The rise of music tourism around the globe


Fans arriving at the Tokyo Dome for a Taylor Swift concert. The artiste played four back-to-back shows in a single venue in Japan as part of her tour. — AP

From Drake to Olivia Rodrigo to Taylor Swift to Nicki Minaj, many artistes will be playing shows all over the world in 2024. The most devoted fans will do anything to attend a performance by their idol, including travelling hundreds or even thousands of miles.

This phenomenon is known as music tourism.

Amadeus, the Spanish air travel booking giant, claims that music tourism is one of the major tourism trends of 2024. Certain countries will be particularly attractive to music fans – especially to those in Europe – in the coming months, such as Romania and Greece.

This is because these destinations will be hosting concerts by Coldplay as part of the band’s Music Of The Spheres world tour. The British group will give two shows in Athens (Greece) on June 8 and 9, before moving on to Bucharest (Romania) on June 12 and 13.

Amadeus found that these four dates had a significant impact on search and booking volumes for Greece and Romania. In detail, searches for flights to Athens rose by 62% in the week following the announcement of the two shows in the Greek capital.

The company observed an even greater spike for flights to Romania (+91%).

Like Coldplay, Swift will be performing in many countries this year as part of her Eras Tour. This world tour kicked off on March 17, 2023, in Arizona (the United States), and includes 151 dates on five continents.

As such, you might think that fans of the American superstar – known as Swifties – wouldn’t need to travel far to attend one of her shows.

But the singer, voted “person of the year 2023” by Time magazine, and her shows have caused such a frenzy that her fans have sometimes had to buy tickets for concerts far from home, to be sure of getting a seat. And that involves paying all the additional costs associated with this kind of trip (plane and/or train tickets, local accommodation, etc).

A study by QuestPro reports that Americans spent an average of US$1,300 (RM6,196) to see Taylor Swift live on stage.

Back in the day, attending major music festivals overseas was the norm. These days, some music lovers travel the globe just to attend a concert featuring a single artiste. — AFPBack in the day, attending major music festivals overseas was the norm. These days, some music lovers travel the globe just to attend a concert featuring a single artiste. — AFP

Economic benefits

The impact of The Eras Tour is such that the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approached the Shake It Off singer on X (formerly Twitter) to suggest that she should stop off in the country as part of her world tour.

“It’s me, hi. I know places in Canada would love to have you. So, don’t make it another cruel summer. We hope to see you soon,” he wrote, referencing two Swift songs (Anti-Hero and Cruel Summer).

Following this invitation, nine dates in Toronto and Vancouver were announced.

The move may seem surprising, but it shows just how coveted music tourism is, given the considerable economic benefits that can be associated with a visit from some of the biggest names in music. For example, Beyonce’s stop-off in Sweden as part of her Renaissance World Tour drew almost 90,000 people to Stockholm. This prompted Michael Grahn, chief economist at Danske Bank in Sweden, to advance the surprising hypothesis that “Queen Bey” had weighed on inflation in the country.

“Beyonce’s start of her world tour in Sweden seems to have coloured May inflation, how much is uncertain, but probably 0.2pp (percentage points) of the 0.3pp that hotels/restaurants added. Perhaps also hiked concert ticket prices (recreation),” he said on X.

Whatever the case, everything suggests that music tourism has the potential to become a big business. Music industry professionals are well aware of this, and are now offering special packages that combine the musical experience with tourism.

For example, the organisers of Tomorrowland are offering music lovers from all over the world packages which allow them to discover Belgium before enjoying sets from DJs performing at the festival. It’s the ideal way, they say, to party while also checking out what the country has to offer. – AFP Relaxnews

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