Although the impacts and benefits of sport tourism events have already been sufficiently researched, knowledge about the strategies and tactics needed to be undertaken in order to maximize these benefits of sport tourism events is limited. This paper aims to investigate the leveraging strategies applied by different stakeholders at Vasaloppet, a cross-country ski event in Dalarna, Sweden. These stakeholders were chosen strategically and implied local businesses, the organization of Vasaloppet, the tourism offices, a sponsor of Vasaloppet and the municipality. In order to analyze and evaluate the strategies undertaken, Chalip´s models of general and social leveraging of sport events are adopted as a theoretical framework (Chalip 2004; Chalip 2006).
The research is exploratory, aiming to determine and evaluate the strategies undertaken by different stakeholders in order to increase the economic and social benefits of Vasaloppet. The research methods will be qualitative, investigating the perception and success of measures undertaken by different stakeholders in order to enhance the benefits of the event.
Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with the result, that although not being familiar with the models, the different stakeholders of Vasaloppet were undertaking several leveraging strategies. Nevertheless, not all parts of the model could be applied to Vasaloppet due to the fact that it was developed for mega-events as well as that Vasaloppet has some specific characteristics that did not fit with the models. There were solely a few measures undertaken to promote the destination through event advertising, due to the fact, that the brand Vasaloppet is connected with Dalarna as a region in such a high extent that it does not need to be advertised explicitly, at least in the opinion of the majority of participants.
However, Vasaloppet was efficient in providing business relationships and in integrating local businesses, although it could be observed that this did not count for all local businesses. Regarding the social benefits, Vasaloppet succeeded to integrate the local population and generate a feeling of community, however an overall theming strategy was not applied and the possibilities for socializing could be improved. The local population, especially those persons with no interest in skiing or not being engaged in Vasaloppet, were aware of negative social impacts; neverthele
Chalip´s model, event leveraging, sports tourism events, socio-economic impacts, Vasaloppet