Events image from the host-city residents’ perceptions: impacts on the overall city image and visit recommend intention

Cecília Lobo (Department of Economics Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Rui Augusto Costa (Department of Economics Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal and is full researchers at the Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), Aveiro University, Aveiro, Portugal)
Adriana Fumi Chim-Miki (Department of Management and Accounting, Federal University of Campina Grande, Campina Grande, Brazil and is full researchers at the Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), Aveiro University, Aveiro, Portugal)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 17 July 2023

Issue publication date: 22 November 2023

1835

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the effects of events image from host communities’ perspective on the city’s overall image and the intention to recommend the events and the city as a tourism destination.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used a bivariate data analysis based on Spearman’s correlation and regression analysis to determine useful variables to predict the intention to recommend the city as a tourism destination. Data collection was face-to-face and online with a non-probabilistic sample of Viseu city residents, the second largest city in the central region of Portugal.

Findings

The findings had implications for researchers, governments and stakeholders. From the resident’s point of view, there is a high correlation between the overall city image and the intention to recommend it as a tourism destination. Event image and the intention to recommend the event participation affect the overall city image. Results point out the resident as natural promoters of events and their city if the local events have an appeal that generates their participation. Conclusions indicated that cities need to re-thinking tourism from the citizen’s perspective as staycation is a grown option.

Originality/value

Event image by host-city residents’ perceptions is an underdevelopment theme in the literature, although residents’ participation is essential to the success of most events. Local events can promote tourist citizenship and reinforce the positioning of tourism destinations, associating them with an image of desirable places to visit and live.

Keywords

Citation

Lobo, C., Costa, R.A. and Chim-Miki, A.F. (2023), "Events image from the host-city residents’ perceptions: impacts on the overall city image and visit recommend intention", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 875-893. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-10-2022-0242

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Cecília Lobo, Rui Augusto Costa and Adriana Fumi Chim-Miki.

License

Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


1. Introduction

The festivals and other events are part of the resident life as active or passive participants (Gallarza, Saura, & García, 2002), as a worker, investors, organizers, hosts, volunteers or participants. Nevertheless, most events’ image studies and impacts are from the offer or demand viewpoint. Research on the effects of the events usually considers the host-city residents’ perceptions because they suffer the positive and negative event consequences (Al Hallaq, Ninov, & Dutt, 2021). Destination image usually focuses on external visitor satisfaction (Beerli & Martin, 2004) and event sustainability (Jones, 2017). Stylidis (2022) still highlighted the need for more evidence on how the interaction between residents and tourism shape destination image.

The city’s image and event destination image are underexplored themes from the host communities’ perspective (do Valle, Mendes, & Guerreiro, 2012), despite the resident participating in the city events and the growing staycation phenomenon. That is, vacationers create an environment like the traditional holiday, but at home or near home explore the local environment. Indeed, the economic viability of many events depends on the residents as a type of internal tourists and their word-to-mouth (Gallarza et al., 2002).

On the one hand, residents are an essential target audience for events because the success of some events depends on their participation. Events boost the city’s revenue and are often a tradition for most families (Bloom, Johnson, & Yurdakul, 2009). Derrett’s (2003) studies indicated that the community’s sense legitimizes the interest in festivals and community events shared by residents and visitors. These events can meet the needs of residents by contributing to protecting the natural environment and increasing social equality. On the other hand, residents are an attractive factor for tourists. According to Qin et al. (2021), the population’s customs, culture, hospitality and behaviour constitute essential components of tourism products.

Residents can assume many roles, including participants, hosts, investors, volunteers and community members. In this sense, the destination image from the resident’s viewpoint has high importance and has two main aspects, according to Gallarza et al. (2002). The first aspect concerns the resident’s image of their residence as a tourism destination compared to the tourist’s image of the place. Studies focus on this aspect as the “active role of residents” in studying the tourism destination image. The second aspect is that the local community also is an element of the tourism destination and its image. These aspects affect the residents’ interest in tourism and their support for the tourism industry and can affect tourists’ perception of the destination. Analysis based on this perspective is known as the “passive role of residents” in studying the tourism destination image.

Considering the local community is an essential stakeholder in regional and local tourism management, it is relevant to analyse what image the residents have of the city as a tourism destination as they can be the tourism promoters (Homsud & Promsaard, 2015). In this sense, our research has threefold objectives:

  • OBJ1: It verifies the image of the local events by host-city residents’ perceptions and their influence on the city’s overall image and the city’s recommendation intention.

  • OBJ2: It analyses the residents’ perceived image of local events and its influence on the intention to recommend city events’ participation.

  • OBJ3: It verifies the relation between local events, small-scale events and city recommendation intention.

To achieve these goals, we used data collected with a sample of 179 residents of Viseu city, in the central Portuguese region, as the tourism flow has grown in the town based on offers of cultural, gastronomic, festivals and small-scale events. Besides, the Municipal Tourism Office created a territorial Viseu brand to consolidate the city as a tourism destination.

Theoretically, this study contributes to comprehending destination image from residents’ perspective as few studies use this viewpoint. The implication to practitioners provides insights to improve the event tourism experience for residents and consequently improve the rate of city recommendation.

2. Literature review and research propositions

Tourism destination image has affective, cognitive and connotative variables (Pike & Ryan, 2004; Stylidis, 2022), which is essential for any destination to attract positive behaviour such as word-of-mouth, recommendations or revisiting intentions (Oshimi & Harada, 2019). There are many studies on destination image from the consumer’s perspective (Baloglu, 2000; Beerli & Martin, 2004; Tasci & Gartner, 2007); meanwhile, there are few studies on destination image from the resident’s perspective (Oshimi & Harada, 2019).

The tourism destination image can be different from the residents’ point of view generating internal conflicts. A tourism destination image transmitted externally that does not correspond to the reality witnessed by residents or a standardized image tends to create dissatisfaction, reducing residents’ role as tourism promoters and, consequently, the tourism destination development (Bandyopadhyay & Morais, 2005). Conversely, if the external and internal tourism destination image positively coincides, residents tend to support local policies for tourism development (Schroeder, 1996). Also, through cognitive and affective image perception, residents play an essential role in recommending the city as a destination through positive word-of-mouth among potential visitors, such as friends and family (Papadimitriou, Apostolopoulou, & Kaplanidou, 2015; Šegota, Chen, & Golja, 2022).

In event tourism destinations, the importance of the image from the resident’s perspective is accentuated as residents assume twofold roles: promoter of the events and potential participants. Events held in a tourist destination play a role in stimulating the tourism development of a region, enabling the offer of different experiences to visitors and being a strategic tool that generates competitive advantages, in addition to mitigating the problems of the seasonality of the tourism sector (Otoo, Ngwira, & Kankhuni, 2022). In addition, events can reinforce the positioning of a tourism destination and can be a source of attraction for visitors and new residents or investors (do Valle et al., 2012). Many communities focus on an event image, creating an agenda of local events and festivals to provide their resident’s leisure and cultural experiences and attract visitors (Gursoy, Kim, & Uysal, 2004).

The event image is a cognitive construction of a person or a group, which associates rational and affective representations of an event. Gwinner (1997) refer to the event image as the interpretative accumulation of meanings or associations attributed to events by consumers, therefore, the sum of their interpretations and perceptions. Tourism scholars, such as Walters & Insch (2018), point out several positive impacts that local events can shape the destination image from the resident perspective (Figure 1), for instance, a feeling of pride, social welfare, belongingness, economic benefits, motivation to staycation, promotion of values, local identity and ideologies (Getz, Andersson, & Carlsen, 2010).

Some events depend on residents as participants; thus, this is a context in which the destination image from the residents’ perspective can be primordial. Considering the previously exposed, we proposed a conceptual model of destination image by events (Figure 2).

Walters & Insch (2018) highlighted that the literature on the effects of smaller local community events on place branding needs more studies because sometimes a value-based event-led branding strategy is more appropriate and compatible with the goals of local stakeholders. Local events represent cultural opportunities, entertainment and recreation for residents and visitors, which according to Jepson, Stadler, & Spencer (2019), show the community’s well-being and habitability. Table 1 synthesizes the theoretical background of our proposition.

City image results from a process between the observer and the environment that creates public images as a collective mental representation shared by many of the city’s inhabitants. Pritchard and Morgan (1998) considered city image as a currency of cultures because it reflects and reinforces shared meanings, beliefs and value systems. Oshimi & Harada (2019) affirmed that events had become a valuable cultural currency, particularly on the city image effects. In this sense, many scholars investigated the impact of destination image (Hallmann & Breuer, 2010) or image change after event participation (King, Chen, & Funk, 2015).

Events are closely related to promoting culture for residents and tourists as they disseminate values, ideologies, identities and a sense of belonging to a community (Getz et al., 2010; Walters & Insch, 2018). The resident is vital to events, even though they often do not participate in the planning and, sometimes, they are not listening regarding assessing the impacts (Cárdenas, Meng, Hudson, & Thal, 2017). Wilson, Arshed, Shaw, & Pret (2017) highlighted that in most local festivals, the participants are predominantly residents, which confirms the community’s importance in forming the event’s image and success. Host communities’ attitudes and perceptions regarding tourism development and the impact of events could be harmful or positive. If the event generates economic benefits for the region, it creates a positive image and improves the citizen’s pride (Ouyang, Gursoy, & Sharma, 2017).

Indeed, tourism literature indicates that local events affect the daily lives of residents in many ways, generating different perceptions that vary both by the level of positive and negative effects, as well as by the characteristics of the population and the phase of the event (Al-Ansi & Han, 2019; Getz & Page, 2016). Thus, we proposed the following hypothesis:

H1.

There is a positive association between the event’s image and the city’s overall image from the resident’s perspective.

Gallarza et al. (2002) highlight that the local community also is an element of the tourism destination and its image. In the tourism literature, the studies based on this perspective consider the “passive role of residents” on the tourism destination image and include aspects that affect the residents’ interest and support for the tourism industry. According to Zucco, Reis, Anjos, Effting, & Pereira (2017), city branding is a tool to promote the destination externally and internally. It strengthens residents’ sense of belonging and pride in their culture and local attractions and connects them with events and festivals. Also, Zucco et al. (2017) highlighted that residents could be responsible for the city’s image formation. Homsud & Promsaard (2015) confirmed the relevance of analyzing the residents’ image of the city as a tourism destination because they can be promoters. Thus, based on cognitive and affective city image perception, residents play an essential role in recommending the city as a destination to visit through positive word-of-mouth among potential visitors, such as friends and family (Papadimitriou et al., 2015; Šegota et al., 2022). Thus, we propose that:

H2.

There is a positive association between the city’s overall image and the city recommendation intention by the residents.

Events are part of the city’s leisure offer to residents and tourists, especially in times of growing staycation due to COVID-19 and the economic crisis (Yan, Shen, & Hu, 2022). Staycation is like a traditional holiday but at home or near home, the vacationer uses the time to explore the local environment (Wixon, 2009). Yesawich (2010) considers staycations to involve a leisure trip within a 50-mile radius of their home. Due to the increasing popularity of staycations, cities and states are creating attractions to keep residents spending their money in the city instead of outside (James, Ravichandran, Chuang, & Bolden, 2017); thus, events become attractions to regional tourism, that is, for surrounding and city residents (Walters & Insch, 2018).

According to Godovykh & Ridderstaat (2020), tourism activities of interactions between tourists and residents generate positive emotions for both. However, residents support and participate more in events when they feel that the event benefits the city and them (Fiuza, Zucco, Añaña, & Sohn, 2020). González, Parra-Lopez, & Buhalis (2017) proved that positive perceptions generate community satisfaction and loyalty to an event. The recommendation and the desire to participate in activities stand out among the loyalty actions. Word-of-mouth is the most important concept of behavioural intentions and sometimes the first source for consumers’ purchase decisions (Turki & Amara, 2017). This same finding is in the study of Báez-Montenegro & Devesa-Fernández (2017) as the production of benefits directly affected the resident’s intention to repeat and recommend participation in the event. Resident participation in the event is an antecedent of perceived value, satisfaction, attachment to the place and tourist loyalty (Chiu et al., 2014). In marketing studies, the recommendation intention can be observed as loyalty indirectly measured in a conative stage, that is, related to the behavioural one. For the tourism sector, it represents a degree of loyalty to the destination or event that creates a willingness to recommend it. Therefore, if a local event generates satisfaction in the resident, it tends to trigger the connotative stage of loyalty and generate recommendations for other participants. Based on this assumption, we propose:

H3.

There is a positive association between the events image and the recommendation to attend the events.

Larson, Getz, and Pastras (2015) studied events like festivals and verified that residents consider legitime when they perceive positive roles in building culture and economy for their communities Derrett (2003). González et al. (2017) point out that tourists’ loyalty to a destination is related to some advantage or benefit. In turn, residents’ loyalty comes from cognitive, socio-affective and conative bonds associated with the intensity of the experiences in the place. Mesana, de Guzman, & Zerrudo (2021) explain that for residents, engagement is dependent on an event’s identity, image and general values; therefore, cultural events tend to be more approved by residents as they promote a sense of representativeness Derrett (2003).

According to Hall (1992), events can shape an image of the host community or country, conducting as a potential travel destination. Altunel & Erkurt (2015) defended that events are an essential attraction and tourism product for destinations; simultaneously, they can promote cultural and social life. Evaluation of events focuses on economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts, and residents support tourism development when the external and internal destination image is positive. According to Jafari (2008) and Walters & Insch (2018), events reinforce the positioning of tourism destinations, associating them with an image of desirable places to visit and live. These assumptions support the following proposition:

H4.

There is a positive association between event recommendation and city recommendation.

Akgunduz & Coşar (2018) indicated that event attendees are motivated by regional attractiveness and entertainment, which affects their intention to revisit and recommend. Along the same line, Kozak (2002) considered the variety of products and the destination’s attractiveness as push and pull factors of the tourism destination. In the context of events, the local community is among the participants, and they are under several impacts of tourism that influence its evaluation (Fiuza et al., 2020).

Negative impacts can discourage the resident from participating in the event activities and conduct them to spread negative news and not encourage the participation of other people. However, González et al. (2017) point out that if the residents have positive perceptions and feel benefited (directly or indirectly) by the event, they demonstrate a greater sense of quality and satisfaction with life in your city. In this case, they tend to show loyalty actions, such as recommending the place, propagating positive things and desire to participate in activities. Based on these approaches, we formulate the following proposition:

H5.

There is a positive association between the event image and the recommendation of the city.

3. Methodology

3.1 Setting

Viseu is the second largest city in the central region of Portugal. It is located south of the Douro River and has a strategic position at the same distance from the coast and the countryside. The Municipal Tourism Office created a Viseu brand by associating territorial marketing and tourism destination. The city stands out due to its architectural complex known as “Architecture of Faith”, the gastronomy and wines that give it the titles of “Vinhateira City” and “Viseu capital of the Dão lands”, referring to the production of Dão wine. Viseu is a heritage and wine-growing city with architecture that mixes the Roman style and well-ornamented gardens, giving it the title of the garden city. It is crossed by the rivers Vouga, Dão and Paiva and surrounded by Serra do Caramulo, Serra da Lousã and Serra da Estrela, among many others, one in each quadrant of the compass. Due to its location, nature, SPAs and waters, Viseu is also recognized as a place that helps to recover health. Besides, Viseu has an essential agenda of cultural events focused on traditions, gastronomy, arts and festivals that strengthen the city’s brand. Tourism flow has grown in the city based on the cultural, gastronomic and events offered, especially the small-scale events and festivals.

3.2 Data collection

The sampling was non-probabilistic and intentional with residents older than 18 in Viseu city. Questionnaires were administered in strategic locations, such as the historic centre, local businesses and event surroundings, as well as in random places in the city, to ensure a representative sample of Viseu residents. Complementary, we used online questionnaires on social media in Viseu residents’ Facebook groups. Data collection occurred in March to June 2022. In both face-to-face and online, the first item was a filter question to guarantee that only residents of Viseu city answered the questionnaire.

The questionnaire contained three sections. Firstly, questions related to the image of Viseu as a tourist destination and the intention to recommend the city. Section 2 asked about resident participation in the main Viseu events, questions to evaluate the image event by attributes and intention to recommend the city events; finally, the last section had questions on vacation habits and sociodemographic issues. We conducted a pre-test with three tourism professionals to verify the face validity; that is, they confirmed the adequacy of the variable to the model and the clarity of the statement in the questionnaire. Face validity results enhanced the questionnaire. In the sequence, we did a pre-test with five Viseu residents, which generated small changes in the questions to adapt to the local vocabulary.

The sample was 179 participants; 63.9% responded online through social media of residents’ communities and 36.1% face-to-face. The sample size was significant compared to the analysed universe, which is a small city. Considering the formula for estimating proportions of finite populations, our error margin, where p and q equal 50%, was 7.32%. In addition, the sample size attends the indications of Hair et al. (2009) with at least five respondents per item on the scale. Table 2 reports the main sample sociodemographic characteristics.

3.3 Data analysis method

The research used a quantitative methodology based on bivariate data analysis based on Spearman’s correlation and regression analysis assumptions to verify the association between variables. Also, we used a regression analysis using the recommendation of Viseu city as the dependent variable and the set of predictors – event recommendation, event image and overall city image – as the independent variables. This set of techniques is proper to determine what variables help predict the intention to recommend the city as a tourism destination.

The regression method analyses the simultaneous influence of independent variables, considered predictors, on a dependent variable (Hair, 2011). This method allows for testing our research hypotheses, defining the relationship between the image of events from residents’ perspectives and the influence on the city’s recommendation as a tourist destination. The scales were adapted from the literature, as shown in Table 2.

We verified Cronbach’s alpha (α) to confirm the adequate choice of variables, guaranteeing the reliability of the scales. The results presented α = 0.855–0.945, thus ensuring the variables in the determinants represent what is intended to be measured. According to Christmann and Van Aelst (2006), Cronbach’s alpha evaluates the internal consistency of the questionnaires, i.e. measures the reliability of the set, with the minimum acceptable value being 0.70.

4. Analysis of results

This study focuses on the resident’s view of Viseu as a tourism destination and the resident as the target audience of the events. Thus, the first analysis is the profile of the interviewees regarding their vacation habits and motivations. Almost half of the respondents (46.1%) indicated staycation is usually. A total of 13.3% always stay in Viseu during vacation, 28.9% staycation sometimes and only 11.7% travelled during holidays. An opened-question asked the respondent about reasons for staying in Viseu on vacation. The most frequent reasons were “it is my place of residence”, “personal reasons”, “I like the city and its surroundings”, “for discovering new places in the city” and “financial reasons”.

The COVID-19 pandemic probably accentuated staycation, but it is not a phenomenon only due to the lockdown. Scholars pointed out that staycations started to increase in 2008 due to economic crisis and continuous growth (Yan et al., 2022). In Portugal, the lockdown intensified this habit and the rates continue to grow. According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), data on Portuguese tourism demand for 2022 registered growing in the overnight stays of residents in all Portuguese regions compared to 2019. These results showed that Viseu residents seek low-cost vacations with their families and want to know their city and surroundings (Table 3).

Most respondents considered the Viseu events “adequate” (47.8%), 49 respondents (27.3%) responded that the events are “totally adequate”, and 5.0% considered it “not at all adequate” and “not very adequate”. These results indicated that the residents approved city events as adequate to the image of Viseu (Table 4). Consequently, they consider the events adequate to the city’s tourism capacity and cultural identity.

Regarding residents’ participation in the city events, we asked about 12 consolidated local small-scale events (Table 4). On average, 45% of respondents attend Viseu events, 23% sometimes, 12% rarely and 17% never or seldom participate in city events. The results showed a significant presence of residents at city events and confirmed previous assumptions that residents are an essential target audience for the success of events (Bloom et al., 2009).

Our sampling was non-probabilistic and intentional since it considered residents of Viseu city older than 18. Data were collected in different city areas. Therefore, we avoided sampling bias because all population members had the same probability of being part of the sample. We also avoided the selection bias that mainly addresses internal validity for differences or similarities in the sample. In our sample, approximately 46% of the respondents participated actively in city events, 25% sometimes and 29% rarely/never. Regarding staycations, the sample showed 46% as frequent and 13% as always. These values did not represent a selection bias in our research because, in Portugal, approximately 50% of leisure and vacation travel is around the resident region, according to the Portuguese INE (INE, 2021).

The question asking what typology of events is more adequate to Viseu city presented options of events, and the answers followed an agreement scale with 1 – disagree and 5 – strongly agree. The typologies were cultural and recreative celebrations (festivals, religious and historical festivals); art and entertainment (concerts, award ceremonies, etc.); educational and scientific (conferences, seminars, etc.); sports competitions; recreational activities; and businesses and fairs. The results indicated that, from the residents’ perspective, recreational activities and events should be prioritized (85.9% of respondents). In the second position were events of business and fairs, with 82.2%, and, in the third position, with 78.9%, residents indicated educational and scientific events.

These results align with the literature on two topics. Firstly, according to Getz et al. (2010), most small-scale events are based on the local culture; secondly, when the event promotes values, ideologies and identities and produces a sense of belonging, the community legitimizes them (Larson, Getz, and Pastras, 2015).

Four dimensions grouped 20 attributes to characterize the city’s image according to residents’ viewpoints (Table 5), namely, natural environment (V5), general touristic infrastructure (V9), city’s tourism offers (18) and urban environment (24). The respondents evaluated the variables through a five-point Likert agreement scale, where 1 strongly disagrees and 5 strongly agrees with the destination image attributes. Regarding the global image of Viseu city, the evaluation considered 1 – very negative and 5 – very positive. In turn, the scale for the intention to recommend Viseu city as a tourism destination considered 1 as definitely-no and 5 as definitely-yes.

Viseu residents imputed higher scores for the urban environment, emphasizing the hospitality, safe and family-friendly city. The natural environment, tourism infrastructure and touristic offer obtained similar average scores (between 3.8 and 3.9), underlining the historical heritage, culture, traditions and gastronomy (Table 5). These items represent an essential basis for events and festival tourism. As highlighted by Getz et al. (2010), most events are closely related to promoting culture. The global image of Viseu city achieved an average of 4.1, and the respondents indicated a high score for intention to recommend Viseu city with an average of 4.3 and mode of 5. The standard deviation in all variables was low, indicating a high degree of concordance among respondents (Table 5).

The image of Viseu events considered 16 attributes evaluated according to the intensity scale (1 – low intensity and 5 – strong intensity). The results showed that 14 attributes had positive connotations and two negative connotations. The highest event attribute, according to respondents, was the “Allows socializing among residents”, with 80% of responses in rankings 4 and 5. The second position was “Produce a sense of pride in residents” as 74.4% of respondents considered the ranking 4 or 5. The “Family activity” attribute achieved the third position with 72.8% accumulated in the same rankings. The attribute “Promote the local culture” reaches a close percentage of 72.2% (Table 6). These findings corroborated the assumptions of Bloom et al. (2009) regarding events as often a tradition for most families.

In resume, the variable event image (A29 = 3.9) aggregates four dimensions, namely, event evaluation (A16), event agenda (A22), event representativeness (A27) and event attending (A28). The set expresses the image that Viseu residents have of the city events. The evaluation event (A16 = 3.7) was verified by 14 positive indicators and one reverse indicator (A15 = chaos and traffic). Table 6 shows the results of A15 on a reverse scale. All variables have similar rankings and are above the average scale; thus, residents imputed good values to the attributes of Viseu events. Also, results point out an adequate agenda of events in the city according to the resident’s perspective (A22 = 4.2), as well, as they considered themselves as promoters and targets of the city events and they have pride and belonging sense (event representativeness A27 = 4.0).

Our results highlighted the aspects of Gallarza et al. (2002). Firstly, what image the residents have of their place as a tourism destination; secondly, the “active role of residents” in the tourism destination image; thirdly, the local community as an element of the tourism destination and its image; and finally, the “passive role of residents” in the study of the tourism destination image.

All variables had similar rankings, above the average scale. Thus, residents imputed good values to the attributes of Viseu events. Also, the results point out an adequate agenda of events in the city according to the resident’s perspectives. They considered themselves promoters and targets of the city events and felt proud and belonging. Therefore, they support the city’s strategies for tourism development and city promotion. That are essential findings for Viseu managers because the local community is a stakeholder in regional tourism management, and they can be tourism promoters (Homsud & Promsaard, 2015). Our results (Table 6) indicated that residents have a high intention to recommend attending Viseu events (A30 = 4.1), as well as the intention to recommend Viseu as a tourism destination (A31 = 4.2).

4.1 Correlation analysis: hypothesis tests

We tested the bivariate sets of potential explanatory variables, and the results were statistically significant according to correlation and regression analysis. Thus, all hypothesis was confirmed. The Durbin–Watson test did not indicate autocorrelation as all values were in the acceptable range (1–3), and the p-values were 0.000 (Table 7). The analysis was performed using the SPSS software.

From the resident perspective, there is a high correlation between the overall image and the intention to recommend the city as a tourism destination (H1; B = 0.738). The results also indicate a high correlation between the variables of H4. That is, the higher the intention to recommend participation in the city’s events, the higher the intention to recommend it as a tourism destination (B = 0.874). H1, H3 and H5 also have positive results but lower correlations, all resulting from the image of events in the city from the resident perspective. The event image positively impacted the city’s overall image but to a lesser extent (B = 0.380). Thus, image events have a median impact on the intention to recommend the city (H5, B = 0.499). However, H3 found that the image of events impacts the recommendation of events (B = 0.527); therefore, it indirectly will affect city recommendation, as seen in H4. In summary, all these determinants are potential explanatory variables for the word-of-mouth advertising by Viseu residents, i.e. their intention to recommend the city.

To complement our analysis, we performed another test to verify the predictive strength of the three variables together: event image, intention to recommend the events and overall city image on the intention to recommend the city as a tourism destination. Multiple regression results indicated that 60% of the total variance is explained by this set of variables, R = 0.773, with an adjusted R2 of 0.597. These values are located within the interval, which considers an average degree of adjustment of the regression line of ordinary least squares (Wooldridge, 2005). The Durbin–Watson test indicated 1,951 within the acceptable range (1–3), and the p-value was 0.000 (Table 8).

The variance inflation factor indexes did not denote multi-collinearity as they presented values below 10, as Field (2005) suggested. Also, according to the Cook–Weisberg test, there is no heteroskedasticity in the sample. Considering the results, the model has explanatory power and may support the proposition of more complex models for understanding the effects of the event image from the resident’s perspective. That means the tourism destinations can obtain better recommendations if they improve their event image, overall city image and the level of intention to recommend participation in the city events.

5. Conclusions

Despite much research showing that events reinforce the positioning of tourism destinations improving the city’s image as a desirable place to visit and live, as highlighted by Derrett (2003) and Jepson & Stadler (2017), there is a research gap on this topic from the resident perspective. The crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to staycation and domestic tourism growth; thus, events achieved more prominence in the citizen’s agenda. Therefore, it becomes more necessary for studies to understand the impact of event image on the city image and the intention to recommend both event participation and city visit. To Viseu city, it is an essential issue as staycation is a habit of approximately 50% of its residents, according to our results. Beyond personal reasons, the place attachment and its environment stand in the reasons mentioned by the respondents.

Thus, we seek to minimize the research gaps on events from the resident’s perspective by verifying the event’s image of Viseu city and its influence on its overall image, city recommendation and event recommendation. In addition, we analysed the city’s overall image and event recommendation’s effects on the city recommendation from the resident’s viewpoint. A positive event image by the residents is essential, as success depends on their participation, and the events increase tourism competitiveness (Altunel & Erkurt, 2015; Wilson et al., 2017; Zucco et al., 2017). Our analysis considered small-scale events that have the potential to attract visitors but much more potential for the locals since enhancing the community its values and traditional and local heritage. The result is a favourable events evaluation from residents and generates positive word-of-mouth among potential visitors, such as friends and family (Papadimitriou et al., 2015; Turki & Amara, 2017). We divided our findings into the implications for the researchers, government and stakeholders.

5.1 Implications to researchers

For researchers, our findings indicate that the city’s recommendation intention as a tourism destination has two significant factors from the residents’ perspective, one derived from the city’s overall image and the other from the recommendation of participation in city events. In turn, the image of city events impacts the intention to recommend event participation and the city’s overall image. Therefore, residents’ image of the events in their town is a key factor for tourism development, side by side with the well-known elements of tourism destination competitiveness. Although it is difficult to point to generalizations, our sample size reached the rule of five respondents per question, and the scales and results showed reliability and validity. Thus, we can point to a trend of the findings for similar contexts of small towns with small-scale event agendas, i.e. local events.

Image of the events from the resident’s perspective is generated by the event’s attributes, the local culture representation and the city’s events agenda, which induce citizens to participate actively and passively as they feel their cultural and social identity is valued. Therefore, the collective image of the events comes from the event attributes, the level of representation, the agenda of events offered and the residents’ level of participation. These factors directly influence the intention to recommend event participation, whether for external audiences or other residents. These findings align with the literature that highlighted promoting culture, values and identity as essential to produce a sense of belonging, participation and event support among residents (Getz et al., 2010; Cárdenas et al., 2017; Mesana et al., 2021).

We concluded that the image of events from the resident’s perspective is a formative dimension of the total image of the city as a tourism destination. Our findings aligned with Gallarza et al. (2002) as the residents have the roles of participants, hosts and community members impacted. That means the active and passive roles of residents. The resident’s city image as a tourism destination results from a process between the observer and the environment creating a collective mental representation shared by many of the city’s inhabitants (Pritchard & Morgan, 1998). In this sense, the image of events from the residents’ perspective is, according to Oshimi & Harada (2019), a valuable cultural currency that affects the city’s image.

5.2 Implications to stakeholders and governments

On the one hand, our findings produced insights for any city’s governments; on the other hand, they are specific implications for the Viseu city government. To any city, the higher the level of event recommendations, the higher the recommendation level of the city as a tourism destination. Therefore, tourism destination managers should focus on improving the image of events with the resident to ensure efficient and free destination word-of-mouth advertising. In particular, managers should improve some event characteristics important for residents, such as producing a sense of pride through promoting local culture, allowing socializing among residents, being adequate for young and seniors, family activity and offering affordable prices. Our findings indicated that the resident could be a natural promoter of events and the city if the events have an appeal that generates their participation. This context leads to support for tourism and consequently inclusive, society-centred economic development, as the citizen actively participates in the tourism offer.

We highlight some practical implications for Viseu city from our results. There is a high staycation level among the Viseu residents (50%), but the event participation level can be improved as general resident’s average attendance was 3.2. The literature indicates smaller, local community events are a good strategy for the city brand and can improve resident’s quality of life (Walters & Insch, 2018; Jepson et al., 2019); however, our results indicate the staycation of Viseu residents is not motivated by city events. Viseu’s government should invest more in popular festivals and fairs and promote a community’s sense of local events. According to Larson, Getz, and Pastras (2015), the legitimacy of festivals among residents is related to a positive perception of building culture and economy for their communities, as well as the presence of cognitive socio-affective and conative bonds in the place experiences (González et al., 2017).

The resident of Viseu has a high city overall image (4.1). Nevertheless, the highest score was for the urban environment dimension and the smallest was for the natural environment and tourism offer. Therefore, considering that many residents stay in Viseu during their vacations, the municipal manager must improve the leisure offered to residents and invest in outdoor activities, taking advantage of the local nature. Thus, municipalities will provide a better quality of life and tourism citizenship. At the same time, it improves the city’s global image and its level of recommendation as a tourism destination.

Our study also provided implications to all stakeholders. Local events can show the community’s well-being and habitability, as highlighted by Stadler and Spencer (2019); also, they become an activity of leisure and motivation for a staycation. In this sense, they can even improve citizens’ quality of life, promoting tourist citizenship. The practical implications for Viseu city are helpful for any city that has a small-scale events agenda. The most outstanding contribution of our research is highlighting this double path: the resident’s role as natural promoters of events and the city and the event’s role as enhancing the city’s image and providing better leisure opportunities for residents and visitors. This twofold path showed cities need re-thinking tourism from the citizen’s perspective to accomplish tourism its social side, generating citizens’ quality of life and having events play a central role in this context.

5.3 Limitations and further research

Although the respondents knew about the events of Viseu city before the pandemic, carrying out research on this topic in the post-pandemic period was a limitation of this research. The sample size was also a limiting factor. Therefore, we recommend more research in the city and expanding to other cities to draw comparative findings that can generalize the results and model. Also, further research can use confirmatory multi-variate statistics with the sets of potential explanatory variables pointed out by the correlation and regression analysis as a second step towards an explanatory model for event images from the resident’s perspective.

Figures

Event impacts from the resident’s perspective

Figure 1

Event impacts from the resident’s perspective

Conceptual model of city recommendation intention by event image

Figure 2

Conceptual model of city recommendation intention by event image

Theoretical model background

Determinant/variables Goal Main authors
City’s overall image
  • Natural environment

  • General touristic infrastructure

  • City offers

  • Urban environment

To analyse the perceptions about the city attributes as a tourism destination through cognitive items and global image del Bosque & Martin (2007), Deng, Li, & Shen (2015), Echtner & Ritchie (1993), Beerli & Martíns (2004), King et al. (2015), Tasci & Gwinner (1997), Jepson et al. (2019), Zucco et al. (2017)
Event image
  • Event evaluation

  • Event attending

  • Representativeness

  • Event agenda

To identify the overall city events image from the resident perspective, including the level of participation, adequacy of the event’s agenda, representativeness of the local culture and resident’s support for events Deng et al. (2015), Ragheb & Tate (1993), Gwinner (1997), do Valle et al. (2012), Getz et al. (2010), Gallarza et al. (2002), Chiu et al. (2014), Walters & Insch (2018), Jepson & Stadler (2017), Derrett (2003)
City recommendation intention To verify the intention to recommend the city as tourism destination Altunel & Erkurt (2015), Baloglu (2000), Šegota et al. (2022)
Event recommendation To verify the intention to recommend attending city events do Valle et al. (2012), Akgunduz & Coşar (2018), Walters & Insch (2018)

Source: Authors’ own creation

Sociodemographic characteristics of the sample

Characteristic N Frequency (%)
Gender
Female 124 69
Male 55 31
Age (years)
18–24 56 31.1
25–54 108 60.5
55–79 14 7.7
>80 1 0.7
Educational
Elementary 17 9.5
Qualification
Secondary 63 35
>College 99 55.5
Income level (€)
<600 54 30.4
600–850 69 38.5
851–1,100 28 14.9
1,101–1,350 17 9.8
1,351–1,600 5 2.9
1,601–1,850 2 1.1
>1,851 4 2.4
Occupation
Student 34 19.0
Jobless 8 4.5
Self-employed 13 7.3
Retired 4 2.2
Employees 120 67.0

Source: Authors’ own creation

Vacation habits of Viseu residents

Staycation N F Motives (opened question) Frequency
Financial motives 20
Frequently 83 46.1% Local of residence 38
Sometimes 52 28.9% Staycation Personal motives 29
Always 24 13.3% Family motives 18
Never 20 11.7% City’s attractive leisure activities 5
Respondents N = 179 Like the city and its surroundings 25
To discover new places in the city 22
Events and entertainment in the city 4
Partial vacation in the city 5
Variety of the tourism offer 3
No reason 10

Source: Authors’ own creation

Resident attending Viseu events

Never Rarely Some times Often Always
Event name Type and scale % % % % %
Semana Santa Local religious event – small-scale 36.0 14.0 22.1 22.1 5.1
Tons de Primavera Street art festival – small-scale cultural event 16.6 12.4 34.5 25.5 10.3
Festas populares A series of cultural events towards local traditions and identity – small-scale events 12.0 10.2 29.9 34.7 18.6
Europeade European folklore festival – cultural medium-scale event 19.4 14.4 23.0 30.2 12.9
Jardins Efémeros Festival of exploratory arts – small-scale cultural event 9.0 10.2 21.0 35.3 22.2
Festival de Jazz Musical event – small-scale cultural event 27.3 11.4 26.5 25.8 6.8
Feira de São Mateus Traditional Portuguese fair (art, music and gastronomy) –- medium-scale event 2.3 2.9 9.1 21.1 62.3
Feira das Vindimas Celebration of the Dão wine town identity – cultural (gastronomic and winery small-scale event) 17.8 12.6 28.1 29.6 11.1
Outono Quente Arts community meeting (music, theater, new circus, traditional dances, photography, literature, therapies, conversations) – small-scale event 26.3 16.5 22.6 24.8 9.8
Viseu Natal Cultural and religious small-scale events 6.2 13.0 19.3 36.3 23.0
Passagem do ano Cultural small-scale event 12.3 13.4 24.0 20.1 14.5
Vinhos de Inverno e Festival Literário “Tinto no Branco” Enotourism and gastronomy event jointly to cultural small-scale events 26.6 14.1 25.8 18.8 14.1
Resident’s average attending 17.1 12.1 23.8 27.1 17.6
General resident’s average attending 3.2

Source: Authors’ own creation

Destination image from Viseu resident point view by attributes

Attributes of global image by dimensions
(Alfa de Cronbach = 0.945)
Average Mode SD
V5 Nat_Env Natural environment (α = 0.912) 3.8
V1 Attractive belvederes 3.0 3.0 1.0032
V2 Beautiful surroundings and landscapes 4.0 4.0 0.9144
V3 Pleasant natural parks 4.0 5.0 1.0530
V4 Quality of green areas 4.0 5.0 1.0320
V9 T_Infra General touristic infrastructure (α = 0.882) 3.9
V6 Quality of tourism accommodation services 3.7 4.0 1.0024
V7 Quality of catering services 4.0 4.0 0.9708
V8 Diversity of offers of shopping centres and stores 3.9 4.0 1.0026
V18 City_offers City’s tourism offers (α = 0.855) 3.8
V10 Plentiful traditions 4.5 5.0 0.9754
V11 Plentiful cultural offer 3.8 4.0 0.9602
V12 Interesting historical and cultural heritage 4.0 4.0 0.9707
V13 Plentiful in touristic activities 3.5 4.0 1.0094
V14 Quality of gastronomy, wine and local products 4.3 5.0 0.9983
V15 Interesting events and festivals 3.8 4.0 0.9837
V16 Entertainment and nightlife offer 3.6 4.0 1.1512
V17 Adequate quality-price ratio 3.7 4.0 1.1561
V24 Urban_Env Urban environment (α = 0.926) 4.3
V19 Clean and tidy public spaces 4.1 4.0 0.87825
V20 Safe city 4.3 5.0 0.81712
V21 Peaceful city 4.3 5.0 0.83427
V22 Family-friendly city 4.5 5.0 0.77380
V23 Hospitality and friendliness of the residents 4.3 5.0 0.84859
V25 G_Image Global image of Viseu city 4.1 4.0 0.70150
V26 Recom_City Intention to recommend Viseu city as a tourism destination 4.3 5.0 0.81982
*N = 179

Source: Authors’ own creation

Viseu events image

Event image by attributes
(Alfa de Cronbach = 0.950)
Average SD
A16 Event_Evaluation (α = 0.945) 3.7
A1 Entertainment offering 3.7 1.00316
A2 Organization efficacy 3.6 0.91439
A3 Promote the local culture 3.9 1.05337
A4 Innovativeness 3.5 1.03197
A5 Produce a sense of pride in residents 4.0 1.00241
A6 Allows socializing among residents 4.1 0.97076
A7 Adequate for young 3.8 1.00260
A8 Adequate for seniors 3.8 0.97541
A9 Family activity 3.9 0.96020
A10 Differentiation 3.4 0.97073
A11 Welcoming environment 3.8 1.00937
A12 Affordable prices 3.5 0.99833
A13 Interesting thematic 3.6 0.98372
A14 Adequate information about the event 3.2 1.15125
A15 Create chaos and traffic (reverse indicator) 3.4 1.15613
A22 Event_agenda (α = 0.922) 4.1
A17 …is important to generate tourism notoriety 4.2 1.02027
A18 … contributes to a positive and differentiated city image in comparison to another city 4.1 1.01665
A19 … is a tool for tourism promotion at the national level 4.2 1.00352
A20 … is a tool for tourism promotion at the international level 3.9 1.12355
A21 … is adequate for the city’s image 3.9 0.96180
A27 Event representativeness (α = 0.865) 4.0
A23 Viseu residents are an important tool to capture visitors to Viseu by the mouth-to-mouth 4.2 0.95881
A24 Residents are an important and main target of Viseu events 4.2 1.01933
A25 Viseu events make me proud and belonging 3.8 1.13111
A26 I support the city strategies for tourism development and city promotion 3.9 1.13222
A28 Resident’s event attending 4.0
A29 Overall Viseu events image 3.9
A30 Intention to recommend attending Viseu events 4.1
A31 Intention to recommend Viseu as tourism destination 4.2

Source: Authors’ own creation

Results of bivariate data analysis – regression

Regression B coefficient Std error t Sig. Durbin–Watson
H1: Events_image → City’s overall image 0.380* 0.6544 5.459 0.000 2.223
H2: City’s overall image → City recommendation_intention 0.738* 0.4748 14.624 0.000 2.127
H3: Events_image →Event_recommendation 0.527* 0.8482 8.241 0.000 2.366
H4: Event_recommendation → City recommendation_intention 0.874* 0.4849 23.923 0.000 2.108
H5: Events image → City recommendation_intention 0.499* 0.6587 7.660 0.000 2.074
Notes:

*The correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two ends) N = 179

Source: Authors’ own creation

Regression analysis of intention to recommend Viseu as tourism destination

R Erro padrão da estimativa Estatísticas de mudança Durbin–Watson
R² adjusted Alteração F df1 df2 Sig. Alteração F
0.773ª 0.52687 0.597 86.328 3 175 0.000 1.951
Notes:

aPredictors = (Constante); Recom_Events, G_Image; Overall event image

Dependent variable = Recom_City

Source: Authors’ own creation

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Further reading

Alexander, A. C., Lee, K. H., & Kim, D. Y. (2011). Determinants of visitor’s overnight stay in local food festivals: An exploration of staycation concept and its relation to the origin of visitors. Proceedings of the 16th Annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Conference in Hospitality & Tourism.

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Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (UIDB/04058/2020) + (UIDP/04058/2020), funded by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and financially supported by the National Council for Scientific Research and Technological Development (CNPq) of Brazil through Productivity Grant (PQ) at CNPq Call No. 4/2021. The authors thank these institutions for their research support.

Corresponding author

Rui Augusto Costa can be contacted at: rui.costa@ua.pt

About the authors

Cecília Lobo is based at the Department of Economics Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.

Rui Augusto Costa is based at the Department of Economics Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal and is full researchers at the Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), Aveiro University, Aveiro, Portugal.

Adriana Fumi Chim-Miki is based at the Department of Management and Accounting, Federal University of Campina Grande, Campina Grande, Brazil and is full researchers at the Research Unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP), Aveiro University, Aveiro, Portugal.

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