When Barcelona was selected to host the 1 992 Summer Olympics, the city (as well as Catalonia and Especial as a whole) welcomed the incredible opportunity. In addition to the obvious nationalist pride and international recognition hosting the games entails, their excitement was also fueled by the potential that the opportunity represented. As the International Olympic Committee explains in their “Factories – Legacies of the Games,” recent Olympic games have resulted in “long lasting legacies for their citizens,” with many cities utilizing the games as a “catalyst for urban renewal” (International 013).
This was indeed the case for Barcelona, which became almost a new city entirely between 1 986 (upon first being selected) and the Opening Ceremonies. Overall, the effects of the 1 992 Barcelona Summer Olympics can be seen in three main areas: the city’s economy, the culture and international perception Of Barcelona abroad, and the city’s urban development. Overall, ?6. 7 billion were spent on the games, most of which was spent on improving infrastructure. Overall, the city reaped a profit of ?7. 2 million from the games themselves (Flyleaves 2012).
The long-lasting economic effects and cagey, however, have been much more significant. For example, the Barcelona Organizing Committee invested ?2 billion in constructing and improving four main sporting venues. Today, these venues welcome nearly 1 people each year for various conferences, concerts, and sporting events and they support nearly 450 permanent jobs (International 2013). In terms of specific areas of economic development, immediately upon their nomination, unemployment underwent a dramatic fall, the housing market boomed, and the construction industry expanded at an exponential rate.
The Barcelona Olympics were also unique economically, in that Barcelona was able to sustain this economic growth for decades to come. In fact, until the recent recession that affected most of Western Europe, the city recorded growth in every economic indicator: employment, investment, and new construction. Thus, not only did Barcelona benefit at the time from the games, “it succeeded in maintaining the growth generated, on a scale never seen before” (Acid 2002).
In terms of employment, Barcelona unemployment rate was cut in half from 18. 4% to 9. 6%. Not only was employment provided during the preparation and the games themselves, but nearly 20,000 permanent jobs ere created due to Olympic-related investment in infrastructure and facilities (Acid 2002). In terms of investment, one-third of the event was funded by the private sector and a third of this was with foreign capital. Private investment focused predominately on the construction of housing hotels, and business centers.
The rationale for this private investment was the expectation of improvement in the city’s level of attractiveness for conducting foreign business and attracting future foreign investment. Finally, in terms Of new construction, the sector multiplied by nearly 3. 5 times, despite the fact hat Barcelona building potential was already quite exploited (Acid 2002). One final area of economic development was in tourism. Between 1986 and 2014, Barcelona hotel capacity increased threefold and the number of visitors from abroad increased by sevenfold, reaching 7. Million visitors a year. In this regard, Barcelona legacy has been more “intense and sustained than that of any other modern host city’ (Acid 2002). Therefore, the Barcelona Olympics have become an economic model for present-day Olympics – an exceptional performance by a city with an extraordinary and sustained opacity to ride the “Olympic wave” (Taylor 2012). The reasons for this dramatic increase in tourism are a direct result of the second broad area of change experienced by Barcelona as a result of the games.
Throughout the games and opening and closing ceremonies, Barcelona put on a large promotional show, highlighting the culture of Barcelona almost more so than the rest of Spain as a whole. As a result, the games “changed the way people thought of Barcelona” (Taylor 2012). Between 1 990 and 2001, the city went from being the 1 lath “Best City in Europe” to the 6th and is now rated the 12th most popular destination for rigorists in the world, twenty years after the games. More than simply presenting the culture that already existed (Steelers, flamenco, etc. , Barcelona did a bit of lying and presented a somewhat contrived culture. For example, the games were heavily sponsored by Estella Adam and Don Simon, producers of beer and sangria respectively. So, despite the fact that Barcelona is not known for its beer and that sangria is not actually popular for the locals here, the international community was presented a clear relationship between these two brands and the city. Nowadays, bars in the United States boast selections of “Spanish beer and Anglia,” leading international tourists to equate these with the culture of Spain and Barcelona.
Because so many tourists began to request these when they traveled to Barcelona, things have come full circle and many local bars now advertise their sangria and “typical Barcelona beers. ” As Adam Taylor of Business Insider explains, “Nowadays we think of the Spanish city as a land of palm trees, sand, and sangria but its easy to forget that before the games in 1 992, it was a much different place” (Taylor 2012). In fact, none of the palm trees in Barcelona are native to the city – most of them were planted in the six ears between the announcement of Barcelona as the host city and the actual games.
One final cultural development of note, the Olympics helped transform Spain into a “sporting juggernaut,” with world-class athletes in soccer, basketball, cycling, and tennis. Many assert this is a direct result of investment in sporting facilities and training before and after the Olympics (Barr 2012). As Spanish sportswriter Juan Jose Paradise explains, “the Barcelona Olympics put the Spanish flair for sport and drama on international display” (Barr 2012).
Nowadays, the names Real Madrid and FCC Barcelona re synonymous with prestige and glory in a way that could not have been imagined before the games. This interest in sport has translated at an interpersonal level as well. According to the International Olympic Committee, the increase in the proportion of the population doing some kind of physical activity at least once a week increased from 36% in 1 983 to 51% in 1 995 and women’s participation in organized sports increased 10% nationwide during the same period (International 2013).
One final area of development for Barcelona before, during, and after the Olympics is in the urban renewal that took place. Most significantly, Barcelona today is characterized strongly by its beachfront. However, the city did not really have a beach before. Rather, the Barcelona Olympic Committee created two miles of beachfront and a modern marina by demolishing industrial buildings on the waterfront before the games (Taylor 2012). For the city, the Olympics represented a significant effort to restructure.
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