Taylor Swift’s European Tour: A Tour de Force Boosting Tourism Across the Continent”


Philippine, a 15-year-old girl who lives in Le Havre, is still undecided about her outfit for the Taylor Swift concert. “It’ll be a tribute to one of her albums, either Reputation [2017] or Gold Lover [2019],” she said. The big relief is that she already has her ticket to see the most listened-to singer on Spotify in 2023, having been a fan since she was nine. However, not everything went according to plan; Philippines won’t be going to see Swift in Paris, two hours from where she lives, where the American singer will perform in May. Accompanied by her mother and two friends, she will go to a concert two weeks later – in Madrid. “We had pre- registered for Paris, but we weren’t chosen,” she said.

Chosen? Philippines did not receive the “code” issued in a draw by the ticketing platform Ticketmaster to access the Paris sale. “But I managed to get a code for Madrid by getting one from someone on X (formerly known as Twitter).” Plus, she said, it would be a chance to visit Madrid for three days.

Plane tickets, hotel nights and expenses while there: That’s the Swift effect on European tourism in a nutshell. Eagerly awaited by her fans, the 34-year-old megastar, named “Person of the Year 2023” by Time magazine, will perform in 18 cities across the continent this spring. In France, she will fill La Defense Arena (35,000 tickets sold each night) in western Paris from May 9 to 12, and then Lyon’s Groupama Stadium (57,000 spectators per night) on June 2 and 3.

Arnaud Meersseman, director of AEG France, which will be producing Swift’s concerts in Paris and Lyon, readily described the tour as “extraordinary.” “We’re doing six dates in France, but we could have done 12,” said the producer. He will be overseeing the show’s logistics: 90 semi-trailers and 300 people will accompany “The Eras Tour,” its official name. In Paris and Lyon combined, more than 250,000 people will come to hear the writer and singer of “Cruel Summer” (2019) and “Shake It Off” (2014). This is only slightly fewer than Coldplay, bringing in 300,000 people over four nights at the Stade de France in 2022 – the record for a French tour.

Besides the sheer number of spectators, what makes these concerts unique is the intensity of the travel they generate. It’s because fans are willing to go to great lengths and because the ticket purchase system encourages irrational behavior. On July 11, 2023, when tickets went on sale for Paris and Lyon, “there were up to 1.2 million people on the waiting list,” said Meersseman. Ticketmaster’s servers couldn’t cope, leading to disappointment and frustration among fans, and adding to the pressure. Sales summarized a week later, “and everything was gone within the hour.” This means, for fans, the uncertainty of getting a ticket is so great that those who simply have the opportunity to buy tickets do so, even if it means traveling thousands of kilometers.

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