The Royal Opera House and Covent Garden: A symbiotic and complex touristic relationship

Guachalla, Adrian (2017) The Royal Opera House and Covent Garden: A symbiotic and complex touristic relationship. Tourism and Hospitality Research, 19 (2). pp. 225-237. ISSN 1467-3584

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The Royal Opera House has a longstanding and solid relationship with Covent Garden, which is an environmentally clustered urban area for tourism and culture rich in heritage, commercial ambience and provision of different types of performing arts. Located within the core of the area opposite its popular market place, its opulent main entrance faces a less visited precinct. This makes the building less visible to the area’s visitors raising questions about its role in the perception of Covent Garden. Given that current studies on flagship developments tend to focus on contemporary projects, this research aims to understand the influence that a well-established cultural flagship exerts in the perception of a popular area for tourism using the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden as a case study. To address this aim, a social constructivist approach was adopted and 306 semi-structured interviews were conducted with domestic and international visitors throughout six locations within the area to understand the role of the Opera House in the perception of Covent Garden. Findings indicate that cultural flagships tend to be stereotyped as grandiose freestanding buildings which is not the Royal Opera House’s case given Covent Garden’s urban density. Instead, its flagship status is related to the quality of its productions and its historical attachment to the area. This is rooted in the attraction of a diverse set of visitors and international talent leading to a cosmopolitan ambience and a strong sense of civic pride as the UK’s leading provider of opera and ballet productions.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management, Geography, Planning and Development
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 13:21
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2020 07:33

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