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Festivals and Tourism: Marketing, Management and Evaluation

Edited by Phillip Long and Mike Robinson
Business Education Publishers Ltd., 2004, 218 pp., ISBN 1 901888 34 7

Using a wide range of international cases from a diverse range of festivals and events, the book Festivals and Tourism: Marketing, Management and Evaluation provides critical perspectives on the marketing, management and evaluation of festivals and their complex and dynamic relationships with tourism and tourists. It examines issues relating to the planning and development of festivals, building, researching and reaching tourist audiences, the strategic and operational management of festivals and events, and their evaluation in terms of economic, social, cultural and regenerative impacts as part of the tourism sector.

In recent years there has been a clear increase in the number of festivals and events taking place across the world, although it is problematic to put an exact figure to this. They certainly have their significance for local communities but are also conceived and staged with the aim of attracting external audiences and particularly, valued tourist markets. Alongside with the growth in the number of festivals, there has also been a general increase in the degree of professionalism in the occupations that are linked with festival planning, management, organization and operations reflecting their social, political and their economic roles. Heightened professionalism in the realm of cultural festivals and events indicates a more or less common recognition that festivals do make important contributions to tourism and economic development strategies, as well as providing a vehicle for community participation in regeneration programmes, a hightened sense of civic pride and an improved place of image.

This book aims to contribute towards the development of more critical perspectives in its collection of chapters that explore a number of issues regarding the relationships between festivals and tourism. The chapters collected here also suggest some new research directions for the study of festivals and tourism.

The introductory part of the book suggests some definitions of festivals, their categorization and explores their role for local involvement as well as for tourists. It focuses on audiences, motivations, behaviour and marketing and explains aspects of operational management of festivals. Also, it points out that festivals and events are political matters and can be conceived of as being part of the 'new' political economy of partnerships in urban and local governance that has emerged since 1980s. Major cultural celebrations can have significant and positive influences on physical developments, as well as more intangible considerations such as improved images of host cities, quality of life, community participation and civic pride. Therefore, festivals can be a major element to regeneration processes in host destinations.

The book is divided in three major sections: Section 1 dealing with marketing and markets; Section 2 with planning, management and operations, and Section 3 with impacts and evaluations, although there are inevitable overlaps between all sections.

The first chapter under Section 1 explores the performing arts as an important dimension of festivals. Important linkages between the performing arts sector, cultural and tourism are developed in the chapter. The focus has been put on research undertaken in Australia and the Melbourne area in particular to highlight the need to define and research target markets in a structured and meaningful way. Through such a process, the author argues, the performing arts sector, in the context of cultural festivals and events, can harness significant potential from tourism by building new audiences.

Chapter 2 understands tourists as an important sector of festival audiences and investigates motivations of visitors attending the largest folk festival in Europe the Sidmouth International Festival. In seeking to understand motivations and behaviour, the researcher is drawn into the realm of social psychology to inform methods of approach and the conceptual frameworks for subsequent analysis.

2000 Science Festival held in Daejeon, South Korean is the focus of the following chapter which articulates the need for strategic planning and develops a seven stage model based upon an analysis of the mentioned festival.

Chapter 4 reminds us that apparently practicable and 'orthodox' ways to market and plan festivals and events should be open to reflection and challenge. Standard approaches to segmenting the market by difference overlook the realities that festival visitors are bound by the commonalities of their senses and sensibilities as well; therefore, a selective approach should be applied rather than an inclusive one.

Shifting to Section 2 and the subject of event management, chapter 5 introduces us to identifying key success factors for bidding. Focusing mainly on sporting events, the article provides a detailed discussion of the bidding process and its various phases in order to put forward a number of key success factors.

Undertaking indigenous events is the focus of the chapter 6. It analyzes practicalities of managing festivals in a specific context, Egypt, which has long recognized the importance of cultural events as part of its tourism policy. Using three case studies of the Nile Bounty Festival, the Ismailia International Folklore Festival and the Aida Opera Concerts, this chapter proposes an organizing framework or model of good practice to guide the study of decision making, planning, implementation and evaluation of cultural festivals.

Chapter 7 considers a highly specific natural event, that of the total eclypse of the sun, and attempts to organize and manage this for tourists. Participant observation methods were applied in the Australian Outback research.

Regulation is an essential aspect of contemporary festival organization and management, which is the subject of the chapter 8. It discusses the complexity of regulatory issues in the context of rock festivals and highlights the case of the European Union's efforts to define and agree EU and national competence to legislate in this area. Chapter 9 extends this discussion to the implications of a 'soft law' approach being developed at EU level alongside event organizers' attempts to self-regulate in the vital area of consumer health and safety.

Section 3 presents another five chapters, the first one of which deals with a case study based on two 'Scottish' highland games in the United States, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and the Flora Macdonald Highland Games. The importance of tourist expenditures is pointed out in direct and indirect terms as well as the importance of regularity of such events.

Chapter 11 directs attention to the economic impacts of festivals considering six festivals in the Caribbean, some well established and some not. The chapter identifies the value of these festivals as a pull for tourists and specifically their ability to increase hotel occupancy. It also evaluates the Caribbean festivals in a wider social and political context.

In the case of Dubai Shopping Festival, chapter 12 draws out the significance and massive success of a festival recently created by a partnership between the government and the private sector. It also picks up on the neglected area of the relationships between festivals and the nature, development, aesthetics and 'fabric' of cities.

The exploitation of large-scale cultural festivals and mega-events, such as the European Capital of Culture years or EXPO as a focus for development and regeneration requires critical analysis. Chapters 13 and 14 focus on Porto, the European Capital of Culture in 2001 and on the 'World Fair' 1998 in Lisbon.

All chapters address some critical issues in the examination of marketing, management, development and politics of festivals and cultural events which could suggest new directions for researchers, policy makers and practitioners in this thriving and vibrant sector.

To obtain the book, please contact: Business Education Publishers Ltd, The Teleport, Doxford International, Sunderland SR3 3XD, United Kingdom; tel.: +44 191 525 2410; fax: +44 191 520 1815; e-mail: info@bepl.com