To start with I believe it is important to define the core elements that will be dealt with in this short article. For this purpose instant gratification will be referred to as a direct, instantaneous experience. Whereas delayed gratification will be denoted by a person’s ability to wait in order to obtain a particular item. There has been very little academic reference to the concept of instant gratification. Although delayed gratification over the years has received far more attention. More recently, delayed gratification is said to be becoming a deeply unfashionable concept as many individuals are only interested in what is available to them immediately. In many respects, this would seem to show a switch from a delayed gratification culture to an instant gratification culture. Voase is part of a small minority of academics who has alluded to delayed gratification being threatened by the growing culture of instant gratification.
Advances in technology exist to be one of the key antecedents for establishing and supplementing this instant culture. The rise in the internet can be seen as a contributing factor in the emergence of this impulse orientated culture. The essence of this culture is associated with the pursuit of easiness where individuals can choose to indulge in an instant. We are all a part of this consumer driven society and consumerism has diminished our ability to delay gratification. However this instant gratification culture is not being mirrored in all industries. Tourism is one of those industries that fails to reflect and is not representative of the shift into this instant culture. Academics like Voase insist that tourism enjoys augmented salience in a culture in which gratification is otherwise compromised. Within the tourism industry it is incredibly difficult to find something that is instantly available. If you take a holiday for instance, there is usually a waiting time between you booking your holiday and you embarking on that holiday. For many the preparation of the holiday may be more important than the holiday itself. Purchasing holiday essentials like clothes suitable for the climate is a must, and simply visualising the holiday experience is part of this delayed process. Even short weekend holidays require you to check in at the airports three hours before, or better still pack your suitcase for a car journey! I would consider many tourism purchases to be ones of gradual accumulation over time, where the tourist plans to go on holiday, and culminates in the tourist travelling to their destination. Increasingly, society has shown an over reliance on products that are instantly available. An example of this is the introduction of ebooks from the likes of Apple and Amazon. Some ebooks are available a year ahead of paperback, and many consumers are now not willing to wait for the book to be released in paper format.
To sum up, antecedents like advancements in technology have enabled this instant gratification culture to reach new levels of intensity. Delayed gratification seems to have almost vanished from vast parts of our capitalist culture. However delayed gratification is still shown to be prevalent in industries like the tourism industry. Voase emphatically noted that changes in the cultural condition are threatening gratification gained through consumption. Tourism stands out as a field relatively unaffected by these advances. The industry (tourism) is not representative of our culture of impulse purchases that we invest in on a daily basis. The tourism purchase is a process of gradual accumulation, this delay in each phase of the proceedings could actually lead to greater and a more meaningful satisfaction, rather than the regular spur of the moment purchases. Therefore, tourists may not be immediately affected by their purchases, but this delay in the process may in fact produce a longer lasting and more memorable experience.
The year of the London Olympics has finally dawned upon us. London 2012 has been widely dubbed as being the “Regeneration Games” even before the Games have commenced. Like many other Games the London Organising Committee have recognised a series of development opportunities. These have come in the form of exploiting tourism agendas and regeneration plans which hope to transform the heart of East London. This begs the question of what are the long term objectives of the 2012 Olympic Games. Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport) is adamant that the games will be utilised as a driver to inspire more people to play sport. In recent times, the government has moved into an entirely new direction with the creation of the School Games and a new Youth Sport Strategy, namely Creating a Sporting Habit for Life. This is certainly well intended but I denote that it may be the last chance saloon for the government, and it may prove unsuccessful in reaping the rewards of the Games. Enhancing the state and quality of sport in the UK was already a difficult enough task without them realigning vast amounts of money away from sport. These governments cuts may start to erode and displace the sports development system. I am rather dubious about these new strategies, partly because I believe that the government is using the School Games as a last resort. For many that are already involved in sport and those that could be involved, these funding cuts may prompt a funding gap resulting in participation levels dwindling in the long term. But at the same time after the “feel good factor” of the Olympics has passed you may start to see rapid increases in the rates of those dropping out of sport.
Within the long term plans of the Games the organisers need to establish what will happen to the facilities and infrastructure after the Games has run its course. What has been noticeable from a government perspective is that the press and media centre’s situated on the Olympic park have been said to have gathered significant amounts of commercial interests from the likes of Loughborough University. At this moment in time a major issue is the long term legacy of the Olympic stadium, after West Ham United’s ownership bid collapsed. This was partially the result of persistent legal action from the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and other clubs such as Leyton Orient. But out of this disastrous situation there have in fact been a number of positives. On the 11th November 2011 London won the right to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships. This change in events could actually work in favour for West Ham United unless Tottenham Hotspur drastically alters their plans. West Ham United reiterated that they would retain the running track in their original planning application, whereas Tottenham Hotspur on the other hand wanted to remove the running track. The organising committees for both the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2017 World Championships now have to rethink the future role of the Olympic stadium. I would like to see the Olympic stadium fully utilised and retaining the running track would act as a valuable asset for the 2017 organising committee, and to the hosting of the World Championships.
Ultimately, the initial legacy plans will be compared to the resulting benefits that may be gained from hosting the Olympics (if in fact there are any significant benefits!). I would just like to leave you with a few final thoughts which primarily concern whether hallmark events like the 2012 Olympic Games actually live up to the hype, and whether the organisers succeed in making their regeneration visions a reality. Undoubtedly, it can be said that on many occasions the Olympic Games fall short in reaching the projected image or vision for the Games. Moreover, the Olympic Games is unable to build long term community cohesion, integration and is incapable of meeting the needs of the wider community.