The Rise of Music Tourism



Photo: Taylor Swift Official Store

Music tourism has seen rapid growth in the last few years, especially after the pandemic; growing numbers of travellers have prioritised travel governed by cultural and significant events, including music festivals and concerts. As per Custom Market Insights, valued at US$6.6 billion in 2023, this market is expected to continue rising with the growing demand for mega-festivals and concert tours. It is predicted to reach a whopping US$13.8 billion by 2032. Music tourism involves travel experiences driven by a desire to attend a music event, involving the booking of flights, hotels and dining at local establishments in host countries. While travellers were usually drawn by a country’s famous landmarks or rich history, recently, focus has been shifted to global music events governments utilise to boost local economies.

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Significant impact of music tourism

Photo: The Atlanta Voice

Big music festivals and concerts primarily influence the global music tourism market and, when blended with travel, allow countries to attract diverse audiences seeking to expand their cultural experiences. Amadeus has shown that music tourism is vital in stimulating local economies, and artists tour with massive fan bases and global reach. Events like Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, Coldplay’s Spheres Tour and Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour have proven their substantial impact on search and booking volumes for destinations featured on tour schedules. Their significant impact on boosting local economies is a result of artists’ expanded global reach and limited tour destinations, which are fundamental factors that draw in tourists to drive economic growth. For instance, Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour caused a 91% surge in flights to Romania, a 62% increase in interest for Athens, and an astounding attendance of 90,000 people to Stockholm, according to Amadeus.

Marketing to the right audience

The experience of attending a significant event is built up by consistent buzz on social media, often portraying the event as a “must-see” or a “once in a lifetime” experience; this increases demand in the market. This appeals to most artists’ demographic, particularly Gen Zs and Millennials, groups typically more devoted to pop culture and more likely to travel. As reported by Allianz Travel, more than half of Gen Zs 56% and Millennials 60% are planning to travel for a music festival in 2024; this is an example of how travellers now prioritise experiences over material items. With the rise of social media and technology, we see influencers promoting music destinations, and we also have accessibility to global streaming platforms to discover musical talents that might pique one’s interest and instil a desire to catch them live. Another driving factor worth noting is that because artists are unable to visit every destination, the promise of a live performance by a famous artist and an opportunity to engage in an exclusive concert experience is a significant compelling factor for those considering travel.

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Collaborations with local tourism organisations

Photo: The Business Times

Tourism is a major revenue source for cities, relying primarily on tourists to keep local attractions and hotels running. As Envols has gathered, 67% of respondents who opted to travel expressed a desire to make the most of their trip experience by exploring the surrounding area and discovering a new city. This means economic benefits for local businesses and services. Partnerships have helped local businesses to improve awareness and reach and capitalise on the growth of global music tourism to fund local infrastructure development and boost local economies. Cities like Singapore have caught on to the massive potential of music tourism driving economic growth and saw great success in the partnership between the Singapore Tourism Board and pop star Taylor Swift. The deal involved a payment of up to US$3 million for each of her concerts to keep the shows exclusive to Singapore, attracting fans from all across the region and causing a surge of 20% in passenger traffic compared to the previous year. In response, a plethora of local businesses and hotels had capitalised on the large influx of tourists, offering themed merchandise, experiences and packages inspired by Swift.

The outcome was more than successful, with some exclusive tour packages costing thousands, even up to tens of thousands selling out, with 90% of consumers hailing from overseas. The growing potential of economic benefits of music tourism is significantly due to music fans’ willingness to spend significantly beyond ticket prices on local experiences, as supported by travel site Klook and a reported 50% increase in Singapore attraction sales. With all these factors working in tandem, Singapore’s deal with the star resulted in an economic boom, generating a whopping approximately US$260 million to US$375 million and a 2.9% GDP increase, the highest in six years. Hence, high-profile music events and tourism have had undeniable economic influence in growing local economies due to an expanded reach and the habits of travellers who desire to make the most of a trip.

Travel packages

Photo: Tomorrowland

Along with the rise of tourism, a trend of package deals are offered to travellers to blend music and travel seamlessly. It is evident that there is a significant demand for this; while high-profile events garner a broad audience, it is not uncommon for interested parties to be discouraged by accumulated costs and the stress-inducing organisation of accommodation and transport. To mitigate this factor, festivals and travel companies offer package deals to give consumers a fuss-free experience that will likely boost sales and attendance. An example can be seen with a prominent European music festival, Tomorrowland, and their offer of package deals that include event tickets, transport, and accommodation. Given that most music festivals are held on the outskirts, travel packages sound more enticing to a potential consumer as it takes the hassle away and is usually presented as the most cost-efficient option.

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Impeding factors

On the other hand, the rapid rise of music tourism has massive potential to boost local economies and has garnered much success and a positive track record. Some significant threats to music tourism may impede its growth and profitability in the future. Most prominently, as we’ve seen in the last few years, with the pandemic, health and safety concerns can have devastating effects on the music tourism market. Concerns about safety at large gatherings may give way to health and safety concerns, such as fear of contagious diseases, risk of dangerous stampedes, and ‘crowd crush’; these concerns could lead to event cancellations, attendance decline, and financial losses. Additionally, the unpredictability of factors like artist cancellations or environmental conditions significantly impacts music tourism. These factors are difficult to mitigate and may lead to disappointment and loss of credibility for a factor organisers cannot control.

While there are some potential threats to the rise of music tourism, with the massive growth potential and strategic marketing done by event organisers and local organisations, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. Taking on and capitalising on music tourism can significantly boost local economies. Continuing growth is expected, judging from pleasing results and significant beneficial outcomes in recent examples.

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