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Taylor Swift Eras Tour draws thousands of American fans to Europe

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There’s an American army heading for Europe as thousands of Taylor Swift fans are choosing to attend the superstar’s concerts in transcontinental style.

The pop queen erupted onto the European gig circuit on Thursday 9 May, in Paris, where she launched the first four nights of the latest leg of her Eras Tour at the French capital’s La Défense Arena. Helping to fill Europe’s largest venue, note entertainment commentators, are a significant number of American “Swifties”, partaking in a music-inspired travel trend that is being dubbed “tour tourism”.

Tour tourism

Up to 20% of ticketholders at Swift’s sold-out Défense gigs have been purchased by Americans, according to the venue. Meanwhile, Stockholm’s Friends Arena, next on the Swift itinerary in mid-May, says 10,000 attendees are coming from the US.

Tour tourism made itself felt again during Beyoncé’s 2023 Renaissance world tour, according to Expedia, but has been around for decades, observed during sought-after performances around the world back when Madonna and Michael Jackson were in their heydays. And the phenomenon of groupies who trail a rock group from venue to venue is nothing new.

“Swiftonomics”

But Swift’s effect is such big business it has earned its own moniker: “Swiftonomics.” Carl Bergqvist, Stockholm’s Chief Economist at the capital’s Chamber of Commerce has said of Swift’s arrival, “this is going to be huge for the tourism sector in Sweden and Stockholm in particular,” noting that the city’s 40,000 hotel rooms have sold out despite rocketing prices for stays during Swift’s tenure there. The singer-songwriter’s devotees are expected to boost the economy by 500 million Swedish kroner (€427 million).

A gig and a holiday for less than a concert ticket

Combining a trip abroad with a longed-for concert experience makes sense for some fans, especially those from the US eyeing the European marketplace. EU regulations controlling ticket prices and resales mean not only do music-lovers have more chance of laying hands on a ticket for a European gig, but also they might well bring in the cost of the whole trip for less than a single concert in North America. Tickets for Swift’s six November dates in Toronto for example, are already selling for up to CAN$3,000 (around €2,040) on secondary resale sites.

I can either spend $1,500 to go see my favorite artist in Miami, or I can take that $1,500 and buy a concert ticket, a round-trip plane ticket, and three nights in a hotel room.

Melanie Fish, Expedia spokesperson and travel expert

Themed travel

Themed travel experiences, from Disney cruises to sports events to solar eclipse tourism, have proved popular in the wake of Covid-19, as people have sought to maximise the number of items being ticked off bucket lists.

Still buying event tickets on foreign websites in different languages and using different currency is not for everyone. And the stakes are higher in case of cancellation, be it of flight or gig. So whether tour tourism will take off and go beyond the appeal of certain key artists, remains unclear.

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