One of the major forms of cultural tourism development undertaken throughout Europe has been the staging of a growing number of cultural events. The event of European Capitals of Culture (ECOC) is probably the best example of the new trends of cultural tourism in Europe, which is therefore used in this article to demonstrate some of the key issues surrounding the event-led strategy for cultural tourism development. Based on case study, historical approach and document analysis, this study reviewed systematically the cases, documents and literatures of ECOC over a 20-year period. The research findings point to a number of ways in which the ECOC constitutes a boost for the development of cultural tourism in terms of realizing experience economy, enhancing city image, facilitating urban regeneration, promoting cultural production and consumption, as well as establishing partnerships.
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