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Christmas markets in city centers: how do they impact local residents and businesses?

István O. Egresi (Department of Human Geography and Tourism, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Bianca Sorina Răcăşan (Department of Human Geography and Tourism, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Stefan Dezsi (Department of Human Geography and Tourism, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Marin Ilieş (Faculty of Geography, Sighetu-Marmatiei Extension, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Gabriela Ilieş (Faculty of Geography, Sighetu-Marmatiei Extension, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 21 September 2020

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021

249

Abstract

Purpose

Christmas markets have more recently become important tourist attractions in Europe. The purpose of this study is to understand how does this recurring event impact local businesses and residents. The research focuses on the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used both quantitative and qualitative methods. First, a survey was conducted with local residents to evaluate the impact of the Christmas market on the local community. Residents’ perception of social impacts was ascertained by using a five-point Likert scale. The data collected was then processed using the SPSS software. Second, to assess the impact of the Christmas market on the businesses located in the city’s historic central square, semi-structured interviews with managers and front-line employees were conducted. In total, 21 people were interviewed for this study. The interviews were then transcribed, and the content analysis was applied to the textual data.

Findings

The study found that both residents and local businesses have a positive attitude toward the Christmas market. The only negative impact, identified by a segment of the population and some companies, was crowding of public spaces (including parking problems and traffic jams).

Originality/value

This study is novel in that, with one exception, there are no studies on the community impacts of Christmas markets. Moreover, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study on Christmas markets in Romania and one of the very few in Eastern Europe.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank to all the students who assisted with the questionnaires.

Citation

Egresi, I.O., Răcăşan, B.S., Dezsi, S., Ilieş, M. and Ilieş, G. (2021), "Christmas markets in city centers: how do they impact local residents and businesses?", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 391-409. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-03-2020-0040

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, International Tourism Studies Association.

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