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Four years after the XX Winter Olympics were held in Turin, a review is made of the legacy of the Games by considering the Olympic effect on Turin's regeneration process and its tourism attractiveness. The paper discusses how Turin, the first capital of a unified Italy and, in the twentieth century, a typical ‘one-company town’, in the last 15 years has successfully reshaped itself into an internationally recognized ‘cultural city’, increasing its attractions for both its citizens and visitors. The role of the Olympic Games as a catalyst of Turin's urban renewal is examined. Supply-side changes and recent trends in demand for cultural attractions are examined. An impact analysis which compared Turin with other north Italian cities revealed the extent to which the changes occurred because of the Games, and not just after them. It was found that the Games made a difference. The study also found that, in the space of 10 years, Turin's ‘industrial’ image has changed. The local community now shares a new identity which does not forget the city's traditional economic roots but is balanced with new values and perspectives related to culture and tourism.
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Gran Torino? The 2006 Olympic Winter
Games and the tourism revival of an
ancient city
Piervincenzo Bondonio a b & Chito Guala a b
a University of Turin , Turin , Italy
b OMERO Centre , Turin , Italy
Published online: 01 Dec 2011.
To cite this article: Piervincenzo Bondonio & Chito Guala (2011) Gran Torino? The 2006 Olympic
Winter Games and the tourism revival of an ancient city, Journal of Sport & Tourism, 16:4, 303-321,
DOI: 10.1080/14775085.2011.635015
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14775085.2011.635015
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Gran Torino? The 2006 Olympic Winter
Games and the tourism revival of an
ancient city
Piervincenzo Bondonio& Chito Guala
Four years after the XX Winter Olympics were held in Turin, a review is made of the
legacy of the Games by considering the Olympic effect on Turin’s regeneration process
and its tourism attractiveness. The paper discusses how Turin, the first capital of a
unified Italy and, in the twentieth century, a typical ‘one-company town’, in the last 15
years has successfully reshaped itself into an internationally recognized ‘cultural city’,
increasing its attractions for both its citizens and visitors. The role of the Olympic
Games as a catalyst of Turin’s urban renewal is examined. Supply-side changes and
recent trends in demand for cultural attractions are examined. An impact analysis
which compared Turin with other north Italian cities revealed the extent to which the
changes occurred because of the Games, and not just after them. It was found that the
Games made a difference. The study also found that, in the space of 10 years, Turin’s
‘industrial’ image has changed. The local community now shares a new identity which
does not forget the city’s traditional economic roots but is balanced with new values
and perspectives related to culture and tourism.
Keywords: Olympic impact; Tourism; Urban regeneration; Identity; Torino 2006 legacies
The Olympic Games, urban regeneration and tourism
Metropolitan areas in countries with mature capitalist economies have been trans-
formed by the processes of de-industrialization and de-localization. In the past two
or three decades, these areas have had to redefine their models of development.
They have placed more emphasis on tourism and have made strategic decisions to
Piervincenzo Bondonio and Chito Guala are at the University of Turin, Turin, Italy and OMERO Centre, Turin,
Italy.
Corresponding author: Piervincenzo Bondonio: e-mail: piervincenzo.bondonio@unito.it
The title “Gran Torino” (i.e. Great Turin) comes from the 2008 movie directed, produced and starred by Clint
Eastwood, after the name of a special car produced in 1972 by the Ford Company.
Journal of Sport & Tourism
Vol. 16, No. 4, November 2011, pp. 303– 321
ISSN 1477-5085 (print)/ISSN 1029-5399 (online) #2011 Taylor & Francis
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14775085.2011.635015
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secure important meetings, fairs, exhibitions, sporting and cultural events. Implemen-
tation of these strategies requires urban enhancement operations, improvement of the
hospitality network, improved services, infrastructure and logistics, and an increase in
cultural and leisure resources.
A contemporary preoccupation with the ‘visibility’ of a city has transformed the
traditional relationship between the inhabitants of the area and the so-called city-
users: new commuters of the tertiary industries who work and consume in the city
but do not live there (Martinotti, 1993). Regions and metropolitan areas compete
with each other on an international scale, and engage in city-marketing activities
(Sassen, 1994). These activities require investments absorbing increasingly large
local budgets. They integrate public and private sectors, rekindle localist drives,
forge efforts into shared objectives, and bring together local social and economic
players. The term ‘glocal’ encapsulates these dynamics of localist tendencies and econ-
omic globalization.
Major cultural and sporting events are formidable catalysts of urban and territorial
transformation (Essex & Chalkley, 1998); they can reunite a city and recreate a macro-
region in terms of symbols and identity (De Moragas Spa, 2003). The staging of show-
case events is an opportunity for urban boosterism and a means to improve the city’s
status and reposition as a territory in the international arena (Roche, 2000). The effects
on local development, and the material and immaterial legacies, have different magni-
tudes according to the type of the event, its scale, life-cycle, budget, and media
coverage.
Tourism is a constant theme in research for the implications of the Olympic Games.
It represents one of the most loudly proclaimed goals of every edition (see, for
example, Gold & Gold, 2007), but a gap has often been apparent between the official
goals and the long-term effects because of various factors: the historical and economic
roots of the host city are different; the main goals are not always the same; individual
experiences may exhibit contradictions. The ‘final’ effects of the Games are unpredict-
able or they do not fit with the policy directives; goals and effects may differ from those
envisaged by plans and decisions (Weed, 2008, 2009).
In strategies for urban renewal, improving tourism can be both an effect of and a pre-
condition for the process as illustrated in Barcelona (De Moragas Spa & Botella, 1995)
with its city repairs, new sports facilities, renewal of cultural structures, and the
public transportation system. However, increased tourism has not always been the
main goal pursued and because mega events are also media events (De Moragas Spa,
1993), symbols perform a special role, including those displayed at the Opening and
Closing Ceremonies. Symbols can promote a city’s culture and economy (Turco &
Olivero, 2007) or other values. For instance, Sydney 2000 focused on ‘reconciliation
among different cultures and immigrants, and fully legitimated the aboriginal culture
(Cashman & Hughes, 1999; Purchase, 2000; Cashman, 2006; Brown, 2008) although
some ambiguities have been identified by Burbank et al. (2001).
Bearing all these considerations in mind, how do they apply to Turin, host city of
the 2006 Winter Olympic Games? Our hypotheses are the following:
304 Bondonio & Guala
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.urban planning and renewal are necessary pre-conditions: the process of renovating
a city can only work if the mega event and its legacy are carefully planned and
framed within a broader project;
.tourism is helped by the event, but it must be prepared and implemented by the host
city;
.a new image of the city promotes tourism, but the municipality and the local
community must move beyond stereotypes and build a new shared identity.
Torino 2006: the Olympic Games as a catalyst of urban regeneration
Turin, the capital of the Piedmont region, is located in north-western Italy at the foot
of the Alps. With a population of about 900,000, it is the fourth Italian city in terms of
size. After leading the movement for Italy’s political unification in the nineteenth
century, Turin became Italy’s first capital in 1861. Four years later, the status of
capital city was transferred first to Florence (in 1865) and then to Rome (in 1870).
In a few decades Turin became the primary producer of Italian vehicles, being
known both nationally and internationally as a ‘one-company (Fiat) town. In 1963,
at its zenith, the Fiat group employed 145,000 people in Turin and the vehicle
sector represented 80% of the city’s industrial output. In 1971, 59% of the active
population in Turin worked in the manufacturing sector, and the city experienced a
demographic boom. In common with many other old industrialized cities, Turin
experienced economic crises in the 1990s. It was no longer the ‘one-company town’,
but the label persisted.
From 1993 onwards, new opportunities for the effective renewal of local admin-
istrations and their policies were developed, including a significant strengthening
of local autonomy and government stability. In Turin, the first direct election of a
city mayor took place in 1993, and Valentino Castellani was elected Turin’s mayor
for a period of five years. When Castellani’s government started work, it was determined
to renew the municipality’s policies by opening up new ideas and forging new
alliances.
Now the leadership of an empowered and non-party-politicized Mayor who was therefore
necessarily rooted in local priorities gave Turin’s administration a refreshing credibility,
which was to prove one of its key assets. (Winkler, 2007, p. 21)
In 1997 Castellani was re-elected mayor for a second and final term. Two years later, he
was appointed President of the Torino 2006 Local Organizing Committee (TOROC).
Three key projects characterized the city’s urban regeneration policy:
1. the new Master Plan for the city, approved in 1995 as an opportunity to re-design
the city, was based on two key ideas:
(a) to move the existing railway underground, thus removing a barrier that
divided the city into two badly connected compartments;
(b) to convert large industrial brownfields along the central ‘backbone’ (some 2.1
million square meters of land) into public/private housing areas, commercial
facilities and public services.
Journal of Sport & Tourism 305
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As a consequence, the private building sector boomed. As an example, the average
number of administrative building permits issued was 1762 in 19952007, compared
with 888 in 1981 1994. In terms of housing, 840,277 cubic meters was approved in
19952007 compared with 429,913 cubic meters in 1981 1994:
2. the Marginal Neighborhoods Plan, drafted in 1997: an urban regeneration and social
inclusion plan which facilitated urban recovery and renewal as well as local devel-
opment in 17 city areas within neighborhoods affected by urban and social decay
(Citta
`di Torino, 2007; Winkler, 2007, pp. 36 41);
3. the 1st Strategic Plan of the City (Torino Internazionale, 2000): a medium-term
(10-year) planning document which set out a widely debated and finally shared
vision of the future and outlined the strategic objectives and lines of action on
the basis of available (or reasonably obtainable) resources.
ThedraftingoftheStrategicPlanandpreparationfortheOlympicGames
mutually strengthened each other, and the latter was immediately seen as a unique
opportunity:
to re-position Turin on the world map and to show the world that there was an ancient and
modernTurin(serving as a catalyst for acceleratingchange) whichwas innovatively embedded
in its revalued past and open to international culture – a city seeking to receive and host visi-
tors from around the world. (Castellani in Bondonio & Crivello, 2007, pp. 164– 165)
One may therefore conclude that the transformations experienced by Turin during
the first decade of the 2000s resulted from deliberate and governed responses by the
local economic and political elite to objective changes in the general economic scen-
ario, and that they came about through multi-level policies and actions. The decision
to bid for the Olympics and their successful organization (Bondonio & Mela, 2009)
were part of this strategy enabling the city to reap the benefits of the worldwide
media coverage of the Winter Olympics.
Pre and post-Olympic tourism in Turin
Achieving an increase in leisure/cultural tourism was one of Turin’s Olympic objectives.
Before the Games, despite the city’s outstanding monuments, museums, baroque
architecture, and cultural attractions, leisure/cultural tourism accounted for only
20% of its overall tourism figures. The remaining 80% was represented by business
tourism (Rossi, 2008). In the mid-1990s, a turning point for Turin came with the realiz-
ation that culture and tourism could be catalysts for a new form of local development.
The Olympic candidature, nomination, and the subsequent Olympic Games, compelled
parties from both the public and private sectors to define new tools with which to
promote Turin, and to consider tourism as more than a simply residual resource.
In 1996 the Piedmont Region opened the Agencies for Tourism Promotion to
private cooperation. Until then, they had been entirely public bodies. In 2007, the
three existing agencies in the province of Turin were merged into a single agency
named ‘Turismo Torino e Provincia’ (Turin and Province Tourism). A second
306 Bondonio & Guala
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administrative step had been taken in 2006 when ‘Sviluppo Piemonte Turismo’
(Piedmont Tourism Development), a regional in-house corporation, was established
to improve the monitoring and analysis of Piedmont tourism resources and data.
In the past 10 years, the municipality of Turin has undertaken substantial work in
communicating the city’s new tourism vocation (Martina, 2006), and the results have
been outstanding. While in 2003 there was not a single international tourist guide
entirely devoted to Turin, dozens of such guides were available in 2009, and the
amount of space devoted to Turin increased in almost every guidebook on Italy or
northern Italy (Bondonio et al., 2009a, pp. 28 34). In the 1990s, Turin was typically
described as a ‘gray, sad, and provincial city’ (Merlain), ‘a secluded city, where young
people always attend usual places, while the bourgeoisie attends its clubs’ (Routard)
and ‘a boring city, whose night life has nothing to do with that trendy and sparkling
of Milan or Bologna’ (Frommer’s). Now one instead reads: ‘Turin has started its
Renaissance and has taken off among the wonders of Italy’ (Lonely Planet 2007),
‘you will discover a gourmand city, which loves life and amuses itself, aristocratic,
and with incredible artistic assets’ (Hachette), ‘happily the sleeping beauty has
awoken and is now able to seduce those who stroll among its streets and arcades’
(Routard 2008). A recent recognition of the city’s new position in the tourism publish-
ing industry has been its award of three stars (‘a destination not to be missed’) in the
French 2008 edition of the Guide vert Michelin. Turin has thus attained according to
the specifications of the French publisher a rank previously held only by Milan,
Verona, Venice, and Ravenna in northern Italy.
Improving tourism amenities and infrastructure was a key objective for Torino
2006. The extent to which this goal was achieved can be evaluated with reference to
hotels, whose numbers increased from 287 in 2002 to 376 in 2006 (+31%). The
number of beds rose from 13,756 in 2002 to 18,380 in 2006 (+33%). The quality of
accommodation supply also improved, as evidenced by the incidence of beds in
hotels with 4 stars and above, which rose from 37% in 2002 to 48% in 2008, of
which 10% were in, the previously non-existent, 5-star and 5-star S hotel categories.
By 2009, 36 hotels in Turin and 88 in its province were listed in the prestigious Yes!
Torino Quality for Travelers. In addition, the quality of food in Turin’s restaurants
has certainly improved in recent years (though top-quality restaurants are more fre-
quent in other parts of Piedmont, such as the wine district of Langhe). This is testified
by recent editions of the popular Italian guides: l’Espresso (with 6 restaurants scoring
1315 points), Michelin (with 7 restaurants awarded 3 forks up to 1 star3 forks),
Veronelli (9 restaurants were awarded between 80 and 86 points), and Gambero
Rosso (4 restaurants with 2 forks, 10 with 1 fork). Moreover, with its 13 ‘historic
locales’ (bars, restaurants, and hotels), Turin is the second Italian city (behind
Milan, but ahead of Rome and Venice) in the list of towns with
sites which preserve and continue a legacy of memories both artistic and cultural (...)
hotels, cafe
´s, restaurants and confectioner’s shops founded at least 70 years ago and
which have been pivotal in Italian history – through the events and the celebrities
which they have sponsored or welcomed during the years. (Associazione locali storici
d’Italia, 2009, p. 1)
Journal of Sport & Tourism 307
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The official data on tourist arrivals and stays in Turin at hotel-like accommodation
report constant growth for the four-year period 2002– 2005. During the pre-Olympic
year many test events were held and, in the last months of the year, numerous represen-
tatives of the Olympic family visited Turin. 2006, the Olympic year, recorded a peak in
stays (to date unsurpassed) but not in arrivals, which reached their peaks in 2010. The
figures for 2007 and 2008 show stability with some 10% downturns for arrivals and an
oscillating trend for stays, which decreased much more in 2007 (226% on 2006) but
rebounded by +17% in 2008. The average length of stay fluctuated significantly: an
average stay of more than three days in 2006 decreased to 2.62 days in 2007, rose to
3.20 in 2008, and decreased again in 2009 and 2010 (to 2.63 and 2.71, respectively).
Tourism in Turin performed fairly well during the global economic crisis of 2009 as
shown by the data on both arrivals (more than in 2005, and +20% on 2008) and total
stays (+2.5 on 2008) and it did even better in 2010 (+7.61 over 2009 in arrivals, and
+11.07 in stays). However, this does not mean that all is well. The already mentioned
decrease in average length of stay and in the proportion of tourists from abroad are
signals that the Turin tourism industry is likely to suffer decreasing revenues (Table 1).
The data paint a positive if not so bright a picture, and additional data prompt even
more positive considerations. It should be borne in mind that the Turin tourism data
should be treated as part of the overall tourism system of the Piedmont region, whose
trends are reported as positive by a variety of sources (Rossi, 2009; http://
b2b,piemonte-turismo.it for 2009, downloaded on 30 May 2010). For example:
.2008 and 2009 were the two absolute best years in terms of tourist arrivals: +37.2%
compared with 2000 for 2008, and +52.7% for 2009, for a total of 3,476,243 and
3,867,000, respectively (one-third from abroad);
.2008 and 2009 again ranked first for number of stays, with more than 11.5 million
units and almost 11,600,000, respectively (+43.3 from 2000);
.in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, Piedmont
and Turin performed much better than Italy as a whole in 2008, with increases in the
Table 1. Arrivals, stays and average length of stay by tourists in Turin, 20022010.
Years
Total
arrivals
Total
stays
Arrivals by
foreigners
Stays by
foreigners
Average
stay
(days)
% change in
arrivals
versus
previous year
% change in
stays versus
previous
year
2010 952,900 2,325,000 150,000 456,500 2.71 7.61 11.07
2009 885,481 2,324,940 113,146 353,048 2.63 20.35 2.51
2008 735,731 2,267,915 134,261 430,253 3.20 20.42 16.94
2007 738,782 1,939,360 156,690 456,782 2.62 210.86 226.05
2006 828,765 2,622,415 267,637 962,252 3.16 22.82 5.16
2005 849,276 2,493,669 309,994 892,777 2.94 31.85 24.19
2004 644,119 2,007,898 233,156 722,730 3.12 6.25 11.54
2003 606,255 1,800,207 203,424 576,907 2.97 5.6 21.02
2002 574,078 1,818,833 204,017 602,329 3.17 ¼¼
Source: Data processed by Regional Tourism Monitoring Center, Piedmont Region – various years.
308 Bondonio & Guala
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number of events on 2007 amounting to 2.66% and 5.60%, respectively, compared
with a country-wide decrease of 5.1%.
An estimate of the differential impact of Torino 2006 on tourism inflows
We estimated the impact of Torino 2006 (and of subsequent actions supporting the
city’s cultural activities) using a difference-in-difference model (Heckman & Robb
1985; Moffit, 1991; Bondonio, 2000). The estimated impact was the difference
between actual changes in tourism inflows in Turin before and after the Games and
the changes that would have occurred without the Games (the so-called ‘counterfac-
tual’). We used as counterfactuals the data on tourism arrivals and stays in hotels
(20042009) and the number of visitors to museums and monuments (2004 2009)
in four north Italian cities (Genoa, Milan, Verona, and Bologna) with tourism attrac-
tions similar to those of Turin. However, these cities had not hosted a mega event
during this period. The tables given below set out the main results.
As regards tourism arrivals, in 2006 annual arrivals in Turin were 31.44% more than
in 2004, while the average values of the four control cities were steady (20.07%).
Hence, the Olympics had a (positive and differential) impact on tourism arrivals in
Turin amounting to 31.51%. In 2007 and 2008, the impact was positive although
decreasing (and Verona performed better over the period 20042008), with values
of +12.24 and +3.47%. In 2009 the difference increased, reaching a value of
22.61%, showing a lasting effect of the impact coming from the Games (and the sub-
sequent public investments in communication policies) (Table 2).
Tourist arrivals (and stays) refer to both business and leisure tourism. Here, we are
interested in the leisure component of tourism in Turin, since an increase in business
Table 2. Percentage changes between annual inflows of tourist arrivals, before and after the
Games, in Turin and a sample of similar north Italian cities (difference in difference
analysis).
Percentage
differences
(20062004)
Percentage
differences
(20072004)
Percentage
differences
(20082004)
Percentage
differences
(20092004)
Turin 31.44 14.72 8.18 31.61
Control group cities
Milan 21.85 0.59 3.06 9.33
Bologna 3.70 6.20 7.96 9.71
Verona 9.55 13.68 11.57 8.83
Genoa 22.77 20.83 4.20 6.49
Average control
group
20.07 2.48 4.71 9.00
Differences of Turin
over average
control group
31.51 12.24 3.47 22.61
Note: Bold values refers to the final outcomes of the comparisons.
Journal of Sport & Tourism 309
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tourism may have had nothing to do with the Games. The average pre-Games ratio of
business to leisure tourism in Turin was 80:20 (Rossi, 2009). Although statistical data
on this point are still lacking, we know from two unpublished surveys (Guala, 2009,
2010) that this ratio is rapidly changing: it reached the values of 64:36 (leisure to
business) in 2008 and 76:24 in 2009.
In order to calculate the impact of the Games only on the leisure component of
tourism, we also analyzed the variations in annual inflows of visitors to samples of
the main museums and exhibitions in Turin and in the four control cities (Table 3).
The difference-in-difference model used enabled us to purge the impact estimates of
so-called ‘fixed effects’. For example, if the annual flow of visitors to the museums of
Turin was greater than in the other cities because of an attractive ‘museum card’ for
Turin’s residents, this factor would be influential in determining the value of the
flows for each individual year, but it would have no influence on any variation
between the flows in two different years (e.g. 2004 2007 or 2004 2009) because
the same ‘museum card’ was present both in 2004 and in 2006 and 2009. The
results show a much larger positive impact of the Games, with a differential ranging
from +45.16% between 2007 and the 20042005 average, and a differential of
+58.30 between 2009 and the same biannual average.
Shifting identity. Images and symbols of Turin before and after the Games
Turin’s identity was labelled ‘industrial’ and mainly associated with the automotive
system (to the Agnelli family and the Juventus football team) until the end of the
1990s (Scamuzzi, 2001). Nevertheless, the new agencies, policies, and decisions of the
Table 3. Percentage changes between annual inflows of visitors to selected museums and
cultural attractions, before and after the Games, in Turin and a sample of similar north
Italian cities (difference in difference analysis)
Percentage
differences
2006(average
20042005)
Percentage
differences
2007(average
20042005)
Percentage
differences
2008(average
20042005)
Percentage
differences
2009(average
20042005)
Turin 56.63 52.31 53.48 51.71
Control group cities
Milan 26.66 0.00 210.36 214.01
Bologna 20.74 25.46 41.17 19.69
Verona 15.43 20.89 13.35 0.87
Genoa 3.41 2.63 3.98 2.44
Average control
group
1.98 7.15 20.06 26.59
Differences of Turin
over average control
group
54.65 45.16 53.54 58.30
Note: Bold values refers to the final outcomes of the comparisons.
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municipality were starting to create changes in Turins identity. The bid for the 2006
Winter Olympics arose in this climate. The candidature was initially promoted by a
very small e
´lite, but the idea of hosting the Games was soon embraced by the majority
of the population. This was a surprise: the population was accepting the transformation
of the Fiat company and beginning to see new prospects for the city. The Olympics
played a fundamental role in this process and fostered a more open-minded attitude
among the city’s residents.
The process of change has been monitored by six longitudinal surveys, from 2002
until 2007: four before and two after the event. The surveys were conducted by Olym-
pics and Mega Events Research Observatory (OMERO), a research centre at the Uni-
versity of Turin founded in 2001 and still working on the legacy of the 2006 Olympics,
mega events, and tourism. A longitudinal survey on public opinion was carried out in
the two main areas which hosted the Games: the city of Turin and the surrounding
Alpine valleys. The research involved gathering information, recommendations, and
expectations from the population by means of telephone interviews. It not only
served the purpose of data collecting; it was also an opportunity for public partici-
pation and debate, a chance to initiate open dialogue on the future of the Olympic
places and their development model.
The surveys revealed a hidden dimension of the collective mind of Turin citizens: a
deep sense of pride in their city, its history, and what it was able to achieve and display,
together with an optimistic view of the future.
The high level of pride expressed by the interviewees in Turin from the first
survey in November 2002 onwards was an indicator of a new mentality, a turning
point, and a symbol of trust in the future which superseded the stereotype of a gray
‘One-Company Town’ (Ferlaino & Rubbi, 2002).
The implementation of the survey in itself provided an opportunity to communi-
cate and discuss a number of issues. The survey results were presented in press confer-
ences and via the media, as well as at university seminars. To summarize, the surveys:
.provided information to public decision-makers and feedback on current projects
and the approaches being followed by local or national administrations;
.legitimated or delegitimized certain political choices, revealed some hidden issues
and facilitated a participation process.
From 2002 to 2007, the surveys provided data from an overall sample base of 8500
interviewees. In Turin, four surveys were conducted before the Games (in November
of each year from 2002) and two after them (March 2006 and January 2007). In the
Alpine valleys, three surveys were carried out before the Games, and one after.
After the first two surveys (2002 and 2003) pride and optimism emerged in Turin. The
surveys (with samples of 900 interviews each) showed deep trust in the Games, and the
pride of a community that had won the candidature process. The figures in Tables 4 and 5
are very clear; trust is a precondition for building the new identity of a city.
The positive response to the Games was consistent with the main expectations con-
cerning the material and immaterial effects of hosting them, as the data in Table 6
confirm.
Journal of Sport & Tourism 311
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Respondents appreciated certain possible outcomes of the Games such as the visi-
bility and the new image of Turin, its future repositioning in the international arena,
the improvement of infrastructure and facilities (Guala, 2004).
The differences between the 2002 and 2003 surveys are minor. Visibility of Turin
abroad and tourism appear to have been the most important possible outcomes of the
Games, together with the improvement of facilities and infrastructures, the production
of which could be accelerated by staging the Games. This set of expectations was con-
firmed in the subsequent surveys, carried out in 2004 and 2005. A question about what
score, from 0 (bottom) to 10 (top), Turin would obtain if it organized the Olympic
Games recorded a positive response: in 2002 a score of 8 was given by 31% of interviewees,
followed by 7 (28%), 6 (14%), 10 (10%), and 9 (6%). This positive feedback was con-
firmed in 2003: scores from 0 to 5 (negative evaluations) were given by only 8% of the
overall respondents (this critical area comprised 16% of interviewees in the 2002 survey).
In the second phase (2004– 2005) expectations about the event were combined with
concerns about many public works directly or indirectly linked to the Games, and
some political and managerial difficulties within the Local Organizing Committee
which the press did not hesitate in reporting (as recalled by Castellani, in Bondonio
& Crivello, 2007 cited in Bondonio et al., 2007). Thus, some fears and problems
emerged, with minor shifts among the different polls (2002, 2003, and 2004), and a
generally stable trend over the years (Figure 1).
The results of the two post-Games surveys conducted in Turin were very positive
and similar: the first answers were entirely enthusiastic about the Olympic experience,
the second were more realistic, less emotional but still positive. During the Games the
people of Turin, thanks to the unique and festive Olympic atmosphere, participated
fully in many special events organized (Figure 2).
Table 5. Do you feel proud that Turin won the bidding competition for the next OWGs?
2003 2002
Very much 69.8 66.7
Quite 23.9 24.6
A little 2.9 4.4
Not at all 2.0 3.1
Note:N. 900 (2002), 905 (2003). Sampling error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala (2004), in Segre and Scamuzzi (2004, p. 23).
Table 4. Do you agree with the project of hosting the Games in Turin and Alpine Valleys?
2003 2002
Agree 78.9 79.0
Slightly agree 16.9 13.4
Slightly disagree 2.5 1.1
Disagree 1.5 2.7
Note: N. 900 (2002), 905 (2003). Sampling error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala, 2004, in Segre and Scamuzzi, 2004, p. 23.
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This new spirit of participation gave rise to an optimistic view of the future.
Respondents to the 2006 post-Games survey were confident that the ‘positive effects
of the Games’ would be long-lasting, with increasing values in comparison with
those of the previous surveys on the same issue. This confidence increased to 53%
(2006) from 40% (in 2002 and 2003) and 30% (in 2004 and 2005) (Guala, 2007).
The data indicate that the people of Turin had confidence in the diversification of
the city’s economy. The turning point in the collective mind came with the discovery
of the culture and tourism assets of a city that, in the meantime, would not lose its
economic roots (Bondonio & Guala, 2009) (Table 7).
Another survey, sponsored in 2006 by the Unione Industriale di Torino (Turin
Industrial Association), focused on the post-Games legacy in light of the new stra-
tegic links created among Turin, its metropolitan area, and the entire Piedmont
Table 6. Some people believe that the 2006 Olympics will be useful to the local community
long after the Games have ended. How much do you agree with the following items?
2003 2002
very
much slightly
very
much slightly
Improvement of infrastructures & communications 43.0 44.5 43.8 43.8
Improvement of sport facilities, impossible without
the OGs
42.5 44.1 39.4 43.1
Increased fame and visibility of Turin abroad 58.7 31.1 51.8 35.1
Tourism and culture development 52.4 34.6 45.8 38.3
New jobs, new firms, new investments 36.6 37.5 26.9 42.3
New opportunities for all the stakeholders 34.5 44.6 29.6 42.3
Acceleration of urban works (underground, railway,
etc.)
Not present 56.3 33.6
Preserving and improving nature and environment 23.4 32.9 Not present
Note:N. 900 (2002), 905 (2003). Sampling error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala (2004), in Segre and Scamuzzi (2004, pp. 25 26).
Figure 1. Problems and fears linked to the 2006 Games (2002 2003 –2004). N. 900 (2002),
905 (2003), and 915 (2004). Sampling error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala (2006) in Bondonio et al. (2006, p. 244).
Journal of Sport & Tourism 313
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region (Faretra, 2006). The data confirmed the population’s positive expectations
with regard to the Olympic legacy. The majority of the interviewees said that the
image of the city had improved (70%), that the organization of the Games was
appreciated (60%), that the city’s cultural structures had been highlighted (32%),
and that Turin had acquired new visibility within Italy and around the world
(44%). Positive responses were recorded in other areas as well, such as Turin’s
quality of life (45%), and its public structures and facilities (41%). On a scale
from 0 to 10, the visibility of the city obtained an overall score of 8, the Olympic
facilities received 7.5, and the economic relationships between Turin and Piedmont
region 7.1 (Faretra, 2006).
Other, more recent, surveys confirm Turin’s new image and its attractiveness. In six
population samples three from Turin, Genoa and Milan (Italy) and three from
French, German and British residents – Turin was recognized as a culture and
tourism city both by its population and by residents of other Italian cities. Abroad,
however, its new ‘cultural’ identity was rather far from being wholly achieved: chan-
ging Turin’s traditional image in Europe still requires a long-term city-marketing strat-
egy. Turin’s image is better than it was in the past but it must be reinforced over the
Figure 2. Percentages of attendance at Olympic ‘special events’. N. 903 (2006). Sampling
error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Scamuzzi (2007, p. 32).
Table 7. Are you confident that Turin can create a new image of itself as a city of tourism
and culture? (2006 survey).
%
Not at all 3.2
Not much 11.1
Somewhat 53.7
Very much 30.5
I don’t know 1.5
Total 100.0
Note:N. 903 (2006). Sampling error +or 3.2, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Scamuzzi (2007, p. 124).
314 Bondonio & Guala
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years (Guala & Marra, 2009). Turin’s traditional image as a manufacturing city is
balanced with its new cultural and tourism image, and the food and wine industries
– on whose growth Turin is now relying – receive wide approval (Table 8).
The symbols are changing as well. In contrast with the findings of a previous
study (Scamuzzi, 2001), new symbols are appearing and the traditional ones
(Fiat, Juventus, and the Agnelli family) are fading, being replaced by ‘cultural’
symbols (Table 9).
Table 10 shows the different attraction powers of 10 Italian cities as evaluated by
more than 2000 interviews in three European countries (Germany, France, and
Great Britain). Venice, Rome, and Florence are well known as top tourism desti-
nations, and this is an obvious result.
Data show also that Turin is not well known abroad (with a ratio of 40.3%, it is the
eighth in the list), that it has been visited by a rather low 28.8%, but also that 56.6% of
visitors and tourists would like to visit it again.
Table 8. Definitions of Milan, Turin, and Genoa (% and number of ‘yes’ answers).
Milan Turin Genoa Milan Turin Genoa
Industrial city 72.8 71.9 21.0 734 726 778
City of science and technology 76.0 74.5 58.1 701 687 732
City of art and culture 66.4 85.9 83.4 727 714 763
City of hospitality, food and wine 50.8 83.5 57.2 710 716 750
City of the quality of life 34.5 53.1 51.4 704 700 702
City of great international events 67.9 56.4 39.0 705 706 761
City of tourism 51.7 68.3 79.9 727 716 785
City of leisure and entertainment 66.2 42.3 16.9 705 681 753
Note:N. 738 (Milan), 768 (Turin), and 808 (Genoa). Survey 2008, Sampling error between +or – 3.4
and 3.6, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala and Marra (2009).
Table 9. Main symbols of Turin (sample from the population, N. 726).
N%
The ‘Mole’ (the venue of the Cinema Museum) 564 27.8
Royal Palaces, historic buildings 211 10.4
Egyptian Museum 179 8.8
Automotive industry Fiat 133 6.6
Basilica of Superga, old churches 122 6.0
Historic squares 104 5.1
Po river, river front 74 3.7
Special food, wine 64 3.2
Soccer Club (Juventus or Torino) 56 2.8
Green areas, Parks 54 2.7
Note:N. 733 (2008). Sampling error +or 3.6, at a 0.95 level of confidence; items with less than 2.5%
quotes are excluded from the listing.
Source: Guala and Marra (2009).
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Discussion
Obviously, the Olympics could not have been the answertotheeconomicglobalcrisisorto
the specific problems of Fiat and the automotive sector, but it could nevertheless provide
an opportunity for urban renewal if suitably planned: this was the lesson that we learned
from previous studies on the urban planning and regeneration process with regard to the
implications of the Games in the medium and long period (Preuß, 2000, 2004; Cashman,
2006; Mu
¨ller et al., 2006). This lesson could apply to Turin as well (Bondonio et al., 2008).
To summarize some results from our research, we concentrated on three main
topics. Turin’s urban planning before the Games and their material legacy were the
preconditions for engendering the city’s overall renaissance. Tourism data and chan-
ging inflows show a change in the social composition and expectations of visitors to
Turin. The city’s shifting identity (considering the evaluations and concerns of the
local community) and its changing image (in Italy and abroad) are positive results
of the overall impact of the Games on Turin.
The Legacy of services and facilities as tools of urban renewal
As is typical of many European editions of the Games, the Italian state and local govern-
ments bore the main burden of funding Olympic works in Turin and the mountain valleys,
and the majority of the works built were only loosely related with the Games. In fact, out of
a total expenditure of some 2207 US$ million at constant 2000 prices (Bondonio & Cam-
paniello, 2006), only 29.6% was spent on sport facilities in Turin and in the mountains. The
other 70.4% was instead spent on transport and communication infrastructures, housing,
offices and commercial sites, environmental infrastructures all of which were significant
and ‘automatic’ parts of a positive material legacy for the territories (Bottero, 2007).
Two out of four ice-based sport facilities located in Turin (Palavela and Hockey
Palasport) were assigned, together with other facilities in the mountain venues, to
Table 10. Questions about 10 Italian cities and their attractions (three samples from
Germany, France, and Great Britain, N¼2012).
Knows the city Has visited Would go back to visit
Venice 75.2 61.0 77.3
Rome 73.9 57.0 84.2
Florence 63.0 52.0 79.9
Milan 58.8 45.9 68.3
Verona 52.5 47.0 73.6
Naples 51.1 37.2 59.1
Genoa 40.6 36.9 53.3
Turin 40.3 28.8 56.6
Palermo 37.1 28.5 64.0
Bologna 35.9 30.1 56.8
Note:N. 670 cases each country (2008). Sampling error +or 3.8, at a 0.95 level of confidence.
Source: Guala and Marra (2009).
316 Bondonio & Guala
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the 20th March 2006 Foundation established with public funds by the Piedmont
Region to manage the ‘Torino Olympic Park (TOP)’. The Foundation’s section respon-
sible is Parcolimpico, which became fully operational in 2007. During its first three
years of operations, TOP succeeded in keeping all the facilities under its jurisdiction
open and presenting the ‘Olympic territories’, i.e. the city and mountains, as a
single domain. Palavela and Hockey Palasport hosted numerous sport and show
events, with reasonably good numbers of operational days and economic returns for
both the Foundation and the local economy (Bondonio et al., 2009b). The total avail-
able locations for mega events in Turin grew from 5 before the Games, with a covered
surface of some 168,300 square meters, to 11 locations with a covered surface of
296,150 square meters (Bottero, 2007, p. 82). These facts, in our opinion, confirm
that positive use has been made of the material legacy of the Games, although it
was not fully planned in advance; four years later, services and facilities seem adequate,
and they apparently fit with the original aim of pursuing the city’s regeneration.
Increasing tourism mainly devoted to culture
The positive tourism trend since the Games is a clear indicator of a diversified econ-
omic development. The data show that cultural tourism is increasing, and that the
large majority of tourists are of middle and upper class (70% are professionals, tea-
chers, and skilled workers) with high educational levels (around 55% have university
degrees and 35% upper-secondary diplomas). The overall success of the Piedmont
Region and the good data on arrivals and stays in Turin show that the 2006 ‘Olym-
pulse’ has impacted not only on the Piedmont capital and the Olympic valleys but
also on a larger territory.
Identity and image
A high level of participation by associations, scholars, and professional groups has
been of significant benefit to Turin. They provided support for and legitimacy to
the work of TOROC and the local municipality. The strong commitment of Valentino
Castellani, the TOROC President, helped create the shared goals.
Monitoring public opinion has been a means to understand the collective mind. The
special atmosphere of being witness to a mega event, and self-awareness has gradually
changed Turin’s identity. This recognition of the population has helped in building
a new image of the city and in implementing the city’s marketing strategy. Surveys have cer-
tified the improved quality of urban life and confirmed that Turin’s self-definition as a ‘cul-
tural city’ is working. This evaluation is shared by the local communities in Piedmont and in
Italy; however, the new image is still far from being universally shared, especially abroad.
Conclusion
A city hosting the Games is a ‘work in progress’ for tangible and intangible transform-
ations. It is still for many years, pursuing the objective of converting the intangible
Journal of Sport & Tourism 317
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legacy of the Games into tangible and long-lasting positive effects (Cashman, 2006).
This attempt must be carefully monitored, not only considering evaluations and
expectations of the public opinion, but also monitoring a set of social indicators
related to the city’s quality of life. Among these, tourism trend is one of the most
reliable (Preuß, 2004).
International literature underlines that a Mega Event, if it remains a unique episode,
is not sufficient: it risks to become an ‘intermezzo’ (Spilling, 1992). This is why a city
must bid for new opportunities and new events. Following on the 2006 Games, the city
of Turin did not remain idle and immediately went about capitalizing on its newly
acquired credibility as a city capable of welcoming and managing large events. As a
consequence, since then many other international events took place in Turin:
among others, the inaugural ‘Torino 2008 World Design Capital’ and the ‘Italy, One
Hundred and Fifty’ event that commemorates Italy’s first 150 years as a unified
nation in 2011. In addition, new opportunities can be achieved by stronger links
with Milan, which will host the Universal Expo in 2015. A lesson from Turin 2006
is that cities wishing to be ranked finding in the international arena are required to
bid for new events that reinforce their image (De Moragas Spa, 1996).
At the same time as the Games are a catalyst for urban regeneration, building new
sport facilities can be flanked by other architectures, with an overall perceived new
urban quality: the Turin case shows that following the publication of the new Master
Plan, from the mid-1990s onwards, the private building industry boomed and
reached its peak in 2003. Simultaneously, public works, both Olympic and non-
Olympic, also experienced a significant increase. For the first time in many years,
Turin could mold and influence significant parts of its urban landscape, through
urbanistic and architectural choices. On the public side, projects were allotted
through international public tenders, which attracted many well-known and reputed
architectural firms and architects, such as Arata Isozaki, Gae Aulenti, Renzo Piano,
Massimiliano Fuksas, Mario Bellini, Aldo Rossi, Mario Botta, Jean Nouvel, Norman
Foster, and Aimaro Isola. This unexpected effect of the 2006 event deals with a
process affecting other cities working for a better quality of their urban life, and utilizing
the archistar projects to market the places.
The urban regeneration process has significant environmental implications and the
Olympics are expected to encourage good environmental practices with building
environment. A balance between sport facilities and strategies of city renewal is also
required as ‘the trend towards emphasizing planned outcomes brought about a situ-
ation in which preoccupation with infrastructural change and city rebranding seemed
to erode the attention paid to sporting dimension’ (Gold & Gold, 2007, p. 319).
As in previous Games, Torino 2006 showed that the global Olympic experience can
be enriched when accompanied by a city’s cultural and leisure activities. One way of
doing so is through the implementation of the Olympic Cultural program, or Cultural
Olympiad and ‘Recent developments have seen the cultural festivals growing in scale,
particularly in response to interest in the potentially positive contribution of culture to
the urban legacy of both Summer and Winter host cities’ (Gold & Gold, 2007, p. 10).
The Cultural Olympiad can be accompanied by providing events such as exhibitions
318 Bondonio & Guala
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that highlight the city’s art and culture, by providing access to museums and galleries,
by staging one or more ‘White Nights’ events as Turin did, and by profiling regional
produce. This creates a special atmosphere that is specific to that host city and which
subsequently can be built upon for future legacy. The experience of Turin can
enlighten other cases of Winter Olympics: by demonstrating how a venue rich in enter-
tainment and cultural attractions adds something more, for inhabitants, city-users,
and tourists. A city with an ancient history, important museums and Royal Palaces,
can organize a mega sport event, which is the primary goal of a trip, but can offer
also new opportunities that visitors discover during their stay. Thus, the sport experi-
ence is completed and enriched (Weed, 2008, 2009).
Acknowledgement
The authors thank two anonymous referees and the editor of this special issue of the
Journal for their dedication and the very useful comments and suggestions received.
Usual disclaimer applies.
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