Potentials and Impacts of Event Tourism Development: The Case of Aksum Town, Tigrai National Regional State, Ethiopia
Tourism is recognized by several countries as a tool towards an integrated development. Events are a dynamic and fast-growing sector that has become a development tool in both developed and developing countries as a new tourism trend. This study examines event tourism's potentials and impacts in Aksum, Ethiopia. A mixed research approach with a descriptive design was employed through stratified random sampling technique. Questionnaire and interview were instruments used for data collection. Questionnaire respondents were selected randomly while interview participants were recruited purposefully. Descriptive statistical analysis was applied for questionnaire data using SPSS software while content analysis was adopted for interview data. Findings revealed that Aksum has potentials for the development of religious and cultural events followed by historical and business events. The impacts of event tourism to Aksum were found as both positive and negative in relation to socio-economic and environmental activities. The main positive impacts were perceived as improving destination image and boosting local businesses, on the other hand, negative impacts include problems about unfair pricing of local goods and services, trafic congestion and overcrowding. The research concludes by suggesting possible ways of maximizing the positive role of event tourism and minimizing its adverse impacts.