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News Release, January 16, 2002
Economic Impact of the Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games  
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The Economic Impact of the Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games

V. Lessons Learned

What can we learn from previous Games? As noted earlier, the data records for previous Winter Games is both spotty and inconsistent and there has been little concerted effort to monitor post-Games impacts by host governments. Tourism data is frequently reported out of context. There is no standardized form of accounting of Games costs. The official reports also tend be written in an anecdotal style which leaves data open to interpretation.

We can say that Calgary (1988), Lillehammer (1994) and Nagano (1998) all reported large increases in tourism volume during their respective Games year. Calgary's results have been discussed above. A study of the impact of the Lillehammer Games, conducted three years after the Games, reported substantial and ongoing growth in tourism volumes for Norway.

Even with perfect data, the experience of previous Games host communities should be treated as broadly illustrative rather than predictive for the next host community. There are lessons to be learned from past experience but there are also political, geographic and social factors unique to the host community or region that influence both the host's approach to the Games and the outcome of those Games. The Nagano Games is a case in point. The 1998 Winter Games event was the most expensive Winter Games ever, by a large margin. This outcome was not the result of poor planning or execution. It was the result of a political decision by the host government to stage the Games across four geographically dispersed communities, requiring duplication of infrastructure and services.


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