Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

21 is the new old..

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

The Atlanta Falcons’ came out with a plan back in April of 2013 to build a brand new $1 billion retractable-roof stadium by 2017 in downtown Atlanta.  After over two years of negotiations, the city’s economic development armed voted 8-1 in approving the issue of over $200 million in bonds from Atlanta city’s hotel-motel taxes to help with the funding of the new stadium.  Since the current Georgia Dome stadium was built only 21 years ago in 1992, this raised a lot of questions and concerns.  The questions are exemplified by something along the lines of why now, why is this necessary, the stadium just turned old enough to drink! Falcons owner says

We’re not simply swapping one stadium for another. We’re building a best-in-class facility that will help us attract new events and retain the Falcons.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/22007606/falcons-1b-retractableroof-stadium-gets-public-funds-green-light

The remaining money to support the costs of the stadium will come from other private funds as well as the Atlanta Falcons.

In another Q&A article found at: http://www.sbnation.com/2013/3/7/4076234/new-falcons-stadium-deal-atlanta it is asked “Since this is an NFL stadium deal, how much blatant robbery of public money occurred here?” Following the response:

A bit, but that’s money long since stolen via the hotel tax, which by law must go towards ‘Promoting tourism, conventions, and trade shows.’ There are local costs to it, as there are with any tax, but the direct amount of money in theory is coming from tourism taxes levied on hapless conventioneers breezing through town.

When it comes to using public funding, it seems like something that is rather hard to swallow.  If after 21 years, the Falcons for some reason need a new stadium that is still relatively new, shouldn’t we be asking more questions?  It seems as though this hotel-motel tax could be used for a cause beneficial for more people as well as a better cause.  $200 million is no small fee, which yes, gives the new stadium a good step in the financial direction that they need but it could be better used for other things within Atlanta.  Using this $200 could be used towards education, construction in the city, or many other aspects that could be beneficial to many people around the city, rather than just the team and the people surrounding the sport.

Bye Bye Georgia Dome… Hello Super Bowl

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In a recent article by Ron Stephens, public funding will be what makes the Atlanta Falcons a new home. With Georgia being one of the hottest tourist attractions in the United States, hotels are a booming source of revenue. This is why $300 million dollars of hotel and motel taxes will be used to build a new billion dollar stadium. While the Atlanta Falcons already have a stadium to play at, the state of Atlanta believes by having a modern facility that is competitive, flexible and functional, they will be able to host marquee events as well as enjoy the economic benefits. However, people ask the question “why should the public invest $300  in a stadium for the falcons”, and it was answered “you’re looking at it backwards, the Falcons are investing $700 million in a stadium for Georgia. The stadium will be an asset to the state and will generate economic benefits long after the public investment is recouped”.

The document in this link http://cbsminnesota.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/nfl-funding-summary-12-2-11.pdf , shows the private money spent on stadiums and the public. Most of the people building the stadiums see the investment as a great economic benefit which will help the public in the long run. I believe this is true because the stadium will add more than 4,500 to the states economy as well as $400 million in economic impact during construction. The article went on to explain how having a modern stadium will bring the opportunity to host huge events such as the super bowl or the world cup. Bringing in an audience from one of those events to Georgia will be a huge revenue builder for the states economy. I believe in this certain situation, using public funding is making a good opportunity into a great investment.

 

 

 

You get a stadium and you get stadium! Oh wait…

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Public funding for stadiums and arenas has seemed like a grand idea for cities for a long time, but is that really the case?

Since 2000, 28 new major league1 stadiums have been built costing over $9 billion dollars. More than half, over $5 billion, of the costs of the new stadiums were funded using public dollars

http://www.imakenews.com/cppa/e_article001083889.cfm?x=b11,0,w

I believe that publically funding stadiums is a good idea, it brings people of the city into the events and festivities. With this, finance generation is possible through more than one avenue, creating a multitude of ways for residents to get involved.

If a decision has been made to use tax payers money for a stadium, finance generation is possible through: (a) Government backed bonds (b) Excise duties (c) Personal seat licenses (d) State lotteries (e) Tourism taxes (f) Sales taxes (g) Ticket surcharges (h) General fund revenues, and, (i) Lodging taxes

http://www.moneyandsports.com/financing.htm

Bringing a sports team to a city and building the venues for those sport teams has been said to bring many benefits such as: increasing revenue, creating jobs, and benefiting the overall economy. When asking any residence of a city if they would like to have a major sports team reside in their city, few would say no, because of the “known” benefits and possibly personal satisfaction. What some people don’t realize it that the actual economic gain seen from publically funded stadiums is a shocking number, zero.

Milwaukee County did a report to determine the actual impact the city would see as a return on its significant investment of funding a new arena. A sports economist cited in the report stated that..

One should not anticipate that a team or a facility by itself will either  increase employment or raise per capita income in a metropolitan area

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/publicly-funded-sports-arenas-add-little-to-local-economy-report-says-cc9ehcj-201706591.html

Again, the proponents for a new arena often say construction of a new facility will create jobs;  that those who attend sports events generate new spending; that a sports  franchise attracts tourists and companies; and that the new spending produces a  so-called multiplier effect in terms of additional spending. What is actually happening is an economic term called the “substitution effect”.

The substitution effect basically explains that instead of residents spending their money on local restaurants or movie theatres, they are spending it at the sporting arena or sporting events. So in fact, there is no gain of revenue but rather putting that revenue in a different spot. This keeps the overall entertainment spending constant, with the overall effect being that a city might actually lose money.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/publicly-funded-sports-arenas-add-little-to-local-economy-report-says-cc9ehcj-201706591.html

There are many studies that contradict the typical thoughts of a sports stadium benefiting the local city. With the evidence that I’ve seen, I no longer believe that a new stadium would be best for most cities. The construction and possible final cost of the project could prove detrimental if the team or funding doesn’t work out. Of course there is always the argument of personal satisfaction though. Does building a new stadium or getting a major sports team benefit society in a way that isn’t measureable?

The quality of life argument is brought to light because people of a city might be uplifted or benefited in intangible ways that make the building of a new stadium worth it. This of course would be hard to measure academically because of its qualitative values, but I believe it’s worth a shot.

Overall, building a new stadium and getting a town involved in a new project would seem like a good idea, but unfortunately is not. The fiscal benefits aren’t there and the value of the city could quite possibly go down. I do believe the quality of life measurement is the next step to go before people completely rule out the idea of a new sporting venture.

 

Sustainable Sochi? At Least It’s Not In Beijing

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The last three Olympics have been hosted by two countries that are some of the largest perpetrators of carbon emissions and production, Canada and China, and now Russia is going to  try and host the games with a sustainable vision. It is hard to believe that these countries can keep an agreement of long term sustainability when they all have halted climate change agreements and increased drilling in places like the arctic circle. If Russia is not sustainable on a national level, can they be sustainable in Sochi?

With a population of 343,334 in 2010 it is 3,000 people smaller than Vancouver was in 2010, but Vancouver is a port city and Sochi is a resort town on the shores of the black sea. If Sochi is going to be sustainable in the short or long term they must plan accordingly for the increased tourism both during and after the games. An increase in tourism is often associated with the “backlash” of the Olympics but this does not necessarily mean the City’s population will grow at an exceeded rate. Many cities (i.e. Johannesburg) hosting International events like the World Cup and Olympics have spent economic and environmental resources building facilities that cannot be supported or used in the years afterward.  In other words they overestimate the development that their city is capable of.

If Sochi commits to limiting excess infrastructure, a sustainable games can be achievable because it is resort city that is used to and can adapt to a short term increase in population. Their short term success is also boosted by the implementation of the Sustainable Management System which outlines thoughtful impact assessment and a responsible plan-do-check-act process. Information on the SMS can be found below

http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/progress/

 

 

 

Can Sochi maintain the Legacy for the Olympic and Parlympic Winter Games?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have high expectations and sustainable development plan in place to make these games a success. I believe the most difficult process of this is to maintain the Olympic Game Legacy as well as Sochi, Russia contributing their own uniqueness during their host of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The Games in Sochi are going to be highly innovative Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, that will express the spirit of modern Russia and bring with them sustainable, positive change for the whole country.

They want any participants, competitors and billion of TV viewers to come away with a positive impression of the Games and of Russia leaving a rich legacy for Sochi, Russia. They are planning for more than short-term their long term-goals are to be a positive contribution to their economy, cultural and environmental development of the entire Krasnodar Region. There are many examples of how the games have transformed an image of a city and can be an overall positive experience for these cities.

This rich legacy – material and non-material – remains in the host country for many years, which is why many nations compete for the right to host the Games. For the winning country, the Games are a project of national value.

The Russian Diamond is of high importance as well when talking about the values of the games. They consist of

  1. Excellence
  2. Efficiency
  3. Integration
  4. Hospitality
  5. Unity
  6. Uniqueness
  7. Respect
  8. Legacy
  9. Harmony

Sochi 2014 Organizing committee has 11 strategic objectives in place to be the most successful and they have 6 main areas of activity in the field of sustainability for the preparation of staging the Games in 2014 they are

  1. Healthy Lifestyle – develop mass and professional sport, promote healthy lifestyles, and make it possible for people with disabilities to participate in sports.
  2. Harmony with Nature – Minimal impact on climate, zero waste games and enlightenment games.
  3. Barrier-free Environment – accessibility standards and requirements that are imposed on the host-city of the Games by the IOC and the IPC.
  4. Economic Prosperity – develop job markets, develop Sochi as a mountain climate resort and sports center at an international level and help stabilize the economic development.
  5. Modern Technologies – use of innovative technology solutions, development of a legal normative base, distribution of cutting-edge experience in the area of organizing sports and mass events and the perfection of approaches and practices in the management of large projects at a federal level.
  6. Culture and National Values – maintain culture diversity, maintaining culture legacy and develop patriotism and the feeling of national pride.

With all of these procedures and emphasize on these values and preparation steps I believe Sochi, Russia can host an excellent Olympic and Paralymic Winter Games.

Sochi Needs Help – Volunteers to the Rescue!

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

volunteers_facts_3_03http://vol.sochi2014.com/en/about/facts/

Let us take a moment to understand that any olympics could not have been completed without the help of people volunteering. They volunteer their time, their money and their pride to come together to help the hosting country. People who volunteer are part of the social dimensions under the sustainability and tourism section from the book. Why people volunteer are for a variety of reasons; some just want to volunteer to be a part of the nostalgia sport tourism and be connected to the hallmark sporting event, and belong to a sense of community. In the book it states,

“In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the social benefits of event sport tourism for communities. Many believe that the social benefits are the true legacy of hosting a megaevent.” – Pedersen et. al, 2011.

Since Sochi is hosting the Olympics, Russia wants to take pride in making sure that they provide their volunteers with the top-of-the-line qualities they can benefit from. We are humans, we need to belong; and what better way to feel you belong to a community by becoming a volunteer.

With the Sochi Olympics, they want to select 25,000 from the 180,000 plus applicants who so desperately wanted to become a volunteer. How does one become a volunteer for Sochi, from the website it explains,

 For the first time in the history of the Games, volunteers will be trained not only in the host city, but across the whole country, in 17 cities at 26 volunteer centers…. The organizers of the 2014 Games face the task of giving the volunteers the necessary knowledge and skills within a very tight schedule and of inspiring the volunteers to make the Sochi Olympics the best in history.  Sochi website, 2013. http://vol.sochi2014.com/en/news/11/8987/

Sochi is in good sustainability progress by selecting people who want to volunteer, and are worthy.

A Sustainable Sochi….?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Can Sochi reach sustainability by the 2014 Winter Olympic Games?

Yes, I believe Sochi can and will reach a level of sustainability by February 2014. In particularly, the “Games with minimal impact on climate” seems to be a very achievable goal, considering the fact that most of the current issues or environmental challenges in Sochi are a direct result of the current system being extremely outdated.

One way in which Sochi can reduce their impact on the environment is by updating their current transportation system. A number of their current environmental issues such as air pollution and poor traffic flow, will be reduced in severity by constructing a newer transportation system.

In addition to updating their transportation system, their plans to update their waste management systems will also play a huge role in being more environmentally friendly. The reduction of water consumption, implementing water collection techniques, recycling, and the construction of waste water drainage systems will only further reduce the effects the games have on the environment.

The next prong to the three prong sustainability approach is economic sustainability. Through the construction of new sports facilities, roads and railways, hotels, athlete village builds, as well as many other construction projects, Sochi should see a good result in their economic growth.

Taking into consideration that one of the proposed plans was to ensure:

“the predominant us of local and regional labor resources, materials, components, and equipment”.

http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/economy/

One would expect at minimum, a decent amount of economic growth for the city of Sochi.

In addition, according to the Sochi 2014 website:

“the Olympic Project has already created and supported 239 thousand new jobs”

(http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/economy/).

With that type of job growth, it would almost seem impossible not to see the economy around Sochi, strengthen.

The last factor of the sustainability model is the social aspect. The promotion of leading a healthy lifestyle is occurring and their goals for this aspect are also quite achievable. With the construction of new sport facilities it will allow Sochi to host large scale events after the completion of the Olympics and Paralympics. By hosting large sports event, a good portion of the cities population will gain motivation to participate in sports and physical activities. Both of these are steps to living a healthier life. The new facilities will also allow for a broaden sports participation options.

It appears as though Sochi can, and if all goes as planned, will reach some stage of sustainability. The level of sustainability reached will all depend on how well the planners execute the proposed plans.

Mother Russia tries to be sustainable, also soc(h)ially???

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

pic 1

General Information

The 2014 Winter Olympics or the 22nd Winter Olympics will take place from the 7th to the 23th February 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics and 2014 Paralympics are being structured and organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC), which was established on October 2, 2007 by the Russian Olympic Committee, the Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sports, and the Administration of the City of Sochi (wikipedia.org).

pic2

 

The map above shows the location of the Russian state Krasnodar Krai (red area). Sochi which is located in Krasnodar Krai, is situated on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia and Russia.

Sustainability

Sustainability consists of three-pronged elements, which are the environment, the economic and social (cultural) well-being (Pedersen, Parks, Quarterman & Thibault, 2011, p.238).

Social Objectives of Sochi 2014

The Sochi Organizing Committee focuses on promoting a “healthy lifestyle” within the community of Sochi and Russia. Therefore it main focus lies on the creation of conditions to make it possible for people with disabilities to engage in sport and to develop medical support for professional sport, employees and participants of the mass events. To achieve these goals, the Sochi Organizing Committee concentrates on physical education to increase the knowledge of the importance of physical activities and to make mass sport popular. This education focuses especially on children and the youth. One of the educational purposes is to teach the youth about a healthy nutrition, and the dangers of smoking and alcohol. Moreover another committee’s stated task is to increase the physical activity of people with disabilities (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/life/).

In my opinion the educational objective and the objective of focusing on the sport participation of people with disabilities are two achievable goals. It is important to implement certain physical education classes, which mainly focus on nutrition, and the positive physical and psychological outcomes of sport. Furthermore the Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics create great opportunities for the local community of Sochi to involve people with disabilities in physical activities or jobs. It is important that the committee creates a long-termand sustainable plan of keeping people with disabilities involved in projects, jobs and sport.

The goal of creating a medical support system especially for workers and employees of the Winter Olympics Games is an unachievable objective for now. Let’s face the problems, Russia is still known as a country who forgets too many times the human rights. The violation of human rights is often mirrored by the violation of fair labor.

“Construction companies have been accused of not paying their workers, bussing in illegal laborers and taking scant care of their existing employees as Russia rushes to complete its preparations.

Last year at least 25 people died in accidents and many more were injured. The estimated 95,000 workers who have worked on the project have seen little of that £32 billion.

A Human Rights Watch report published in February found that some employers’ cheated workers out of wages, required them to work 12-hour shifts with few days off, and confiscated passports and work permits, apparently to coerce workers to remain in exploitative jobs.”

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/winter-olympics/10416297/Sochi-Winter-Olympics-2014-rising-concerns-over-Games-mar-100-days-to-go-celebrations.html).

These examples of the work condition in Sochi indicate that corruption and unfair labor treatment is still a concern in Russia. We can hypothesize that Russia won’t solve these problems in Sochi, because Russia has to finish their projects until beginning next year and to be honest Russia won’t invest money to create better conditions for their workers because if workers complain they get laid off and another bus of migrant workers from the former Soviet Union will arrive.

Other social objectives are to develop patriotism, the feeling of national pride, maintain cultural diversity, ensuring access of cultural events, and maintaining the cultural legacy. Through the creation of certain themes for each year, for example 2013 is the year of museum; Russia explains and promotes their history and culture to their people and to their visitors. This is a great way of making people proud of their country and to achieve the goal of patriotism and national pride. Never the less Russia fails of creating diversity or cultural diversity in certain aspects. After a new federal law approved in Russia in June 2013 that bans “homosexual propaganda to minors” an important wave of criticism followed and many voices have claimed to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sochi). This action of the Russian government clearly prohibits the diversity of different groups of people and creates a certain type of racism. Russia shows again that they are still a country who doesn’t respect human rights. With this law Russia limits their people’s freedom once again.

Economic Objectives of Sochi 2014

The goals of developing a stable economy, creating a well-working job market and to developing the city of Sochi as both a mountain climate resort and a sports center at an international level are the main economic objectives for Sochi, the Krasnodar region and all of Russia. To achieve these objectives the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee focuses on using local and regional labor resources, materials, components, and equipment. Furthermore it wants to create new jobs and train/develop local labor resources. Furthermore Sochi will get a more developed and efficient infrastructure with that is meant that modern roads and railways, new transport hubs or new gas pipes are getting built. The city of Sochi and its people will definitely profit through the projects of the Winter Olympics and it creates new job opportunities in all different kind of fields. Therefore I think the Olympics will definitely benefit Sochi and its people economically and as a community. On the other hand,

“Sochi borders Russia’s six autonomous republics of the Northern Caucasus, home of the Chechen wars and violent feuding that surfaced after the breakup of the Soviet Union and continues to date. All of the republics have severe social problems that stem from massive unemployment and bad governance. Islamist extremism and the terrorism associated with it continue to be a threat” (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/opinion-will-olympic-flame-dim-in-sochi-a-680560.html).

These problems and issues could have negative effects of the economic development of Sochi’s region. It is hard for me to imagine that expressions of peace, tolerance, and fairness would be held hostage to a region where these values have little meaning. Never the less this Olympic Games could be a changing point for the tensions of this region. Russia needs to find the dialog between the different groups and also invest into these regions to create a more stable and sustainable economy.

Environmental Objectives

One environmental concept is the “Green Office”. “Green” rules are in place inside Organizing Committee’s buildings. This means that plates, bowls and cups used by the Organizing Committee are all re-usable. The napkins, towels and toilet paper are all made from recycled materials (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/nature/game_nature/green_office/). In my opinion that is a great move of being economical sustainable and to reduce resources and waste. Furthermore to reduce the waste, the committee developed the “Zero Waste Games”, which focuses on upgrading the system of waste treatment in Sochi and on the stimulation of separate waste collection and waste recycling. The committee also developed a concept of how to use these new waste systems in the post-games period. With that is meant that they will adapt waste treatment systems, which were formed in the period of the games delivery, to the needs of Sochi (http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/strategy/sustainability/nature/waste/).

Moreover the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee works together with “Dow” Worldwide Partner and the Official Chemistry Company of the Olympic Games. Together they will focus on energy-efficient technologies, with improved greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions performance in the key areas of infrastructure, industry and agriculture (http://www.dow.com/sustainability/pdf/Q1SustainabilityReport2013.pdf). Through this partnership the committee wants to achieve the goal of having a minimal impact on the climate. This is an efficient and effective step of creating a long-term economic benefit to Russian economy, because these new technology methods can be used throughout Russia to improve sustainability and to protect the environment.

Conclusion

In my opinion the economic and environmental objectives are the most realistic one’s to achieve. In fact I think most of the ideas and actions will be effective and will help Sochi and its people to develop to a more sustainable city. The major concerns are the social objectives. In my opinion Russia has to enable the freedom of speech and has to realize the importance of diversity. Moreover it has to improve their way of treating workers fairly and to protect them from exploitation.