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Escaping from the event?
A new perspective on Christmas markets in Northern Italy

Global change impacts the everyday life and our way of living, whereby tourism often plays a central role. The rising competition between tourism destinations forces them to constantly create new offerings and products in order to attract visitors.

In this context, tourism has a special influence also on culture and traditions, by changing, reviving and/or staging cultural events, such as Christmas markets. It can be noticed that they changed their meaning over time and became also a global event and in some places, like South Tyrol, also a promising strategy to extend the tourism season.

In a research project on Christmas markets in South Tyrol with a special focus on the case of Merano-Meran, our researchers Anja Marcher, Greta Erschbamer and the head of center, Harald Pechlaner, explored the change of Christmas markets on a global and a local level. Culture is in a constant change and therefore also the meaning of Christmas became more diversified, where the perception of inhabitants becomes a central element of the discussion. Qualitative interviews with residents of Merano-Meran expored the meaning of Christmas markets for the locals and the impact of increasing numbers of visitors.

The results give insights into aspects of the events' authenticity, show a shift to less commercial settings in rural areas, and highlight also some negative impacts.

The results were presented in the following paper:

Marcher, Erschbamer and Pechlaner (2019), Escaping from the event? Residents' perception of Christmas markets in Northern Italy. Event Management, 23(4) https://doi.org/10.3727/152599519X15506259855715.


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