Impact of a sports mega-event on the perception of the image of a tourist destination:

The case of the 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Given a changing global context, there is a need to understand if sports mega-events that are now often hosted by the BRICS countries can serve as a tool to improve their international perception as attractive tourist destinations. The study presented in the paper analyzes the perception of Russia and host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup by visiting fans. The problem was examined using the available secondary data, as well as empirical data obtained in the spring of 2021 by means of semi-structured interviews and survey methods. The study confirms that hosting of a sports mega-event affects the perception of the destination by its visitors. Organizing such an event encourages people to choose a location that has not been considered before and helps to dispel negative myths and stereotypes imposed by the media. The results also confirm that attending a sports mega-event may lead to an intention to revisit its venue. The results of the study are useful to an international audience, both academics and practitioners, including policy makers.

JEL classification: L83, M31, D12, P36.
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