Impact of Circus in the Tourism Industry

26/01/2014 11:31

Source: Tourismembassy

Impact of Circus in the Tourism Industry

Circus has always fascinated people because it is a unique form of 'live' entertainment. It is believed to have had its origins in the Roman Empire where the first ever circus company called Circus Maximus was formed. After the fall of the Roman Empire, there was no defined circus company and there were only small wandering groups that traveled from one place to another to showcase their skills. The circus industry was revived during the 18th century by a Briton named Philip Astley, who is often regarded as the 'Father of Modern Circus.' Since then, circus companies have flourished in different parts of Europe and it spread to other parts of the world such as Asia, Russia and the Americas.

The circus industry as a whole enjoyed rapid growth until the 1980s. During the next couple decades after the 80s, the industry became saturated as newer forms of entertainment came up and the industry structure was unstable. Moreover, animal rights became a hot issue and this negatively affected the reputation of the circus industry. All this led to an increase in costs and a decrease in audience and in turn, this contributed to a slump in the industry.



Circus Artists Pictures

Vera Hummel

Circus was revived yet again by a handful of companies such as Cirque de Soleil that brought about a fresh feel to the industry. The idea of Cirque de Soleil was simple – bring in the non-customers with innovative performances. They introduced the “human element” to circus and began to offer a unique and unprecedented entertainment for its audience. Such an out-of-the-box entertainment was an instant hit with the audience and the circus interest revived again. In many ways, Cirque de Soleil infused life back into the circus industry and made it an attractive form of entertainment for people of all ages.

This revival of circus has given an impetus to the tourism industry. More and more hotels around the world are looking to host circus shows on their property to attract crowds. This surge in popularity has given a big boost for the smaller players as well. Today, there are innumerable small circus companies and street performing groups that attract tourists in a big way. Also, they have brought about a new dimension to the idea of entertainment. Some examples of such small circus companies include Circo Raluy of Barcelona, the Squidling Brothers Circus Show of Philadelphia and the La Famigilia Dimitri of Switzerland. Each of these companies attract crowds because of their unique feats. The La Familgilia Dmitri, for example, has a performer in a fat suit instead of elephants while the Circo Raluy acrobats perform classic feats using abandoned equipment to remind viewers of classic circus performances. The Squidling Brothers Show, on the other hand, showcases weird freak show stunts such as hammering a knife into the performer's nose. These shows have captured the attention of the audience which in turn, has helped the tourism industry in a big way.

Besides established circus companies, there are hundreds of street performer groups scattered around the world who have benefited from this renewed interest in circus. These performers are in many ways, the vital link needed to attract non-customers towards the circus industry. They perform in popular public places such as Covent Garden in London and in most summer festivals as the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. These myriad of street performers are the true cultural ambassadors of a country because they showcase the local talent, music, language and acrobatics that have been passed on from generation to another. For a tourist who is looking to truly experience the culture of a country, these street performances are the ultimate destinations.



Circus Artists Pictures

Mathieu Gauthier

Sometimes, these street performers travel around the globe to exhibit their astounding acts. When they do so, these performers offer a glimpse into their local culture and tradition, thereby enticing the audience to travel to their native country. In this sense too, these performers act as the cultural ambassadors. They play an important role in boosting tourism in their respective countries.

These small circus groups and street performers helps the ancillary industries in tourism. During these shows, hotels are booked and restaurants are filled with visitors who travel to watch these circus shows. People who visit for circus shows end up exploring the local activities as well and all this generates revenue for the local economy.

In short, the circus industry has contributed to the growth of local tourism in a big way. As consumer spending increases during the next few years, the disposable income available for travel and tourism will increase and this will directly have a positive impact on both the circus and the larger tourism industry. It will also open up new opportunities for the smaller players and in turn, this will motivate more talented people to join the circus industry. This benefits the audience as well because they get to enjoy diverse entertainment. Overall, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved – performers, audience and the tourism industry at large.

No Limit Acrobatic

Circus Artists Pictures

No Limit Acrobatics

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