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. In: ITHMC 2017: 3rd International Tourism and Hospitality Management Conference, 13-17 September 2017, University of Sarajevo.

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Covent Garden is a popular and central area firmly established in London’s urban landscape. It is characterised by a strong commercial sector, the p rovision of a wide range of performing arts, distinctive architectural heritage and the UK’s leading Opera House located at its core. There has been a working theatre at this site for over 250 years and it has witnessed the area’s organic development as a hub for leisure and tourism. The Opera House itself was also redeveloped a number of times, with the last major completed project at the turn of the 20th century aiming to improve its facilities for visitors and enhance its visual contribution to the area in line with current trends in urban design. In spite of this, its attractive main entrance does not face the area’s popular market place and therefore does not have the exposure that other grand theatres enjoy around the world given the area’s dense urban clustering. This paper aims to understand the influence that the Royal Opera House exerts in the perception of Covent Garden as an area for tourism and culture. For this purpose, a flexible social constructivist approach was adopted and 306 semi - structure d interviews were conducted in a variety of locations throughout the area including daytime visitors inside the theatre not attending a performance. Findings indicate that the Royal Opera House does not tend to be perceived as an architectural artefact suc h as other Opera Houses with monumental architecture as free standing buildings. Instead, it is the quality of its productions, the attraction of a diverse set of visitors leading to a cosmopolitan ambience and a strong sense of civic pride that root the h istorical attachment between the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2018 12:44
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2018 12:44

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