Parasitic events and host destination resource dependence: evidence from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Michael Duignan*, Joan Carlini, David McGillivray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Major events possess limited resources relative to those they must seize, extract and control from a host destination. All sport events, to varying degrees, are parasitic as they are highly dependent onexternal host destination resource environments to deliver complex operational and strategic event objectives. This dynamic poses a management challenge as the event's existence, sustenance and survival is principally determined by: 1) the host's munificence (the host destination's willingness to offer up local resources), and 2) the event's ability to secure the resources required for an extended period of time. This article investigates these complex resourcing relationships through an in-depth case study of the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Australia, a well-developed tourist destination. Methodologically, we draw on interviews with representatives from the government, event managers and host community networks. Alongside the interviews, we analyse policy and planning documentation, and review in-person, observational evidence gathered before and during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. We apply, and extend, resource dependency theory and associated concepts to explain the event-host destination resourcing relationship. We detail how and why major events deploy constraint absorption (hard power) and co-optation (soft power) tactics to render a host destination's resource under internal control, reflecting on the parasitic nature of the event-host relationship. We conclude that the transfer of resource to external agents, justified as a means of reducing organisational uncertainty and operational failure, actually leads to deleterious outcomes for local stakeholders and the host destination, undermining the event's own social sustainability and inclusivity objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100796
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Destination Marketing & Management
Early online date25 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023


  • resource dependency theory
  • parasitic events
  • host destination resource environments
  • event cities
  • tourist destinations
  • constraint absorption
  • co-optation


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