Factors Correlated with Visitors' Interest in the Best International Show: Evidence from Hong Kong Arts Festivals

By Boyle, Stephen; Amaro, Carmen Reaiche et al. | The Journal of Developing Areas, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Factors Correlated with Visitors' Interest in the Best International Show: Evidence from Hong Kong Arts Festivals


Boyle, Stephen, Amaro, Carmen Reaiche, Wu, Chengzhong, Murad, Md Wahid, The Journal of Developing Areas


(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

Arts festivals are recognized as economic drivers (Olsen, 2013), particularly in the countries that are economically and culturally rich. Arts festivals and similar events as a global phenomenon has evolved and developed in the twenty-first century (Allen et al., 2008). Arts festivals are emerging worldwide as a growing and vibrant sector of the tourism and leisure industries and are seen to have significant economic, socio-cultural, and political impacts on the destination area and host groups (Arcodia & Whitford, 2006). In the 1980s, a rising awareness of a connection between culture and economic development appeared, following a shift to entrepreneurialism in urban policies (see Harvey 1989). Throughout history, arts festivals have emulated cultural traditions or marked a religious or historical occasion associated with the community staging the festival (Arcodia & Robb, 2000). Within the broad spectrum of 'festivals and events', cultural festivals occupy a significant role (Robertson, Rogers & Leask, 2009). Cultural festivals are now increasingly instrumentalized as an economic asset, a commodity with market value and producer of marketable city spaces (Kong, 2000; Garcia, 2004; Miles and Paddison, 2005). Framed within a broader array of neo-liberal, culture-led urban regeneration strategies, arts festivals are now a mainstay of urban tourism and urban policy-making (Gotham, 2005; Nurse, 2004). Various studies have pointed out that the use of culture to advance a range of social and economic goals is most apparent in cities (Griffiths, 2006; Griffiths, Bassett & Smith, 2003), and urban arts festivals have proliferated to a greater degree than any other type (Pejovic, 2009). The growth of instrumentalized arts festivals represents one aspect of the cities' attempts to advance local visibility and generate added income (Scott, 2004). These arts festivals risk suffering from consumer oriented serial reproduction (Richards and Wilson, 2006), and may be linked to the use of arts festivals in what Hall and Hubbard (1996, p. 162) call a 'social control logic.' The aim of this logic is to forge consensus from the locals to attract more consumers/investors to the city, through events that may foster civic pride and galvanize local support (Evans, 2005; Quinn, 2005).

From a tourism perspective, arts festivals represent a series of attractions appealing to external visitors and investors alike (Quinn, 2010). Special events and festivals are beneficial to both communities that host them and visitors they attract (Kim et al., 2010). In the community, this unique type of tourism offers opportunities to bring together all potential resources and to showcase them to tourists and establish a good public image. Getz (1991, p. 11) stated that "... festivals and public celebrations are found in all societies. Together with a variety of other special events, they are increasingly seen as unique tourist attractions and as destination image makers." But contributions of arts festivals do not lie in merely attracting tourists/visitors, they also promote, as outlined by MacCannell (1992), an ideological framing of history, nature and tradition, a framing that has the power to reshape culture and nature to its own needs. There is well-established and substantial literature attesting to the significant impacts and benefits generated by the arts festivals across economic, political and sociocultural domains (Quinn, 2010). Researchers have frequently argued that festivals offer possibilities for crystallizing, galvanizing and articulating local identities and have historically represented opportunities for local agents to act and influence their localized arenas (Bakhtin, 1984; Turner, 1982). Today arts festivals continue to be supported for their identity-enhancing roles, albeit in the increased territorial competition between cities and regions they have increasingly become an instrumental tool for urban revitalization, and for attracting visitors and locals into city spaces through place marketing (Fainstein and Judd, 1999; Evans, 2001; Pratt, 2008; Quinn, 2010). …

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