Cultural Events’ Role in Tourist’s Decision-Making

Abstract

Tourism is as innate to the human nature as breathing. Ever since we were distinguished from apes in the evolutionary cycle, men have been discovering new lands and places. The desire to travel and explore new places has led to the rise and fall of societies over time. Most of the times, the satisfaction that tourists get, from visiting a certain tourist attraction or being inclined towards buying a particular product, is interpreted in monetary terms. The income from tourism is percolates into other sectors for growth especially so in the developing countries. Such enhanced satisfaction leads to growth and profitability of tourism sector in a region as a whole.

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However, the satisfaction is not merely derived from buying goods. It can also be experienced from visiting places with an intent of learning about new cultures and places. It has always been the holy grail of governments and administrators to provide utmost loyalty to visiting tourists. By connecting to them on soul level, by stirring their inner most desires, you can truly reach out to a whole new world of tourism. This is where cultural tourism kicks in. Cultural tourist is not looking for goods or services, business or industry relations. This exclusive group is looking for a cultural experience. Something that can only be provided with the help of local people on a much more localised scale.

Most nations and regions, in the process of deliberately concentrating on how to increase tourist satisfaction, leave an important part of cultural tourism planning. It is the events that can attract more tourists to their hometown. This is due to the assumption that many tourism administrations assume that a satisfied tourist is more likely to display a loyal behaviour. They forget that tourists are constantly looking for something new and exciting. Tourists looking for cultural experience can only return if local people connect to him in a much more innate manner. Although this might be the case, a place/region still loses customers despite high satisfaction degree exhibited by the same tourists. This is because the improvement in already available resources and natural possessions of a place are not made timely. Such stagnation causes the tourists to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

In addition, most dissatisfied customers never air their dissatisfaction openly. They just prefer to leave the place and go somewhere else. The reasons why a tourist has left dissatisfied stems from the possibility that he/she has seen something better somewhere else. This should be seen as an opportunity by the local authorities to improve upon their short comings. Due to ever increasing competition and availability of alternative tourism sectors, there is no dearth of other places for potential tourists. It is the hosts who have to find a way to acquire new clients, and to retain existing customers. It is there loss if a tourist does not like their home and do not wish to come back. Most nations have been pushed to use Region branding as a major method of retaining and attracting new tourists. Research has shown that a tourist’s loyalty is largely influenced by attitude towards cultural events, local flavors, administration and other important on-road factors. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to lay emphasis on effective tourism planning and management of local cultural events (Ashworth 1993).

There are various factors that influence cultural events. Locally organised cultural events need to be managed in a local manner. This can best be achieved by involving the local people and inculcating local flavor into the event. Many issues become bottlenecks when it comes to organising cultural events especially in developing countries. Primarily, these consist of functional, social, symbolic, experiential and last but not the least the physical appearance. Local flavor is the key to making such events successful. If tourists are given run-of-the-mill stuff that they can get anywhere, why would they return to a particular place (Alleyne-Dettmers 1997). These are intended to be looked at in detail in this study. The primary goals of this study are as follows:

  • Would a cultural event attract more tourists, especially foreign tourists?
  • Will it reshape their next year’s holiday plans and make them consider revisiting a certain region once more.
  • Will event make a tourist’s holiday decision easier for a visit in a certain country?
  • Are cultural events important for tourist’s to decide whether they will visit a country or not? Do they research prior to embarking on a trip?
  • How the local cultural events are important to the tourist decision making or are they blindly choosing a certain place?
  • The study is also aimed at developing a critical analysis of the effect of cultural events on tourists’ satisfaction and their loyalty to the host country.

To understand this better, the questionnaires are used to come up with the conclusion from the entire study. The study found out that, cultural events of a given tourism region of a nation plays a major role in tourists’ satisfaction and loyalty to a place in particular. A specific group of people do come in to savor only the culture and not the scenic beauty of a place. Tourists tend to mix up in the local flavor and savor the local customs and traditions depicted in the cultural events. Also, the locals can learn a great deal from the tourists. An industry can be spurned around local cultural festivals that can mutually benefit both groups.

Moreover, this study seeks to find the Effect of cultural events on the tourist satisfaction and loyalty in the context of tourism in a country. Cultural events have been one of the most accepted forms of marketing a certain region on world scale. These events incorporate a myriad number of attractions, including dances, food, clothes etc. Each of the factors can be an industry in itself. All make their mark in satisfying tourists and fulfilling their psychological needs and desires. Many marketers in the telecommunication sector have adopted and recognised this theory because it facilitates benchmarking of value during marketing. Nonetheless, the purpose of this research is to explore the main question of; what effect does cultural events benefits have on the tourist’s trip satisfaction and loyalty?

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Phenomenal Growth in the Past Two Decades

Tourism industry in the world has rapidly grown over the last few decades due to liberalisation, globalisation and a boost in the telecommunication industry. Better marketing industry has also played its part. It is now an open and competitive industry thanks to more and more governments loosening their noose over the society’s controls. Recent example is Myanmar. Its military rulers have let globalisation policies take control. This has led to a tourism boom in the country since not many in the world have seen this country locked for decade. The locals as well as the tourists are benefitting equally. Thus, cultural tourism industry is a mutual advantage industry.

The research design and methodology applied in this research dealt with questions such as what, why, where, when, to whom, or how the tourism industry evolved over the past two decades. The adopted research methodology applied careful analyse the research in question, research questions, hypotheses and the kind of data that predicts the future of this industry. The research tool used was initially tested for perceptive legitimacy by the exploratory factor analysis. The conclusions of this study used a number of references from secondary sources that helped in generating statements for the research instrument. The Secondary sources comprised of academic textbooks with information on cultural events, as well as other related material (printed or otherwise), theoretical concepts including normative theories on how to go about planning and managing cultural events in tourism sectors across the globe. The global nature of the research meant that some of the generalisations in the research can be applied to any area irrespective of the local factors to improve their local tourism industry and emerge as a major tourism player.

The research proved that cultural events affect the decision making process of tourists in a lot of ways particularly on their satisfaction and loyalty to a certain place. Knowing the effects of cultural events on tourist decision making will help a place’s administration in setting up effective marketing strategies in tourism sections in the their region. It is very vital to understand the judgments from visitors in all dimensions, whether they go parallel to the expectations and perceptions. Understanding this will help tourism managers create a marketing strategy based on the context of their product in relevance to the tourist. Also, by crafting a product as per client’s needs, they already have a winner in their hands.

Maintaining and improving cultural events and its values will ensure that tourism sector is positively secured in the visitor’s mind. Thus, it is important to understand the roles of satisfaction and loyalty for the enhancement of tourism in the whole world. All the small factors such as safety, stay, good, culture, people’s attitude create a persona of a place in the tourist’s mind. Merely providing the same thing over and over again will not lead to world class services. Temporarily, the industry may witness growth but after a certain time the excitement will wear off. So, constant efforts on part of local administration is needed to develop tourism industry in a place in an all round manner.

The summary, recommendations and conclusions in every chapter are focused on the findings. The recommendations and conclusions had to be emphasised depending on the evidence proved from the findings of the study. The recommendations that will guide future research had to follow certain specifications. The specifications can be derived from the study in question. In this case, the effects of cultural tourism have to be studied in detail. The findings can of great significance to the host countries.

The research came up with a number of generalised guidelines from all the cultural literature. Firstly, to start and establish the general effects of cultural events in the tourism sector, there is a crucial need for internal and external stakeholder commitment. Before commencing on the research, firstly, it is important to understand the internal identity. About the management of cultural events, tourism department should reflect the cost value for the events to be conducted. This has to be considered a strategic resource, reflect competitive advantages over other tourism events, and reflect strong principles and values of the place in question.

Generally, the events management and organisation was a learning experience throughout the research process. By using the positive research paradigm, the researcher concluded that it is crucial to understand inferential statistics for there to be a successful ending to the study. It was indispensable to describe, and implement the stages involving data analysis and procedures employed. It was vital to present findings using data analysis in a logical way. When it came to the requirements for a constructive research, the researcher noted that the recommendations, summary and conclusions had to follow rationally from the findings.

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The research identified and justified the usefulness of studying the effects of cultural events on tourists’ decision making process. Somehow, it was a challenge to pinpoint the research problem within the tourism context. Nonetheless, it was a positive experience in the study which sought to understand the research questions and objectives in a better way.

Research Problem

Cultural events tourism brought in a huge amount of income to a country in terms of payment for the goods and services. It accounted for 30% of global service exports and 6% of all overall goods and services exports. On top of that, it created employment opportunities in the service industry for members of the host community especially the people directly involved in the cultural events. Service related fields that benefitted consisted mainly of those businesses that offered services like travelling by air, sea and taxis; housing and hospitality services including hotels, motels, shopping malls, casinos, pubs, discos and theatres. A major contributing industry was the food industry which took a boost due to an increasing number of people.

Although, the place had a lot of historical marvels, architectural delights, natural treasures. Still, a rich heritage in ancient buildings or industry-specific artistic features was not enough to attract tourists. There was a need to find alternative ways of attracting more tourists. Something that can be built up on existing resources and not require more capital on part of the government. For example, local festivals are the key to success (Moscardo, 2007). Since the tourism industry was very competitive, there was a need to come up with the new and more effective methods of attracting tourists.

Cultural Events: Revisiting Existing Platform

Cultural events tourism more so provided a platform by coming up with a new source of income for the industry. Since it is based on already existing platform of local culture and beliefs, not much investment has to be done to revive it. It will be very easy to provide attractions for both foreign and even local tourists. This can in fact create a local tourism industry as well. So, not only the local cultural events cater to in-home tourists, they also attract foreign tourists. This is great for scoring political points as well. As such, reviving local cultural events industry seems to be the key to growth in the tourism industry as a whole. Tourists are exploring new levels of travel encompassing luxury as well as sensible tourism.

Cultural Tourism: Promoting Local Culture among Foreigners

Cultural tourism refers to the promotion of local culture, beliefs and traditional items among the foreigners. People from outside a region, read tourists, are given an insight into the attractions, traditions, cultural practices, art forms, history, festivals, everyday life experiences that are authentic and unique to the host community. As per Matheson, music and dance are integral part of every culture (Matheson, 2005). Cultural tourism enhanced economic activities in faraway for towns and cities, communities and states all across the country. It opened up a world of opportunities for the local people. Cultural events tourism was thus recognised as among the largest and fastest-growing tourism markets in the world. The key here is to be local and stay in touch with the local customs and traditions. According to MacKellar, festivals are the binding threads that join people from two different regions (MacKellar, 2007).

Cultural events and festivals were increasingly being used to promote lesser known destinations in a bid to attract more tourists and at the same time enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness in a global tourist park. Thus there was a great need to promote and preserve such cultural events, festivals and practices. Since the tourism industry is a very competitive industry, cities worked on developing comparative advantages so as to curb competition and create local distinctiveness. They needed to rise from slumber and provide world-class facilities while maintaining local flavor. According to Manning, local performances add the much needed spice required to entice the tourist and cherish the home feeling (Manning, 1983). This kind of tourism was, however, very largely dependent on the financial ability of the local economy, comprising of both the public and private sector. In order to support it, the local businesses have to work on the ground level. Political support was also of key significance in the promotion and development of cultural events tourism. And as McCarthy says, this ensures that cultural tourism is promoted from ground-up.

The factors that influenced a tourist’s destination choice were either internally or externally motivated, dependent on the individual. The internal ones included social, regional and personal factors in an individual’s personal life. While the external ones included host country’s safety perception, trust and confidence in the travel agency, the tourist’s personal travel experiences, political stability in host country, the degree of the perceived risk, travel constraints such as money and time among others.

The development and management of events and festivals had become a significant source of interest for many European cities. Cities that had rich history and cultural heritage especially buildings, had realised that these were no longer enough to attract tourists. Therefore, in the highly competitive environment of modern day tourism, events and festivals may be a way for cities to respond to economic, social, and environmental challenges. These rapid changes had attracted a lot of interest among tourism departments in many cities across Europe and elsewhere in the world. The growth and development of cultural events in cultural events tourism was aimed at balancing the economies of the participating countries by coming up with new sources of income and by revitalising old towns. Building a firm tourism industry based on the cultural tourism highly depends on the availability of local resources, mainly financial. Thus, it may be difficult for financially unstable countries to invest in it. But the right administration and organisational team can pull off cultural tourism in a cist effective manner. It requires a lot of effort on the planning team to carefully coordinate all the required resources and cause minimum financial wastage.

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Research Objectives

  • Would a cultural event attract tourists? Would it make choosing a destination easier?
  • Are cultural events important factor for tourists to decide whether they will visit (and revisit) a country or not?
  • How are cultural events important to tourist’s final decision making? Do these events influence choice of a potential tourist?

Research Questions

There was a set of questions that were used to guide the research study in the direction of a possible conclusion. Creswell recommends that the researcher use research questions as opposed to research objectives and hypotheses when carrying out a qualitative analysis (Creswell, 2008). Moreover, he recommends that two main questions and a set of sub-questions not more than seven must be used in order to get a clear idea about the subject’s thinking process. Noted researcher Bailey also recommend using a few research questions further supporting Creswell’s idea.

There are various ways of formulating research questions intended to strike at the heart of the matter. The researcher used the ethnographic approach which entails forming the questions from the literature review. This means that the local literature has to be studied prior to creating a set of questions aimed to entice the subject’s interests. The other approaches are ‘The Phenomenology Approach’ which uses broad questions referred to the available literature and ‘The Grounded Theory’ approach which uses questions related to procedures of data analysis.

The ethnographic approach as explained by Creswell, 1998, is basically a description and more so an interpretation of a given cultural community or the whole system. Some of the elements of the host community that the ethnographic research looked to examine included the observable and learned behavioural patterns, traditions and local customs and the host community’s overall way of life. This holistically approach aims to fully explore the host country’s way of life, economic, social, cultural and historical. The inquiry process was carried out through a pro-longed observation of the members of the host community and one-on-one interview with community members. The researcher adopted an ethnographic approach to the study as he wanted to ensure that he reduced the distance between the interpretation an insider has on the host community’s cultural practices and the actual meaning of the life experiences and cultural practices of the community being studied.

The main reason why an ethnographic approach to the study was adopted was because the researcher wanted to ensure that he reduced the distance between an outsider’s interpretation of the host community’s practices and the actual day-to-day life experiences and the cultural practices of the community under study. The researcher used qualitative research as he was only interested in in-depth studies of a smaller portion of the population. This gave much insight into the local customs and beliefs. Qualitative research methods do not look to obtain data that can be applied across the board. Nor are any types of statistics used in this research. Thus qualitative researchers do not apply statistics in data analysis. They instead collect information by conducting interviews, observing behaviours and carrying out surveys. This kind of research aims at trying to find out as much as possible about a small sample, group or a smaller local phenomenon. It is as much psychological as it is scientific. The research results of a certain society cannot be applied to any other society, regardless their similarities.

This is in the sense that each time a researcher looks to study another culture; he carries forth his previous experiences, ideas and pre conceptions from the other culture. This is however not a problem for ethnographic researchers as they benefit from the mere fact of being involved with the cultures of the communities they are studying. The small scale of the research proves beneficial as the researcher is unable to compare many aspects of other cultures, including his own. This protects the research being done from any external factors.

The researcher came up with the following research questions ethnographically:

  1. Do you think there is any market for cultural events tourism in urban tourism?
  2. What cultural practices, events and festivals motivate you to visit a certain city?
  3. What are the pull factors behind cultural events tourism in urban tourism? Are these factors influential enough to offset the urban tourism industry?
  4. Who is a cultural events tourist? Do they represent an industry?
  5. What are the main characteristics of a cultural events tourist?
  6. What market opportunities are available for cultural events and festivals tourism?
  7. What are the issues in cultural events tourism development and promotion?
  8. How are the local, urban authorities, government and host community involved in cultural events tourism?
  9. How does cultural events tourism influence the government in making policies for the tourism industry?

These questions are mentioned in detail in the questionnaire section in the end.

Literature Review

The literature review section focused on providing a contextual base for the research project especially on the role played by cultural events and festivals in influencing the choices of tourist’s potential destination. It further helped identify the areas that other scholars had covered and those that had not been sufficiently dealt with. Thus, the need for further research was felt during the analysis phase. This section also looked at cultural events and festivals in terms of their contribution to the local economy and the tourism industry as a whole, especially in the revitalising and re-branding of cities, in making of government policies towards tourism, and in connection with culture and tourism. It also dealt with their interdependence and how the two can be used in one context when it comes to local cultural tourism.

Cultural events

Since time immemorial, studying foreign cultures has been a major objective behind great travelers. Ever since man learned to explore, people have been shifting places only to experience new regions, cultures, beliefs and places. This inner urge to be surprised from new experiences has led man on an evolutionary binge. Gene pools have been formed and reformed just because of this innate urge to travel and discover new cultures. Even to this day, travelers make their decisions based on the sole factor that they will learn new things from a far off culture. According to Richards and Crespi-Vallbona, cultural and events play a huge role in tourism at all levels, from the global highlights of world culture, to the attractions that underpin local identities (Crespi-Vallbona, Richards, 1996).

These cultural events and practices played a crucial role in influencing a tourist’s destination. People from different cultural backgrounds had varying image perceptions of a destination. According to Hede, Getz and Jago, a cultural tourist participates in cultural activities away from their homes (Hede 2003, Getz, 2002, Jago, 2005). This is known to give a unique experience to the tourist since sometimes he/she discovers something totally different from his native culture. Old beliefs are shed and new born when a tourist experiences a culture shock.

“The key stakeholders in the tourism industry, the government, tourism industry investors and tourism operators had an understanding of the processes that determined tourist’s destination choices” (Hede 2003, Getz, 2002, Jago, 2005. As competition for tourist numbers and dollars increased, this understanding incorporated many more factors. “The little study done in that area, included social variables, like migration and tourist information networks as some of the major factors played a very significant role more so when making travel destination choices” (Jackson 2001).

This was a very surprising discovery as it had long been recognised and proven through prior studies that culture greatly influenced people’s decision making processes when it comes to travelling.

Sometimes, similarities in cultures of two different regions also lead to tourism. This can be gauged from the innate desire to learn how people perform similar tasks in a totally different geographical place. This relationship was however not specifically researched in order to be tested on any group of people. Jackson (2001) carried out a study in order to measure a relationship that is based on the cultural backgrounds of the communities in question in empirical terms. He used the national level secondary data that was based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Jackson came to the conclusion that those people from nations that were highly individualistic like Australia, New Zealand Canada and the United States preferably chose destinations that were culturally similar to their own. While tourists from highly collectivist nations like Colombia and South Korea chose destinations that were dissimilar to their own. With time, the governments and administration of these regions have to take such factors into account while drafting policies for tourism sector.

The tangible and intangible elements of cultural heritage have a unique characteristic which then give them a very attractive potential to become tourist resources. These entities have much more potential to be transformed into promotional products and sold off as cultural tourism in the global arena. Tourism that was tied to territorial cultural references was a very significant element in terms of facilitating a touristic view which was replicated in almost every country in the world and produced very diverse experiences. Today, culture plays a very significant role in terms of being a product to be consumed in a framework that some authors have defined as the transition from the industrial production to the cultural production.

Real world examples will be much more helpful in driving the point home. Some of the cultural events known worldwide are as follows; podhore folkloric celebrations which is an international folkloric festival, shephereds’ days which is an international shepherds’ culture, open air museum in Zubere, Night viewing of Fabulus castle, Rafting of Orava river all from Orava region of Zilina self governing region. In Turiec region, we have Fantasy biennale which is an international competition in children’s art, Library art biennale which is an international competition in library art.

The potential of culture to influence the decision making process of tourists depends on certain activities in any given society in the world today. The study will also try to look at areas that tourists pay much attention to during their decision making process. These factors are discussed in varying degree in different cases. For example, a single traveler may not pay much attention to cultural festivals in a far off land. However, a family may consider such matters in order to teach the kids something new. Some of them are: theatre and dance, visual arts, libraries cinema, cultural centre and cultural heritage of societies in the world.

Potency of these cultural events is wide and many. There is continuity of tradition and the history of communal art and culture that is making every individual realise the importance of culture, traditions and beliefs. Culture acts as a platform for the local community to display its uniqueness to the world. Thus different cultures come together to exchange and in the process interconnecting culture and tourism at large. When it comes to culture, there is existence of certain entries in the orb of culture and eventually cultural performance carries some qualities. We have had also to achieve good governance, policy implementation, effective management and the expanded experience and expertise in areas of interests. People have had to embrace change in certain sectors that needed change due to increased revolution in technology. Thus, openness is achieved in the process. There is also diversity and variability in resources of finance and distribution of resources to the targeted groups in the society. All these have led to gradual development of the international cooperation thus attaining peace and stability for economic activities. Economic stability, therefore, of the involving nations is achieved and also other regions in the world. Such tourism can also be referred to one that influences governance across nations.

Cultural events, if not well planned for, cannot be a basis for tourists to make good decisions. Ultimately, it may not be favourable to the host country. Some of these include; absence of strategic planning for the events, failing to put in place long term strategies. Sometimes it is a result of poor assessment and evaluation of long term plans put in place by the authorities involved in tourism sectors. Officials with little expertise and experience in tourism sectors leads to poor planning for the cultural events. The deciding bodies do fail in establishing, setting and differentiating priorities in development. The most overlooked factor is the financial planning wing. It is also due to insufficient communication within the decision making authorities. The executives do not properly pay attention to the details involved in the event organising.

Conflict of priorities, among the institutions of culture and obsolete processes used in execution; works in same manner to defame an event. Objectives contradiction and real possibilities, absence of independence when it comes to the economy (finance in particular) mar the success of an event. Premises also lack the needed technical equipments in entities. Lack of awareness and information about the event being organised also leads to failure. The marketing and promotional facilities are not always managed properly. There are no professional communicators in place and poor promotional targets are achieved. The lack of coordination among various organising departments leads to poor execution and a sub-standard final product. Institutions and organisation have inconvenient employee structures and lack of possibilities to get human resources. Last but not the least, developing countries have to combat corruption in public departments to fully make an event a success. It is a huge challenge to properly organise a cultural fest.

Contribution of cultural events and festivals to tourism

Cultural events and festivals played a huge role in terms of their contribution to the economy and the tourism industry in general. These contributions were social, economical and even environmental. Cultural events and heritage tourism was used as a tool of economic development that helped achieve economic growth by attracting visitors from outside the region of the host community, who were culturally motivated and attracted. In present, however, society is revived as a crucial promotion tactic to persuade those tourists with talent in cultural arts. Local artists are being given a chance to display their art in the best possible manner.

Cultural events and heritage tourism was a branch of tourism that dealt with the cultural heritage of the community. It kept a detailed account of the cultural practices, events, beliefs and tourism that were occurring regionally.

There were various reasons why cultural events and heritage tourism was important to a country and the host community. First of all, it had led to an upward growth and boosted cultural value of a place. It established and reinforced identity thus giving members of the host community a sense of self-pride and self-esteem. This is something that future generations will cherish for generations to come. It protected the social inheritance, with society as a tool.

According to a study carried out by authors Oh, Min-Jung Lee and Timothy Jeonglyeo, who carried out a study to examine 17 out of the 30 festivals that were held on Jeju Island, in Korea, cultural events and festivals are a huge determinant in a tourist’s destination choice (Daniels, 2007). The study also identified links between these festivals and events in the perception of these islands by tourists. This helped determine what tourists actually perceived about these islands. Results from the study suggested that the more the tourists were aware of the festivals, the more likely they were to consider the festivals as a significant factor when choosing their destination.

These festivals gave them a thorough insight into the local culture and helped them understand local people better. The level of satisfaction from attending the festivals was directly proportional to the level of overall satisfaction of the destination. In some cases, sport themd fests that display local sports also gain traction (Daniels, 2007). Recommendations are provided for the successful management of festivals at a destination to attract more tourists including systematisation of the festival and self-supporting festivals. This study contributed to the research into the role of festivals as a main tourism catalyst not only as a supporting event for the tourism industry in a well-developed tourist destination.

In the past, cultural events tourism has primarily been stimulated by diversification of the existing tourist destinations and attractions or simply as an imitation of existing models according to Crompton, Getz and McKay (Crompton & McKay, 2007, Getz, 1997). The relationship between cultural events and festivals and tourism was the fact that these events had a great potential in territorial development and they had been analysed to show how they had affected the tourism industry and the participating country’s economy in general and more so the overall social impact. The financial effects of these events can be seen in due time in the communities organising these events. It also acted as a generator of economical benefits in terms of the long term promotional benefits, the induced and directed benefits or the increased value of local proprieties.

The local arts and grafts industries are more likely to witness a boom from such events. Cultural tourism calls for the foreigner to take something local to his home. Finally, the effects were also explained as the elements of a basic portfolio of the local touristic product that was ready to stimulate the demand in times of low season, to create opportunities to common action and to improve the image of the destination. On the contrary, there were some circumstances in which there were negative socio-economic effects due to the implementations of touristic events that were observed in the community members. For instance, there were distortions observed in the life style of residents and interruption of their normal everyday activities during these events and festivals, there was also increased noise and traffic, the emergence of crime and vandalism was also seen, congestion in the area, an exodus of residents was also clear, the use of infrastructure was overstretched and so forth. However, these factors could not stop the march of progress in the tourism industry.

There were many disadvantages and advantages that were highlighted by the study to bring out the difference between these small events and those that tend to be relatively large. Often these small events had lots of local voluntaries as argued by Kim, Gursoy and Ryan (Kim, Gursoy et al., 2003; Ryan, 1998). This was done by calculating the number of visitors as it happened that occasional visitors were more than the normal visitors. Many of the large events lost money when it came to calculating benefits based on a very strong base of potential visitors. The head count cannot be determined to an exact number prior to the event. For example, by believing that they could break the seasonality of tourist visits without putting into consideration that sponsors preferred a guaranteed audience during the high season. This leads to diminishing interest from the investors. Also the competence with previous events made it difficult to attract visitors from outside the region or that events could be sequentially produced, that is, those that had succeeded without reaching minimal conditions of creativity or adapted to the local peculiarities.

Cultural events in Tourist’s Evolution and Economic Prosperity

Herbert noted that there had not been any clear definition of heritage tourists, cultural events tourism or even cultural tourists. He argued that there had been an increase in the number of cultural events tourism since people had began getting a deeper understanding of other people’s cultural practices, at the same time acquiring new perspectives of life, frequented visiting of cultural sites, events and festivals (Herbert, 1995). These were the major pull factors behind the growth and development of cultural events and to be able to assess whether the trend was just temporary as a shift in the demands of the market or if it was a significantly basic socio-cultural change in tourism practices. There was need for a better and deeper understanding of people who visited places merely for sightseeing as pointed out by Jansen-Verbeke (Jansen-Verbeke, 1996).

Several surveys carried out before had basically grouped cultural tourists into three main categories, based purely on typologies. The first category was of the culturally motivated tourists who chose to visit nearby attractions and they were more highly motivated to learn and benefit from each opportunity. These are eager souls who have an innate desire to learn new cultures, languages and about new places. These kinds of tourists spent just a few days in a bid to explore a place with the help of a tour guide. They, however, made up a very small portion of the tourism market and thus were not very significant. Next were the culturally inspired tourists who traveled in search of a specific cultural theme and frequently visited well known places of culture, heritage, festivals and exhibitions. They also travelled a lot though they did not stay in one place too long and on top of that they collected artifacts from all the places they visited. There are several forecasts that indicate a growing number of travelers will belong to this category of culture consumers.

The third group was of culturally attracted tourists who preferred a holiday at a seaside; beach or mountain resort and they also liked to visit historic sites in the countryside or even in the city, museums, churches and so forth. They didn’t select their preferred destinations based on cultural facilities but on other factors but they appreciated all the cultural heritage and historic events. Cultural events are not their top most priority. However, they do relish whatever local culture and flavor they can experience during their visit. Primarily, these consist of peak season summer travelers who have already chosen their destinations months in advance. According to Healy, the natural resources are the integral parts of the cultural tourism and their relation should not be ignored (Healy, 1994). Geographic and natural factors are of more significance to these tourists instead of cultural factors.

Local and regional development policies were very crucial in the growth and development of the tourism industry. In order to properly foster the strategies and policies regarding cultural tourism, the regional as well as local developmental policies have a significant impact. This is due to the fact that local administration may, in due time, ignore the tourism potential of a place while drafting governing policies. This can hamper the potential tourism industry. In fact, tourism must always be a deciding factor during a policy-setting meeting. Officials must be made aware that the tourism potential of a certain place is impacted by the consistent changes in the laws and regulations governing day to day life of its citizens.

Statistics show that Britain’s Events industry is worth a whooping £25 billion to the country’s economy. Moreover, the country is globally recognised as a world leader in meetings and events spearheading a highly skilled, talented and creative tourism industry. The tourism sector in Britain employs more than 530,000 people and can increase employment numbers rapidly as the number of events expand. However, without capital investment the industry could take a hit. The tourism sector provides skilled employment to a diverse workforce nationally and provides an opportunity to nurture and develop creative, logistical and marketing talent. These meetings & events showcase Britain to over 8 million international business visitors every year boosting trade and exports through over £100 billion of goods sold at exhibitions and trade shows. The meetings and events sector is vital to over 25,000 small businesses and supports hotels, attractions, transport companies, florists, caterers, retailers and many, many more.

These meetings & events contribute to infrastructure development on a national, regional and local level from both the public and private sectors. The events help in developing diversity in our local culture and heritage providing opportunities for further destination expansion and growth. As per McDonnell, Allen and O’Toole (1999), these festivals are known to brand an entire nation as strong, independent and culturally rich for years to come. Economically, the benefit of these meetings and events for instance the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games is forecast to be about £1.8 billion and will help to further place the UK as a destination for major international events. They more so have a positive social impact on the members of the host community in terms of contributing to their societal growth, education, social diversity, community spirit and civic pride. Local people must be made more tolerant of the tourism development in their country to benefit to the highest possible degree (Mihalik and Simonette, 1998).

There is a tendency of exponential increase of this kind of events since the 1990’s of the last century and it has been stimulated by diversification of the existing tourist offer or simply as an imitation of existing models (Crompton & McKay, 2007, Getz, 1997). The relation that the events have with the potential territorial development has been analysed from the perspective of the economical and social impacts, and less from the environmental impact perspective. The effects that the presence of events and festivals cause on the local communities can be explained in three different levels: as social impulse (benefitting the development of a sense of identity in the community and the proud of its heritage), as generators of economical benefits long term promotional benefits, induced and directed benefits or increased value of proprieties), and as elements of as basic portfolio of the local tourist product (ready to stimulate the demand in times of low season, to create opportunities to common action and to improve the image of the destination).

On the contrary, in some circumstances, it may appear some negative socio-economical effects derived from the implementation of touristic events have also creped in (distortions in the life style of residents and interruption of the normal everyday’s rhythm during the celebration of the events, noise and traffic increase, emergence of crime and vandalism, pollution, damage to public property, congestion, exodus of residents, excessive use of infrastructures, etc). This communication is centred in the small touristic events.

Public artworks likewise helped to establish a sense of place, of purpose and of our time. It can stimulate the built-up of architectural environment of cities and towns. For instance, the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and the St. Louis Arch are works of public art that have captured the imagination and inspired millions of people from all around the world. The 2004, the National Travel Survey (Travel Industry Association of American) did a survey which showed results that 81% of American adult travelers included an arts, heritage or historic activity in their trips of 50 miles or more annually. These are travelers who were part of a lucrative market whereby 30% of them said that their preferred destination choice was definitely influenced by a specific cultural event. Cultural travelers also stayed longer and spent more money than the average tourist.

Market for cultural tourism in urban tourism

The ‘pull’ factors in a tourist’s choice for a holiday destination included: cultural events, local flavors, ethnic factors, the tourist’s personal interests, pre-historic sites, museums and monuments. The affinity for the local culture as well as the cultural events, tend to have an impact on the tourist’s overall trip. Its impact is far deeper than the impact material things have on the tourists. Issues like hotels, proper infrastructure, and administration, all come secondary to these cultural tourists. As such, the destination choice can be affected just because the tourist wants to experience a new culture. Sometimes, tourists are so inclined towards a certain cultural aspects that they become potential investors. These people are known to invest in this industry sometime in the future thereby establishing a link between the two different cultures. This is where cultural tourism can give rise to new trade relations among two nations.

Currently, the current value of events tourism in Britain amounts to about £36.1 billion and is estimated to grow up to £48.4 billion by the year 2020. A lot of talent is thriving on this industry and government has excellent policies in place to safeguard the participants of this industry. This checks the fall of an industry even in financially distressing times.

Who is a Cultural Tourist?

In 2002, it was difficult to answer the question on who is a cultural tourist since there were a variety of definitions of cultural tourism as they were of cultural tourists. It can be anyone who travels to the nearby town to see a historical architectural marvel. It can also be a man travelling thousands of miles to experience a culture totally opposite to the one he belongs to. Cultural tourism is all about relishing something new, ethnically and geographically.

The growth and development in Spain’s cultural events tourism was attributed to the constant high rate of social movement in popular social and cultural events. The country invested heavily in cultural tourism sector. Despite its economic woes, the country is witnessing a huge increase in the number of international visitors each year. It is rumoured that Spain might as well use its natural resources, cultural gems and history to come out of a dwindling debt crisis. However, both the local cultural industries as well as the government have to work in tandem to achieve this distant dream. The country has to be projected in the right light in order to attract foreign dollars.

Cultural Events and festivals: Molding government policies For an Industry

Currently, cultural event tourism has grown from being seasonable to becoming fairly stable over time due to other activities such as leisure, business tourism, and conference tourism being involved in it. Cultural events tourism and urban tourism have become very popular in very many European nations. It is gaining recognition in almost all European countries and these nations have tailored their foreign tourism policies according to this industry. The Euro-barometre survey shows that cultural tourism accounts for almost 17 percent of the tourist market. Several studies show that following the main criteria for selecting holiday destinations, urban tourism and cultural events tourism rank the highest. The pull factors are cultural events, interests, prehistoric sites, museums, and monuments.

Urban tourism highly appealed to the younger generation, those below 35 years of age. While cultural events tourism attracted the older generation, people over 65 years. These trends however depended on some factors like economic activities, education, social status and marital status. In cultural tourism, the weakest link was the unemployed, retired, the old, low-income earners, the rural folk and the unmarried. According to various surveys, young people of the higher social status 18 to 34 years tend to prefer urban visits as they better understood urban tourism attractions. Mostly, urban tourists and cultural events tourist didn’t stay too long. Such tours may not even last more than a week. Seasons however helped to determine this.

For example, school holidays played a crucial part in selecting a particular destination. Parents give due importance to educating children while on a tour. The surveys carried out in this area were however not conclusive and therefore there was need for further research so that we could understand cultural tourism pull factors and the motivation patterns of cultural and urban tourism destinations. The analysis of these pull factors was important because of the need to come up with effective ground for the incorporation of cultural events tourism into national tourism policy and urban development plans. The inter-dependent nature of these two industries must be used for financial as well as societal gains. Administrators could use this knowledge in drafting policies that cater to the cultural tourism industry.

The KPMG, 1993 stated that the pull factors for cultural events tourism and urban tourism are culture, events, traditional art and craft, festivals, local sightseeing, shopping and sports. These results were in line with other studies in European cities where cultural activities attract up to 40 percent of the activities of tourists in the city. The foreign tourist tours are also catered as per cultural events. Specifically, most of first-time visitors came mainly to experience cultural events, festivals and prehistoric aspects of the cities, and sightseeing.

Another group of attraction was shopping, which accounted for 15 percent of the activities tourists participated in. This category also included attending events, festivals and entertainment facilities. Furthermore, shopping for local art and crafts scored over other items. This was where the role of events in nightclubs, nightlife, restaurants, and pubs was clearly seen. Jansen-Verbeke observed that in a systematic review of the profiles of tourists in different European nations was not yet possible. This was because every survey had a different format in terms of research problems, questionnaire, time, place, and different definitions and dimensions of activities (Jansen-Verbeke, 1996).

At the same moment, analysis after data collection may be taking place as the research continues. The process is simultaneous and a lot of introspection is required from the researcher.

What goes on in data collection in the process of research is shown below. The secondary data gains its background from primary data. The basis of the secondary data is derived from conclusion in the primary data. This helps lay a firm foundation to the whole approach and maintain the flow of the research. The researcher uses these data collection techniques for secondary data.

Cultural Events and festivals: Molding government policies For an Industry
Source: Mertens, M 1998, Research methods in education and psychology: Integrating Diversity with quantitative and qualitative, Sage Publication, Thousand Oaks, CA.

The Strength between Culture and Tourism

On revision of the cross-cultural literature that was available on marketing, tourism and psychology of tourists, the researcher came up with four basic elements of culture that played a huge role in influencing a tourist’s destination choice. These were:

  1. The national or native culture of a tourist.
  2. An individual tourist’s acceptance level of his internal culture.
  3. Cultural practices of the destination in question.
  4. The degree to which the cultures of the tourist and host country overlap. Sometimes, tourists are more likely to visit a place having similar cultural values and beliefs.

An individual’s national culture is a huge determinant in a tourist’s destination choice and has been used to explain the tourist’s behaviour, preferred tourist activities and even travel patterns. On top of that, Japanese tourists seemed to prefer short holidays, while Europeans went for longer holidays. These factors are key factors in deciding the location as well. Japanese tourists were the most reluctant to try new cuisines.

There are some segments that were aligned with cultural values and were found in the study of American tourist. Some researchers had also studied culture as a destination attribute and as a major reason for visiting a particular destination. This therefore clearly indicates that cultural differences were a major driver of tourism destination choice.

Various researchers have argued that a similarity in cultures went a long way in influencing the intentions of tourists to visit certain destinations. Tourists were more likely to choose a novel destination if their home language was spoken at that destination. Tourists from Saudi were very concerned about the image portrayed by the West and therefore preferred to visit Muslim countries. This can be not be a long-term shift in tourism patterns and are attributed to a certain time in history. Following the 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S.A, the Muslims safety could only be guaranteed in Muslim countries. Similarly, the safest destinations for Westerners were other Western countries. These researches showed that, it was more likely for a tourist to choose a destination that is less distant from his/her own culturally. It is more of a cultural choice than a psychological one. People are also more likely to be attracted to others who have similar attitudes and beliefs. Such an attitude stems for the fact that people are more likely to find solace in their own kind when in far off land. Also, the curiosity to notice how similar tasks are performed in a geographically different location is another driving force for such tourists.

The construct on national culture relies on the mere assumption that there are larger cultural differences between countries than within countries.

It was also important to take into consideration the needs and desires of the local community, because tourism development highly depended on the community’s hospitality.

Forms of tourism with cultural events and tourism development

Forms like wellness tourism, countryside tourism, agro tourism, sport tourism, health tourism and cultural-education tourism are the most known in the world of tourism.

With the expansion of human resources and economic activities in the world, Tourism still stands to be the most vibrant sector. For ideal and incredible conditions or for short stay visits all the year round, tourism provides the best and appropriate alternative. You will be in a position to find natural features, cultural monuments, sports recreational activities, historical monuments, folk architecture among others. Tourists are more likely to experience health benefits as well while on a health tour. European countries seem to have mastered the art of promoting their culture on an international scale and still maintaining their natural resources (Degreef, 1994).

Tourism has led to good linkages internationally. For instance, transport routes and border gateways are established once friendly relations among locales begin to emerge as a result of tourism. Taking an example of Poland and Czech Republic which has linkage with Zilina region thus stimulation of developments and economic growth. Tourism displays various activities that depict international cooperation across the border which has been on the run for a couple of years. For tourism to develop to the international level, marketing should play a very important role in fostering a better environment for cooperation and activity. Coordination of all actors in the development of tourism is vital. Marketing should be able to display the products and services to potential tourists and visitors with the objective of creating quality in them compared to other services and products from different sectors.

Countryside tourism is an essential form of tourism in the world today. It offers a better opportunity for visitors, tourists and local citizens to interact mutually. Training is very vital when it comes to citizen education in tourism sector. Citizens must be made welcoming of the tourists and an industry is sprung around it. This is so because training creates a good relationship between the visitors, tourists and local citizens. Language barrier is another factor restricting the movement of tourists in deeper parts of the country. This is a great task on part of the local administration. It must be carefully eliminated by educating the local people about new languages and cultures. Countryside as a form of tourism also takes the fore front in supporting small and even medium enterprises that are really fanatical to domestic resources use. The community should actively take part in provision of services and other products as these greatly promotes culture, customs, old traditions to name but a few. Small enterprises can learn a great deal from the country side tourism as it promotes local industry and traditional dairy and agricultural practices.

Certain services may be lacking in some areas of the community may be due to unemployment and lack of information. This can be solved by making an effort to educate and train individuals or even find a way of attracting them in professions that are unoccupied. All this can be done with the help of institutions and vocational schools specialising in the sector, in this case tourism. The community should therefore embrace their culture, customs and even the unique types of food may interest visitors thus giving the region a unique and very novel character.

Income received from tourism is used to develop the region into, for instance, a municipality then with time into a city having good environment and infrastructure. To be able to have new infrastructure of high standards, available resources and facilities should be used transparently and with caution. Educating people of the region and giving training to them is very helpful in the tourism sector. One can be sure of better services that are offered to individuals. Small businesses can thrive on local customers but the big money surely does come from foreign tourist.

For tourism to be taken to the world class level promotions should be done at foreign and domestic tourism fairs and publishing products and services offered in the tourism sector. Efforts should be made to have united fairs with cross border regions and establishing routes with other international tourism sectors. The internet should also be used in dissemination of information to the intended market all over the globe. There are other organisations and business association that are in the field of tourism that need to be promoted and thus giving tourism a better chance of growing.

Using a website in providing information on activities offered in tourism is also essential for tourism as a sector. The website should have contents about activities, accommodation for visitors and tourists, catering and security services. The website should also contain information on events, packages, contacts for professionals, catalogue and interesting pictorials that may attract and inspire potential visitors and tourists to visit the country.

Associations should be used to seek out to disseminate information essential in tourism to the potential visitors and tourists. With these associations, coordination is achieved in the public and private sector having in place marketing objectives thus improving the environment for tourism. Associations are also mandated to increase citizen’s interest and eliminating disparities in the socio economic section in the expanse. Citizen’s interests should also be noticed while promoting tourism in the country and there welfare must be taken care of (Decco, C. and Baloglu, S. 2002). New markets are created in tourism sector thus organising various events to improve the off season tourism in the country.

Tourism development is an essential part for any given developing country and the developed one. Tourism is one of the main sources of national income due to a variety of advantages. Availability of natural historic features, unique folk art, abundance of mineral, thermal springs, and education level of local citizens makes it advantageous for better conditions favourable for tourism.

According to Faulkner, Chalip, Brown, Jago, March and Woodside (2000) argued that events are widely driven by the expected attendance. They continued to argue that on the international tourism, mega events have great to a level of attracting international audiences. Marketing is, therefore, essential way of motivating people to attend vital events which then makes the tourism industry as a whole to expand and grow.

The general complexity of motives at issue has been debated by Backman, Backman, Uysal and Sunshine 1995, Crompton and McKay 1997, Getz and Cheyne 2002, Formica and Murrmann 1998, not forgetting certain areas such as sports events discussed by Gibson, 1998, 2006, and also business and convention events by Rittichainuwat, Beck and Lalopa 2001. Understanding how essential the constraints are widely has been discussed by Kim and Chalip 2004 as has the importance of market segmentation, with Formica and Uysal 1998, illustrating that how effective segmentation demonstrates the success of promotions in the tourism industry. Segmentation can be applied to sports as well. According to Hall and Hodges, Sydney Olympics gave the Australian continent a great chance to show its cultural heritage to the world (Hall and Hodges, 1996). International sporting events are known to offer world class facilities to local sportsmen also. These events ensure that tourism sector is also boosted. As Misener and Mason pointed out, these events must be organised with the highest degree of professionalism (Misener and Mason, 2006)

With admiration to stakeholders in general, there has been a growing interest when it comes to events. There has been less interest in enquiring about how people engage with events, both in leisure and tourism domains. Motivational research, for example, has established that socialisation is an important factor in motivating people to attend events, yet little attention has been paid to understanding how individuals come together to collectively engage in events. In this context, the concept of ‘practicing’ festivals and events settings might be usefully employed to analyse the ‘emotional geography of sociability, of being together with close friends and family members from home’.

Clearly, also, the consumption of events is shaped by power dynamics. In the festival literature there has been a suggestion that festivals can reproduce place so as to privilege consumption by visitors, with space being transformed such that it is tourists who feel at home and locals who feel dislocated.

However, further implied here is the idea that tourist’s engagement in an event informs that event’s reproduction. This draws attention to the fact that the production and consumption of events are closely linked rather than being two distinct arenas of activity, and that the consumption of events, like tourist products and experiences more generally, is an important part of the ongoing reproduction of both the event and the host place.

Research Method

The research method that was used in the study is qualitative. This research study adopted a qualitative research approach so as to study first-hand from the inside how cultural events were influential in tourist’s decision making. The qualitative study was used since it provided a platform for the researcher to apply knowledge claims, techniques and strategies of data collection and analysis (Creswell, 2008). Some of the perspectives that the qualitative study borrowed from include postmodern thinking, ideological perspectives, philosophical perspectives, and systematic perspectives. All these perspectives influenced the qualitative research methods. The researcher based this study on a primary research that he carried out using qualitative research techniques for data collection and the drawing of conclusions.

The theories used in this qualitative study offered a broad explanation of the attitudes and behaviours with variables and constructs. For instance, in the ethnographic studies, cultural themes, or elements of a culture for studying qualitative research problem were used as seen by (Wolcott, 1993). The ethnographic approach helped the researcher to identify issues of the host community in terms of cultural events and social relationships with tourism, and moreover to offer explanations of the changing trends in the tourism industry. According to Fetterman, ethnographic approach pinpoints the exact nature of research to be undertaken as per the area and the culture (Fetterman, 1998). The researcher identifies themes from the literature review that guide the study and offer broad explanations to cultural activities and tourism experiences.

The researcher developed a grounded theory based on research findings when the study was completed. When carrying out tourism studies, the researcher put a lot of emphasis on the qualitative dimension of the study and attempted to quantify qualitative data so that he presented a positive interpretation of the findings. The researcher did this by the introduction of scales to measure attitude and knowledge among others. The study also aimed at generating various tourist typologies and the conceptualisation of a tourist as international, domestic, business visitors, age, gender, race, and class or any other categories. Another aim of this study was also to generate and stereotype the various categories of tourists in terms of the hosting community, the tourists and destinations.

Types of research

This research has established various types of research. It was differentiated between the process, purpose, logic, and the outcome of research. According to them, qualitative or quantitative research depends on the purpose of the study. Descriptive, exploratory, predictive, and analytical research depends on the process. Inductive or deductive research depends on the logic of the study. Lastly, basic or applied research depends on the outcomes of the study. This research will scrutinise the above types of research and contextualise them according to this study on the importance of cultural events on tourist’s decision making.

Descriptive, exploratory, predictive, and analytical research

Several descriptive research typically portrays occurrences as they exist. It pinpoints and gathers information about the characteristics of a specific issue or problem. Descriptive research mainly defines or describes an issue by providing a profile showing a group of events, people, or even problems. It describes and ascertains more than exploratory research.

Exploratory research reveals the problems that relate to the question. More often than not, exploratory research is carried out when there are few researches conducted on an issue. It seeks to gain a clear understanding and insight of the research question before conducting an investigation that will be precise and rigourous. It looks for hypotheses, ideas, and patterns to reach a conclusion.

Predictive research predicts specific occurrences depending on hypothesised relationships. It is entrenched in theory and explanation. Predictive research requires the highest level of inference. One can control a phenomenon after extensive explanations and predictions.

Analytical research, also known as explanatory research, does more than describing an occurrence; it scrutinises and explains how and why things are happening. Analytical research seeks to understand phenomena by finding out and evaluating any existing cause-and-effect relationship. Hypotheses and theories in analytical research have to explain the forces that caused the occurrence. It identifies and controls the variables present in the research because it gives room for an explanation of the links or variables between the characteristics.

Deductive and inductive research

Deductive research happens when a theoretical structure is developed before being tested by experimental observations. A deduction can only be valid if the conclusion can never be false. Deductive research has cause-and-effect links that are very much associated with positivism. Inductive research involves reasoning where a general proposition is proposed after careful observation of certain facts. This means that common inferences will be induced from certain inferences.

Applied and Basic Research

It is easy to categorise research into basic or applied research. Applied research uses research findings to solve a precise, existing dilemma. Therefore, it solves problem practically. Basic research is also identified as fundamental or pure or research. Basic research happens when the research question is less specific, and when the research is undertaken mainly to improve the perception of the main issues.

Quantitative and qualitative research

There are mainly two research approaches used, the quantitative and qualitative approach. The quantitative approach appears to be objective in nature because it concentrates with on looking for facts, as well as, what causes social phenomena. Many scholars know quantitative research to be concerned with answering questions that deal with relationships between variables. This, of course seeks to explain, predict, and control phenomena. Qualitative research is connected to the use of positive methodologies to develop knowledge, reduce specific variables in the study, and employ the use of statistics and observation. In addition, quantitative research uses inquiry strategies like surveys and experiments, and gathers all the data by use of research instruments that collect real statistics on the ground. Therefore, a quantitative approach is about gathering and scrutinising data, which can be statistically or mathematically analysed and interpreted.

On the other hand, qualitative research has a tendency of answering questions touching on the difficult nature of observable facts. More often than not, it seeks to describe and understand these facts from a different angle. Many would argue that the approach is used when the author wants to collect and analyse the data that cannot be interpreted or analysed statistically or mathematically. Examples include feelings, ideas or attitudes. Choosing a qualitative approach would mean using a behavioural checklist or research instrument to gather information. This means that qualitative research is primarily interpretive. The researcher will have to construe the statistics before drawing conclusions on what it means. Quantitative approach suits this study because of the type of objective, which revolves around a cause, importance and its effect on the entwined relationship.

In this study, some questions are designed to collects open responses so that to help in the final conclusion.

Research Questions

  1. What cultural events and festivals motivate you to visit a certain city? Please mention the degree of importance given to cultural events in vacation planning? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    1. How important are these cultural events in choosing your destination?
      1. Important [ ]
      2. Very Important [ ]
      3. Not Important [ ]
    2. Are cultural events the primary factors you consider when choosing a destination for your vacation? Explain briefly.
      1. Yes [ ] ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
      2. No [ ] ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
  2. What are the factors behind cultural events tourism in urban tourism?
    1. Please, mention what attracts you most to a holiday destination? Is it a certain event or the place as a whole should be great to visit? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    2. What experiences do you attach while planning your trip? Do these factors make or break the final decision? What is the degree to which these factors affect final decision? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
  3. What are the main characteristics of a cultural events tourist?
    1. How would you describe a cultural events tourist? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    2. b) How do cultural event tourists differ from other tourists? Is there any specific market for this type of tourism? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
  4. What market opportunities are available for cultural events and festivals tourism? How can local people take advantage of policies meant for boosting local cultural events?
    1. Please, discuss in detail the marketing opportunities available for cultural events tourism? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    2. In your opinion, is cultural events tourism declining or increasing? Or are tourists relishing the local flavor presented by the cultural events of an area? Please explain your answer in detail ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    3. Where do you see your local cultural events tourism in the next five years? Explain the factors that affect this industry’s future perspectives? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    4. How economic downturns affect cultural events tourism in your region? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    5. Do you spend much money in cultural events tourism than other forms of tourism? If yes, why local cultural events are not promoted on a large scale? Please explain your answer citing examples? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
  5. What are the issues affecting the success of cultural events tourism development and promotion? Explain in context to local administration, government policies, community participation and tourist relevance?
    1. Mention ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    2. What do you think stakeholders can do to reduce adverse effects of these issues on cultural events tourism? ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
  6. How are the local, urban authorities, government and host community involved in cultural event’s management, organisation and feedback?
    1. Local, urban authority and government ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
    2. Do you think the government and the local host communities are doing enough to promote cultural events in their tourism strategy?
      1. Government ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….
      2. Host community ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ………………. ……………….

Justification and Merits of the Research Method

Since quantitative research occurs naturally, the researcher is able to get a real feel and experience of the place, practices and community members too. The researcher visited the host community so that he could have a firsthand experience of the cultural practices, events and festivals thus understanding these cultural events better. This helps in coming up with the theories of cultural practices of a given community which are tourist attractions. Personal experience taught the researcher on-ground realities and the challenges facing the community. Mainstreaming can go a long way in enhancing economic growth.

This kind of research offers a variety of humanistic and interactive approaches to a research study. The researcher’s role in the study was very significant in the study as he had to create some kind of rapport with the respondents in a bid to get the required information from them. In order to know the locals well, some psychological knowledge is a must. Persuasion and charm help loosen up the environment.

Data collection methods adopted by this research approach such as open-ended questionnaires and interviews were very flexible and therefore can easily accommodate technological developments like e-mails, online surveys and so forth. The researcher was therefore is able to collect richly detailed and more so, correct information on cultural practices of the host community.

Qualitative research emerges and develops as the study continues. Thus, the researcher did not predetermine it. The process was flexible enough such that it could accommodate emerging changes in the study. The researcher was also allowed to change or rather refine the questions to fit the varying respondents. At the same time, data gathering methods could also be changed in order to incorporate the different experiences of the researcher. This provided an opportunity for the researcher to develop a theme, understanding, and finally formation of a grounded theory or provide conclusive interpretation of the results.

The researcher had to interpret the data collected in terms of the participants, cultural setting, and cultural events since qualitative research is highly interpretive. The researcher also had to analyse the collected data in order to formulate theories and draw conclusions, provide meanings, or even ask questions to make way for further research. The explanations provided after a qualitative research tend to be broad as opposed to linear. These explanations come up with conclusive definitions on the issues dealt with in the research. The explanations also were much detailed sometimes due to the varied nature of the questionnaire.

Since the researcher was highly experienced, he adopted the use of complex reasoning which is very interactive and offers multiple explanations at the same time. This approach enabled the researcher to use both inductive and deductive reasoning when coming up with conclusions of the research study. The interactive process provided opportunities for the researcher constantly to review his research questions, the data collection methods chosen and problem that were under study. Introspection was done all during the research in order to give the most befitting direction to the study. The most basic advantage was that that these were all simultaneous processes. Data collection and analysis of the collected data took place as the research progresses thanks to the researcher’s vast experience. Constant analysis of data also provided the researcher with a fair amount of introspection and tailor the research methodology to reach a befitting conclusion.

Limitations of the Research Method

The qualitative approach lacked a pre-defined format and therefore it allowed for changes to be applied at any stage of the study as the study progressed. This meant that if any developments came up during fieldwork, they would have to be incorporated or the study had to be restarted. Moreover, the study could still be carried out regardless of whether the research questions reflected the views and opinions of the respondents or if the research questions targeted unintended respondents. The study was encompassing in nature and involved view points from various facets of the society.

The research method further allowed for the data collection methods to change depending on the respondents. Since there were different respondents providing information to the researcher, each could give information using the method he/she preferred. Different thinking process in each individual meant that responses were different for each individual in case of one question. The information given by the respondents could thus vary because of the variation of the data collection methods. Since the methods follow different approaches, they are bound to deliver varying results.

Data Collection

The data collection method was a very important part of the research study. The research adopted in-depth interviews as a data gathering technique. A qualitative survey and observation by the researcher were used to find out descriptive information about cultural events tourists. In-depth interviews and questionnaires were the data collection techniques used to gather information. These in-depth interviews allowed the researcher to gather information related to the personal experiences and meanings of tourism visits and what the host community’s members expectations were from such visits. In-depth interviews were the appropriate method to accomplish the aim of collecting qualitative and experiential data from respondents. In some interviews, researcher was able to learn and introspect about the local culture in a much better way compared to literary studies.

Questionnaires were also administered to various tourists who visited the host community in order to find out the factors that motivated them to visit that particular place. Also, what makes them visit a place twice. Tourism scholars noted that at the root of in-depth interview was an interest in understanding the experience of other people and the inferences people make from their experiences. Using in-depth interviews and questionnaires enabled the researcher to adopt an inductive process in a bid to identify the patterns in the collected data. This led to the researcher coming up with a grounded theory based on tourist’s experiences (Beall, 2010).This tourism research focused on exploring the meaning of visits for individuals in order to get deep knowledge for various visit patterns, with the aim of understanding why and how different people view tourism (Faulkner, 2002). Even in tourists, one section of tourists may view a place in one while another group may see it from another angle. This stems from the fact every individual as a different set of thinking processes that guides his/her perception about a new place.

To ensure the quality and accuracy of the data, the researcher employed the use multiple sources of information, methods of data collection, investigators and theories. Since humans are prone to memory loss, most people might not present a clear picture of the event in question. This can be solved by asking the questions to a group of friends or a small group. This eliminates the memory loss problem since people are more likely to remember time spent with friends. On top of this, huge amount of data is achieved causing a pain to handle. This data is very crucial and is the fundamental to extracting good information. Raw data is the fundamental for the great information. A lot of time and resources are required to filter out useful information from raw data. A possible solution is to limit the length of answers students provide in the questionnaire. If they are given open space to write, some of them will open their heart out and not remain focused on the point in question. Limited space will yield concentrated answers and to-the-point inferences. Also, brief answers tend to be more to the point and contain much more useful information compared to lengthy answers.

Another major disadvantage in the questionnaire approach is that students make take the superficial route to answer the questions if the questions are too involving. in a bid to hurry through the test, the respondents are more likely to write whatever they are thinking at the moment. Their answers cannot be treated as relevant information. As such, one should not commit the blunder of asking way too much questions. The questions should be logically flowing and invoke immediate responses. The more involving the questions are, the more the reader is likely to go astray. Another problem the researcher may face is that students may not answer the questions as they are intended to be. This happens due to the fact that questionnaires tend to be revealing in nature and students might not want to share their personal feelings about a particular event. Also, if they do not feel connected to a cause, their interest is likely to dwindle. So, a penalty will ensure that the answer honestly. A better way would be to connect to the respondents and make them aware of the fact that the questionnaire will benefit them in a certain way. Respondents were made aware of the fact that by answering the questions, they will be beneficial to their society as well as the researcher. The impact of the findings of the research can have positive impact on the respondent’s life or the people involved in the cultural tourism industry. They were told to provide honest answers to the questions and that even if their response is negative, it would still be beneficial. The questionnaire was anonymous such that the responses could not be tampered with by the researcher.

The primary advantage of organising a questionnaire includes the fact that all the information collected comes in a standardised format. This makes them that much more informative and certainly more objective in a manner interviews cannot. Interviews are a collection of raw data containing a lot of personal opinions and not logical deductions. Generally, questionnaires are much less time consuming as compared to an interview. It is really surprising to note how a good questionnaire can reveal so much information from people. However, questionnaires can also be time consuming if not organised properly. Their designing and execution can sometimes take a lot of time. Potentially, a large portion or a group provides the information required during a questionnaire. The return over investment in case of questionnaire can be low sometimes. People tend not to participate in time consuming exercises involving questionnaires. However, the degree of success depends on the organising and execution abilities of the managing committee. Respondents must be made aware in a positive manner that the said questionnaire can have deep impact in their lives as well as other people directly or indirectly involved in the cultural tourism industry.

Internal and External Validity

Validity is simply the appropriateness of the instrument used in measurement and how well it measured the variables or concepts in the study. The researcher used the triangulation approach to collect data and to ensure that internal validity was achieved. Using this approach, data was obtained from various sources and using various methods such as observation, analysis of existing research, interviews and surveys. Data from all these sources was obtained in the most transparent and authentic manner possible.

Internal validity can be expressed as the assertion that there was an observed relationship between two variables been studied reflected a causal process or on the other hand, that the lack of an observed relationship between two variables under study reflected the lack of a causal process. The researcher more so had to ensure he carried out a check-up on all the collected data all through the process. This was to make sure that the meanings, intentions, and reality experiences of the war veterans’ were a part of the collected information. The use of a participatory approach that incorporated the respondents was a highly crucial part of the research process, and they also helped the researcher prevent any possible bias towards any particular subject.

The researcher ensured that there was external validity in the research study by giving a thick and richly detailed description of the research as a solid framework for transferability (Merriam, 1998). To bring out the external validity of the research, the researcher focused on the study, clearly showing the separate roles of the researcher and the respondents based on the participation, and in the context of data collection. Triangulation also ensured the strength, and more over reliability of collected data. The data analysis process was clear from the start with the details acquired and accurate information.

There were some factors that threatened the internal validity of the research study and they included: losing a respondent during the research process, selection bias whereby the selection was non-random and the researcher chose pre-determined respondents which was not supposed to be the case, factors affecting participants in between pretests and post tests thus some participants were not able to take part in the study, unequal treatment leading to participants in the control group exceeding or lowering the level of performance and finally a bias by experimenters when they were interacting with treatment groups and control groups.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is one of the most important parts that are considered crucial in any dissertation. Data analysis is all about analysing findings of one’s research part. Without research, research holds no value. There are several ways to conduct data analysis for both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Marshall and Rossman suggested that data gathering and analysis were to go together when a qualitative research was been carried out (Marshall and Rossman, 1999). Strauss and Schwartzman argued that a qualitative analysis involved grouping events, people, and sample based on their properties. Jacob further noted that ethnographers tend to code the data collected under various categories. According to Creswell qualitative researchers did too much identification and explanation of the themes and patterns from the respondents’ point of view (Creswell, 2008). The researcher had to first organise the data and then divide and categorise it in a chronological order. After this the researcher conducted continuous reviews and coded them appropriately. Coding must follow the main themes and theories of the study.

The researcher generated graphs, pie charts and tables among others that were used as tools to show the relationships between the various elements and ideas in the study. The researcher also gave his personal experiences in the research process, reviewed past publications and compared these with the research findings he came up with on a regular basis. This has led to the much more statistical way of handling the outcomes of the report. The researcher more so raised pertinent questions in accordance with the findings of the study. He was moreover obliged to validate the findings of the research study carried out. This variation is brought about by the fact that there is a greater cultural similarity within the country than between different countries.

Reporting of Findings

There are different ways to elaborate and present results in a dissertation. It is of vital importance to choose the right way to report the findings. Reporting of findings vary in quantitative and qualitative approaches. The researcher maintained the use of narrative texts and creation of data displays to present the findings of a research study. The description section made sure that the researcher gave all the findings as they were, inclusive of the respondent’s accounts and meaning. This also gave the intended target groups an opportunity to be aware of the set-backs encountered by the researcher in the study. Reporting is kept fair and honest to the utmost degree possible. It also provided the audience with ways of improving the said setbacks.

Ethical Issues

The qualitative research method incorporated the ethical considerations section which is a section that highlighted the ethical considerations that the researcher observed during the process of the study. Ethical issues comprised all the beliefs and cultural traits exhibited by the host country’s citizens as well as the visiting tourists. Since these vary over a certain geographical region taking them into consideration is extremely important. Marshall and Rossman noted the significance of observing ethical considerations when carrying out any kind of research (Marshall and Rossman, 1999).

The study consequently respected the rights, values, cultural orientations and practices, needs, and the researcher’s need for information. There were scholars who noted that an ethnographic research would get in too deep into the private lives of the sampled population. Therefore, the researcher used the ethical considerations section to protect the data obtained from the respondents and more so safeguard their right to privacy. The researcher explained this verbally and in writing so that the respondents clearly understood what the implications were and exactly how the researcher intended to use the information gathered. The privacy rules as well as the legal ramifications of the country have to be understood well. The researcher presented a written permission that was authenticated by the Review Board from his institution to carry out the study. The researcher on top of all that enlightened the respondents on all the methods of data gathering he planned on using, and that the respondents could have them, if they so wished.

Time schedule February March April May June
Ethical form approval Literature review
Research design
Questionnaire formation
Pretest of research questionnaires
Adjusting the research questionnaires
Data collection and analysis
Post field data analysis and interpretation of findings Presentation of research findings, conclusion and recommendations

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