful from this point of view, especially when there is no collaboration among stakeholders. A motivating factor for destinations competing to host mega sports events is the fact that they contribute to the dissemination of positive destination images through media broadcasts [27], which are used as stimuli for city rebranding [28], particularly to improve elements of labelization and stereotypes for locations that want to improve their image, such as in the case of Bucharest [21]. Justbring [29] also proved the process of encoding destination messages in the media coverage of an international sport event through the involvement of destination marketing organization (DMO), clearly emphasizing the strategic management, destination branding and marketing objectives as reasons for destinations to engage in bidding for sport event marketing.
When analyzing sport events specifically in Bucharest, one may identify (according to Gibson’s classification [30]) two types of sport tourism in the capital city of Romania. One is active sport tourism where tourists also participate as competitors in the events (e.g., tennis tournaments), and the second is sport event tourism, where tourists are simply attendees, as in the case of football matches.
No matter their nature and type, events play an important role in offering direct and indirect information about certain destinations and in attracting a certain number of supporters. The participants may play an active role in the event through their direct involvement or may just attend it passively. The organization of events represents a costly, effort-based activity in which various stakeholders share costs; therefore, their identity is of great importance, as Freitas and Correia [31] emphasized in the case of cultural events organized by hotels.
The more numerous the participants and organizers involved, including local authorities or international institutions, the greater the attractiveness of an event. Important factors that represent advantages for different events are safety and security (especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of the war in Ukraine), their continuity and regularity and their impact and performance indicators. An example in this respect is represented by musical events, which are considered amongst the most important event tourism attractors in Romania, especially in the case of Bucharest (George Enescu festival, Christmas concerts, etc.). This also applies to other big cities in Romania (Untold—Cluj Napoca in Transylvania, Neversea—Constanţa by the Romanian Black Sea, etc.). The George Enescu festival, for instance, was first organized in 1958 and has occurred annually since 1990 increasing its number of participants each year, improving the public security and satisfaction level and representing a touchstone musical event for Romania. Musical events are numerous in Bucharest, and the pandemic context affected recent events to a great extent (e.g., SAGA Festival).
In the case of sports mega-competitions, Bucharest has huge underdeveloped potential, as remarked on by different stakeholders who reported it as “an underdog destination” with an impressive growth in international arrivals in the period before COVID-19 (, accessed on 10 September 2022).
The organization of a sports mega-event was also an important boost for autochthonous football, involving the development of a national dedicated infrastructure and attracting high demand from domestic visitors and tourists.


  1. Gholipour, H.F.; Arjomandi, A.; Marsiglio, S.; Foroughi, B. Is outstanding performance in sport events a driver of tourism? J. Dest. Mark. Manag. 2020, 18, 100507.
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