At a time of increasing city competition, national capitals are at the forefront of efforts to gain competitive advantage for themselves and their nation, to project a distinctive and positive image and to score well in global city league tables. They are frequently their country’s main tourist gateway, and their success in attracting visitors is inextricably linked with that of the nation. They attract not just leisure visitors; they are especially important in other growing tourism markets, for example, as centres of power they feature strongly in business tourism, as academic centres they are important for educational tourism, and they frequently host global events such as the Olympic Games. And there are more of them: first, the number of capitals has grown as the number of nation-states has increased and, secondly, pressures for devolution mean more cities are seeking national capital status, even when they are not at the head of independent states. We need to understand tourism in capitals better – but there has been little research in the past.
This book develops new insights as it explores the phenomenon of capital city tourism, and uses recent research to examine the appeal of ‘capitalness’ to tourists, and explore developments in capitals across the world.
This book was published as a special issue of Current Issues in Tourism.
1. Introduction: Global change and tourism in national capitals 2. Capitalness is contingent: tourism and national capitals in a globalised world 3. How ‘capital’ are capital cities on the Internet? 4. Hold back the night: Nuit Blanche and all-night events in capital cities 5. Commemorative events and heritage in former capitals: a case study of Melbourne 6. Out of the Soviet Union: the re-emergence of Rīga as a tourist capital 7. Capital cities as open-air museums: a look at Québec City and Tunis 8. Towards reviving post-Olympic Athens as a cultural destination 9. Budapest: from socialist heritage to cultural capital? 10. Imagining the nation: signifiers of national capital status in Washington, DC and Canberra 11. Outward versus inward orientation of island capitals: the case of Valletta