Cultural events for a sustainable tourism development in urban destinations: the case of Milan’s week

  • Francesca d'Angella
  • Martha Friel
  • Angelo Miglietta
  • Ruggero Sainaghi
Keywords: sustainability; micro-medium cultural events; seasonality; tourism destination


Purpose of the paper: The aim of this paper is to explore the effects generated by a suite of cultural micro-medium events in an urban destination on both hotels’ performance and the seasonality structure in order to promote sustainable tourism development.

Methodology: The empirical analysis uses a mixed method that combines a quantitative analysis of the daily performance of a destination with a desk analysis of press interviews to local stakeholders.

Findings: The results highlight a positive contribution of cultural micro-medium events to tourism at the destination. This evidence contributes to the academic debate on strategic event management by shedding light on the potential role of minor cultural events as a driver for sustainable tourism development.

Practical implications: This study suggests guidelines to destination managers on how to benefit from micro-medium cultural events: a strong connection with the destination’s vocations, the importance of public-private collaboration and the establishment of a portfolio of recurrent events.

Limitations of the research: This explorative study presents two main limitations: the authors cannot exclude that other small events were taking place in the city at the same time as the micro-medium cultural events analysed. Secondly, several of the events studied are recent and therefore their impact on the destination could be underestimated.

Originality of the paper: During the last decades, the managerial literature has been devoting considerable attention to the role and the benefits generated by events. However, the main focus of these studies has been on large and mega events while little consideration has been dedicated to smaller events which are widespread, recurrent and relatively easier to manage.


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