Olympic legacy and cultural tourism: Exploring the facets of Athens' Olympic heritage
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This study examines the effects of the Olympic Games on Athens' cultural tourism and the city's potential to leverage the Olympic legacy in synergy with its rich heritage in order to enhance its tourism product during the post-Games period. In doing so, a qualitative and interpretive approach was employed. This includes a literature review on Athens' 2004 Olympics to identify the sport facilities and regeneration projects, which constitute the Olympic legacy and heritage. Based on that, an empirical analysis was undertaken, by collecting official documents about the 2004 Olympics, and conducting five semi-structured interviews with tourism/administrative officials. The findings indicate that the Olympiad contributed significantly to Athens' built and human heritage, revealing the dimensions of new venues/facilities, infrastructure, transportation and aesthetic image of the city, and human capital enhancement. Hence, the Games affected to the multifaceted representation and reconstruction of the city's identity and cultural heritage. However, the potential afforded from the post-Olympic Athens remains unrealised due to lack of strategic planning/management. The study concludes that there is a need to develop cross-leveraging synergies between the Olympic legacy and cultural tourism for the host city. Finally, a strategic planning framework for leveraging post-Games Olympic tourism is suggested in order to maximise the benefits of Olympic legacy and heritage in a host city's tourism development.