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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Event leveraging and health promotion : the case of the Tour of Flanders Derom, Inge


This dissertation examines event leveraging for health promotion with the outcome of increasing physical activity participation. The case of the Tour of Flanders (Flemish: Ronde van Vlaanderen) is unique because it is a medium-sized, joint spectator and participatory sport event. Although the literature provides examples of social event leveraging for health promotion, one of the limitations of the existing social event leveraging framework is that it does not integrate any concepts and principles of the field of health promotion. Therefore, social ecological theory has been applied to further examine event leveraging through an understanding of systems and targets. In doing so, a socioeconomic event leveraging framework for health and physical activity has been developed and proposed. Qualitative interviews were conducted with former and current event organisers of the Tour of Flanders (i.e., Het Nieuwsblad and Flanders Classics), start and arrival host cities (i.e., Sint-Niklaas, Ninove, Bruges, and Oudenaarde), and municipalities that hosted the Village of the Tour (i.e., Zwalm, Torhout, and Rekkem). In addition to interviews, quantitative surveys were administered with participants from the 2013 edition of the Tour of Flanders Cyclo, before (N = 1,091) and after the event (N = 639). The findings confirmed the socioeconomic nature of event leveraging aimed at increasing bicycle tourism in the region, as both the properties of the event and the context of the host were recognised as leverageable resources. The use of Flanders’ cycling heritage was an excellent tactic to inspire host residents and international visitors to actively participate in new cycling initiatives. Social ecological theory promoted consultation between the event organiser and the host government to develop initiatives that complemented each other in terms of systems and targets. Environmental targets were employed by the regional government by developing new cycling infrastructure and organising participatory cycling events, whereas individual targets were employed by the municipal government by providing cycling education to children. The findings provided sound evidence for organising joint spectator and participatory sport events to promote physical activity participation, while at the same time leveraging these events by providing physical, structural, and social resources in the host community.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada