Cultural Tourism during the COVID-19 Pandemic

I took part in a webinar on cultural tourism organised by MEKST this week, about the ways in which cultural tourism and cultural events are being affected by the Pandemic, and how this might be dealt with in the future. Also taking part were Nemanja Milenković, the Director of the Novi Sad European Capital of Culture 2021 foundation, and Dusan Medin, from the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro.

You can watch a recording of the whole webinar, below:

Cultur WB

Last week, I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the launch of the Cultur WB network, in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Cultur WB is a new network to support the development of Cultural Tourism across the Western Balkans region that has been set up with ERASMUS+ funding in a project with partners from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany.  When I was there the project was also bringing in new contributions from the UK, Greece and Albania.

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The Cultur WB partners in Sarajevo

The Cultur WB project aims to not only strengthen ties between people working on cultural tourism as practitioners and researchers in the region, but also to to develop life-long-learning programmes for people working in tourism and new Masters programmes in cultural tourism.  At the launch event, I gave a presentation on how small and emerging destinations can use cultural events to develop their tourism, and how we should think about measuring the impacts of these events.  You can view the presentation below:

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The launch event was fantastic, with presentations from politicians, academics and practitioners.  Sarajevo itself is an amazing city and the organisers of the event, Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures, are doing an incredible job of trying to get their city onto the Cultural Tourism map, which I have no doubt they are succeeding in.

Events Management Research: Attendee motivation, Festivals and Economic Impacts

Along with my colleagues Denise Hawkes, Emma Abson and Paul Booth, we’ve recently had a new book chapter published which looks at the relationship between motivations to attend events and the spending that takes place at them.  This research was carried out over three months during a series of festivals held in an area of London, in the UK and it has been published in the book ‘Impact Assessment in Tourism Economics’

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The findings of this research indicated that there was a significant relationship between attendees’ motivation to attend the events in the festivals and the amount of money that they spent during the events.  We used Beard and Ragheb’s ‘Leisure Motivational Scale’ to categorise attendees by their motivation and we found that the highest spenders were people who had come to the event to meet new people and socialise.  The lowest spenders were those attending events to spend time with their families.  If you would like to read this research, but you can’t gain acess to it, please contact me.

The conclusion of this chapter suggests:

“The literature on event motivations focuses on the marketing of events and on attendee satisfaction with events. Such studies…have made recommendations for event development, market segmentation and promotional activities. Linking motivations to expenditure, as we have attempted in this paper, suggests a range of new approaches to these areas of successful event management.

For example at these events, segmentation by motivation has allowed for the identification of a high-value segment, those who are attending ‘to meet new people’. Meeting the needs of this segment could be suggested as an area of event development such as the creation of opportunities for social interaction and the provision of enhanced food and drink retail opportunities at the events. Attracting this lucrative segment would require the promotion of the social aspects of the events and a significant change in approach from the current marketing approach [of many public sector-supported events], which concentrate on local media and emphasises the inclusive, familyfriendly and low cost aspects of the programme.”