Cities are not only increasingly competing to host international cultural events to improve their image and stimulate urban infrastructural development, but also to revitalize their economies and attract more visitors and investment. This phenomenon can be associated with the effects of a globalized world economy (Hede & Kellett, 2011), as well as a general increase in competition between cities, regions and countries for the attention of noteworthy stakeholders, including customers, investors and policy makers (Richards & Wilson, 2004).
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Available literature demonstrates that since the 1980s, a rising number of cities are becoming interested in attracting major international events as they are perceived as valuable vectors of economic and tourism development, as well as ensuring sustainable development by stimulating ecological, social and economic benefits
Proposal Aim & Objectives
As parts of its events-led regeneration strategy, Winchester City aims to successfully bid for the rights to co-host the 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture coming up in 2017. The objectives are to attract more visitors and to arouse cultural consumption among the population, while positioning Winchester City as a global tourist and cultural destination
The World Summit on Arts and Culture
The World Summit on Arts and Culture is a triennial international event of its kind, which serves as “…a platform for national arts councils, ministries of culture, arts and cultural policy decision makers, artists and community leaders to discuss strategies affecting public support for arts and culture at a national and global level” (IFACCA, 2011a para. 2).
Members and affiliates of International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) are encouraged to participate and the conventions are open to any individual with an interest in national and international artistic and cultural trajectories. This mega-event, co-hosted by the national arts council of the winning country and IFACCA, attracts an estimated 500 delegates from over 80 countries into the hosting city for a period ranging from 4-5 days to discuss the issues at hand (IFACCA, 2011b).
International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies
Inaugurated in December 2000, the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) owns the right to co-host the World Summit on Arts and Culture with the National Arts Council of any member country that has succeeded to bid for the rights to hold the event.
This implies that IFACCA is the event owner and one of its core responsibilities is to invite the national councils of member countries to submit bidding documents/proposals to host the event. IFACCA is also responsible for determining a set process for bidding and the schedule and time-frame by which the bidding process should be completed.
Bidding City: Winchester
Winchester, England, is a vivacious “…heritage destination just an hour south west of London, with world class attractions and architecture including a magnificent cathedral, award-winning pubs and restaurants and a tempting array of independent shops” (Winchester City Council, 2012 para. 1).
Winchester is the perfect destination for hosting international cultural events and Expos due to its rich culturally-diverse medieval settings, surrounded by magnificent rolling countryside and tranquil Hampshire villages. The city has a resident population of about 45,000 people, and is home to “…a number of large public sector employers, including the University of Winchester, Winchester Prison, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council” (Hampshire County Council, 2011 p. 7).
Analysis of the Internal Strengths & Weaknesses of the Summit
This section aims to critically evaluate the internal factors to the global summit, which could heavily influence the trajectory and outcome of the bidding process, particularly in relation to the focussed attempt by Winchester to bid for the rights to host the 2017 summit.
This international artistic and cultural event “…provides opportunities for attendees to have memorable experiences, communities to build social capital, and for the governments to induce new income into their economies through tourism and business activities” (Hede & Kellett, 2011 p. 987).
The summit is known to provide a sense of flexibility to fixed structures, as well as delivering a source of spectacle which adds to the image value and reputation of cities. In particular, this summit often embodies a less costly means of distinguishing places, encourage people to visit a place more than once, and produce substantial media interest that could be used by the event organizers to market the city through the prism of internationalization or globalization (Richards & Wilson, 2004; Leonardsen et al, 2010).
The global summit, as is the case with other international mega-events, has its own risks, which must be critically evaluated and contingency plans drawn to ensure successful hosting of the event.
Among the inherent risks noted in hosting an event of this nature and scope, the event organizers may fail to secure the required funding to deliver the summit, not mentioning that that the organizers may also fail to engage the local population, resulting in a scenario where the event is incapable of attracting a wider audience (Schneider, 2010).
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Being a global artistic and cultural outreach program, the summit is always faced with the risks associated with poor artistic programming, failure to attract headline performers and artists and, consequently, failure to secure the Summit’s intended legacy. Lastly, it is well known that international cultural events often fail to attract the political support necessary to make the hosting of these events a success (Schneider, 2010). Effective contingency plans must therefore be available to ensure these risks are successfully dealt with.
External Analyses of the Bidding City
There are a number of predominant external factors which could unequivocally influence Winchester City’s bid to be accorded the rights to host the upcoming summit. This section aims to utilize a number of strategic planning tools, including PESTLE, SWOT and Porter’s 5 Forces analyses, to critically evaluate Winchester’s position to competitively bid for, and host, the summit in 2017.
Bidding cities have their own weaknesses and strengths that intrinsically influence the current and future performance of their bidding processes. By employing the PESTLE framework, the event organizers for the 2017 bid are able to effectively assess the current environment, as well as future shifts in the environment that are bound to predominantly influence Winchester’s attempt to successfully bid for, and host, the 2017 event.
It is widely expected that the adoption of the PESTLE framework, which details the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors affecting or influencing an entity (Henry, 2008), will go a long way to assist Winchester maintain a competitive advantage over other candidate cities for the upcoming summit. Consequently, the results of the PESTLE analysis are presented below in an attempt to underline the external factors influencing Winchester’s bid.
The government is unswerving in its resolve to ensure that the United Kingdom (UK) is in a position to aggressively bid for, and host, major international sporting and cultural events, not mentioning that it acknowledges the fact that bids are reinforced if the government is ready and willing to lend active support.
The ultimate event organizer, which is the UK Art and Culture Council, is likely to continue to maintain a powerful control over the global artistic and cultural scene, with more centralized sponsorship and media deals, which in many instances translate into valuable income streams for the Council.
Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 summit also draws considerable support from the UK’s strong reputation to successfully bid and host major international events such as the Capital of Culture event held in 2008 in Liverpool. Lastly, Winchester enjoys strong public/private partnerships, which will continue to play a substantial role in the planning and funding of national, regional and international events (Leonardsen, 2007; Maughan & Branchini, 2004).
A constraint to Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 summit comes in the form of a shifting focus of central government funding, which will persist to generate an uncertainty in relation to public funding trajectories, particularly in relation to community and cultural-oriented activities funded by the public purse (Jackson, 2010).
Hosting the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture will trigger an increase in tourism and investment in the UK in general and Winchester in particular. Such an increase will continue to form a critical component in the revenue generation of the city and the wider local economy.
By bidding to host the 2017 summit, Winchester is setting out on a journey of unprecedented economic and infrastructural regeneration in which art and culture will be used to purposefully transform a city with a rich cultural history. This event is also likely to stimulate the globalization of culture and access of British artistic and cultural artefacts and presentations to international markets.
Additionally, the interaction between the delegates attending the summit and local businesses is likely to spur economic growth in terms of food purchases, accommodation, conference services and investment opportunities (Westerbeek et al, 2002; Maughan & Branchini, 2004). This interaction is also likely to elevate the image and reputation of the city to international visitors and investors.
The current global economic climate, however, presents a constraint to Winchester’s bid to successfully bid and host the 2017 event, in large part because the trend continues to restrict the growth and expansion of many artistic and cultural activities due to a noted reduction in leisure spending as the UK and international economy continues to contract (Jackson, 2010).
The UK’s population has being ageing, and research demonstrates that the elderly identifies more with artistic and cultural events than the youth, who are passionately interested in sporting events (Schneider, 2010). This observation creates a ready audience to consume the summit should the event owners grant the rights to host the 2017 summit to Winchester due to the leisure interests of the ageing population.
Winchester city has a long tradition of a being a world heritage site, thus it can be positively argued that the attitudes and values of the local population are aligned to the importance of preserving culture and various art forms, as well as employing culture to achieve local and national development targets (Schneider, 2010). The attitudes of the local population regarding culture and art imply that the global event will have a ready audience.
These characteristics are likely to add fire to the event, opening up new possibilities and opportunities for the hosting city, particularly in relation to occasioning more tangible and intangible benefits, as well as raising local confidence and self-belief and promoting connectivity, partnership and a superficial-facing focus.
However, the bidding team takes cognizance of the fact that it must prepare mitigating measures to tackle the rising number of security threats, particularly the threats posed by international terrorist networks against Western targets. The ageing population may also lack disposable income to attend such events due to the fact that they are no longer in active employment.
Winchester City boasts of modern state-of-the-art conference and convention facilities, with ready broadband internet access portals, digitals TVs, telephone portals and other value additions intended to make the living experience in these facilities memorable. It is home to renowned world class universities such as the University of Winchester, implying that research, development and innovation are some of the critical assets held by the city.
Greater exploitation of these critical assets is likely to significantly benefit the hosting of the event, particularly in relation to content development, enhanced accessibility, communications and marketing.
Additionally, Winchester County Council, in conjunction with institutions of higher learning and other public institutions, has embarked on an ambitious program to introduce new media technologies. It is of substantial interest to note that the continued access to and investment in these modern media technologies with the aim to reduce operational costs, improve quality of life, and stimulate more innovative concepts (Leonardsen, 2007).
The current government legislations relating to hosting of international sports and cultural events demands that event organizers efficiently utilize resources, minimize waste and desecration of vital assets, and effectively respond to underlying issues in climate change.
Particularly, the event organizers are obliged by various British statutes and Winchester City bylaws to, among other tings, reduce carbon emissions while hosting an international event using a range of measures, such as green travel plans, energy saving strategies, waste and noise reduction, sustainable consumption patterns and exploring the alternatives available to use renewable energy (Richards & Wilson, 2004).
The main constraints to these legal requirements, however, are lack of awareness of the issues and statutes relating to climate change, potential costs implications involved in implementing the directives, and the absence of a way that could be used by the event organizers to recoup the tangible and intangible resources used on these initiatives.
Winchester in particular and the UK in general have stable weather patterns, making the hosting of such a global event a reality. Most conference and convention facilities located in Winchester are energy-efficient, implying that the event organizers will not incur further costs related to a lack of technical capabilities of the hosting venues.
However, the current global environmental outlook, characterized by such phenomena as global warming and pollution, will ultimately trigger a move towards more environmentally friendly products and processes – a move that may lessen the bidding city’s economic and social regeneration consequential to development due to short-term costs related to providing environmentally friendly products and processes for the delegates and audience attending the event (Martins & Sera, 2011).
Strategic management research demonstrates that “…the use of SWOT analysis allows organizations to maximize their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, take advantage of their opportunities and overcome their weaknesses” (Fine, 2009 p. 3).
This section aims to analyse the opportunities and threats (external factors) influencing the success of Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture.
Opportunities for Winchester
The success of Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 international artistic and cultural event will be intrinsically influenced by the city’s innovative funding models, which necessitate the attainment of synergies and competitive leverage between the public and public sectors.
A good example includes a cross subsidy between major supermarket chains operating in the area and Winchester County Council to fund new infrastructure expansion programs. Second, there exist a strong desire and willingness for major stakeholders to network and partner to make the dream of hosting the 2017 event a reality.
Networking, partnership and sharing best practices is overwhelmingly perceived as an opportunity by the event organizers and conference facility owners, particularly in the light of ensuring that those who will participate in the event will have a memorable experience.
Third, the organizing committee is of the view that the hosting of this event in Winchester will act as a significant income generator, while ensuring the city achieves national and international exposure (Leonardsen, 2007). Lastly, there exist a real opportunity for the local population and delegates to facilitate and promote knowledge transfer by encouraging information sharing for the benefits of entrenching a lasting legacy for Winchester, particularly as a renowned heritage site.
Threats for Winchester
There has been ongoing speculation about a decline in public sector funding for the hosting of such events, mainly because of the current political and economic climate, as well as the channelling of investments elsewhere (Jackson, 2010).
This speculation has occasioned increased risk and uncertainty, particularly in relation to the issue of outlining funding decisions, and may impact negatively on the event organizers’ capacity to access finance from banks and other lending institutions for specific projects and developments.
Additionally, the widespread recognition by the international audience that the UK’s economy is on a downturn may impact negatively on Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture. Indeed, the current economic recession may translate into lost sponsorship deals for upcoming major international events.
Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis
The Porter’s 5 Forces model is one of the mostly used analytical frameworks in evaluating the competitive external environment with a view to understand the dynamics of the competitive structure in a particular sector or industry (Henry, 2008).
The five forces that determine the competitive nature and overall long-term profitability of the sector include: ‘threat of market entry by new entrants; threat of alternatives; bargaining power of buyers; bargaining power of suppliers, and; the extent of rivalry between existing competitors (Henry, 2008).
The decision to host the World Summit on Arts and Culture in a particular candidate city is ultimately made by IFACCA, implying that the international body cannot be evaluated against other bodies and agencies to determine the level of competitiveness since IFACCA operates a monopoly in announcing decisions on successful cities to host the event.
In terms of the competition faced by Winchester in ensuring that it is given the rights to host the 2017 edition of the event, the event organizers recognizes the presence of more developed and culture-centric cities bidding for the same event. To win the event, therefore, Winchester must develop the capacity to anticipate the moves made by the other candidate cities and also be conscious of the probability of having to compete with other new entrants for the rights to host the event.
The conference/convention owners also form a critical component of Winchester’s matrix in bidding for the event because these owners are perceived as the suppliers of the facilities that will facilitate the event. Consequently, the relationship established by these suppliers and the event organizers for Winchester’s bid will ultimately determine the success of the city in requesting for the rights to hold the event.
A Critical Review of the Key Success Factors for the Event
The evaluation done in the preceding sections of this bidding proposal identifies at least 5 success factors for Winchester’s bid to host the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture, namely: availability of modern conference facilities; solid foundation of public support for Winchester to pursue the bid to host the event; excellent record for handling a large influx of visitors/delegates to any kind of international event; excellent record of bidding for, and winning, the opportunity to host major international events, and; the presence of a target audience that values arts and culture.
In the availability of modern facilities, this analysis has demonstrated that Winchester has a number of modern conference centres fitted with the latest amenities, including round-the-clock broadband internet access, telephone facilities and accommodation.
The event owners, according to Swart & Bob (2004), must be fully satisfied that a candidate city has the necessary facilities and infrastructure before committing the bid to host the event to that city. The support of the local population is of immense importance in bidding to host an international event of this nature because of the fact that it is the public and visitors who are largely expected to consume the presentations made during the event, hence giving the event its economic and social dimension.
The UK has an outstanding record of handling a large influx of visitors/delegates to any kind of international event. This record may form the basis for consideration of Winchester to host the 2017 edition, particularly against the backdrop of ensuring the safety and security of delegates in a time when international terrorism is on the increase (Heslop et al, 2010).
Equally, the UK has an outstanding record of bidding for, and winning, the opportunity to host major international events, with a major hall mark being the hosting of the 2012 Olympics Games in London. The outstanding record of winning the rights to host major events implies that there are many examples of best practice that the bidding team for the 2017 event could draw upon to enhance their chances of success.
Lastly, the city prides itself of a huge following of artistic and cultural lovers, particularly due to its ageing population. This audience will greatly assist in bringing the material, economic and spiritual support needed for Winchester to win the bid for the hosting of the 2017 event.
An Analysis of Strategic Options Available to Ensure Successful Hosting
Based on a review of existing literature, the PESTLE analysis, the SWOT analysis and Porter’s 5 Forces analysis, the event organizers have identified two strategic priorities that need to be effectively addressed for Winchester city to succeed in its attempt to bid for the rights to hold the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture.
These priorities, which have been identified using the Ansoff’s Product/Market Matrix, bears some level of overlap as discussed below. These priorities, if well addressed, will form the basis for justifying why IFACCA should give the rights to hold the 2017 event to Winchester City.
It should be noted that the matrix is basically a tool that assists business entities to decide their product and market growth strategy guided by the assumption that the entity’s attempt to grow intrinsically depend on whether it market new or existing products/services in new or existing markets (Jackson, 2010).
Priority 1: Winchester aspires to become a world cultural and heritage site, and have some of the most exquisite locations to show in the whole of UK. The local population and the political base of the city readily identify with artistic and cultural-related activities and discourses as the city is usually evaluated under the lens of art and culture (Jackson, 2010).
The strategic priority, therefore, is to reinforce the already existing connections between the city and art/culture. This can be done using Ansoff’s growth strategy of market penetration by selling the existing artistic and cultural attractions to the local and international audience.
The hosting of the 2017 event will therefore act as a catalyst for the city to secure its dominance of being a world cultural city through the employment of various strategies, including the creation of awareness about the city and its product offerings, advertising, and increasing the number of people visiting the city.
Here, IFACCA is justified to give the rights to host the 2017 event to Winchester due to the city’s already existing reputation as a major world heritage site, a local population that readily identifies with artistic and cultural events, and a broad political support for the event.
Priority 2: Winchester city has a relatively good level of overlap between tourism and the hosting of important national and international events. However, it is generally felt that closer collaboration between these critical variable could serve as an important ingredient in leveraging substantial economic and social benefits for the city.
The strategic priority, therefore, is for the bidding team to come up with viable ways to bring all stakeholders on board in attempts aimed at marketing major tourist attractions in the city through the hosting of major events.
This can be successfully achieved using Ansoff’s concept of market development in that local stakeholders will be seeking to sell existing tourist attractions located in the city to new markets brought about by converging local people and international visitors into the city to participate in major events (Morden, 2007).
Here, Winchester is justified to receive the rights to host the 2017 summit due to its ability to come up with new and enticing tourist attractions, as well as new ways of repackaging the sites to ensure they leave a memorable experience to visitors.
Recommendations to Strategy Approach
The various analysis conducted in this bidding proposal have exposed a number of weaknesses that need to be addressed to reinforce Winchester’s chances of successfully bidding for the rights to host the 2017 World Summit on Art and Culture. To effectively deal with the issue of improving access to funding opportunities, the bidding team need to take contingency plans aimed at leveraging wider investment opportunities and identifying additional sources of funding rather than over relying on public funding streams.
For instance, the team could develop innovative funding models such as raffles and competitions to raise the capital needed to organize a successful bid.
To alter the public and the event owners’ perceptions about the ailing UK economy, the bid team, in conjunction with other interested stakeholders, could organize joint marketing initiatives on television and other communication mediums with the aim to portray the city as a place of resilient economic and cultural growth and regeneration driven by the presence of world-class cultural and heritage sites, as well as other major attractions such as a huge concentration of renowned public sector employers, including the University of Winchester (Hampshire County Council, 2011).
A strand of existing literature (Westerbeek et al, 2002; Martins & Sera, 2011) demonstrates that cities are increasingly bidding to host major international events due to the positive economic and social ramifications associated with these events. These events have also been positively correlated with rapid infrastructural development and identity and image building for the hosting cities (Swart & Bob, 2004).
To achieve these benefits, however, cities need to employ strategic management and decision-making tools to inform their bidding and hosting strengths and weaknesses, as well as to establish existing priorities that could be effectively used to capitalize on existing opportunities while attempting to alter the perceived threats into probable alternatives.
This bidding proposal concludes that Winchester City, Britain, has all what it takes to successfully bid for, and host, the 2017 World Summit on Arts and Culture. The justification for this conclusion is heavily derived on the various analyses undertaken in preceding sections of this document, as well as the analysis of critical success factors for Winchester/s bid.
While some analyses demonstrates the city’s innate strengths in holding the event, some critical success factors, such as the availability of modern conference facilities, public support for art and culture, and an excellent record for holding such international events, will inarguably influence IFACCA’s decision on which city is best suited to host the 2017 edition of the event. These factors are unique to Winchester, thus there is a predominant possibility that city is destined to win the rights to host the event.
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