BENEFITS RECEIVED AND BEHAVIOURAL INTENTIONS
OF FESTIVAL VISITORS IN RELATION TO DISTANCE
TRAVELLED AND THEIR ORIGINS
Missouri State University
Steven F. Illum
Missouri State University
Shu Tian Cole
This study examined behavioural intentions of visitors to a rural festival as well as the relationship between behavioural intentions of festival visitors and benefits they receive from attendance in relation to their origins and the distance they travel to the festival. The results were based on 413 questionnaires. A factor analysis generated three factors: the history appreciation benefit, the socialization benefit, and the enjoyment benefit. The respondents rated the enjoyment benefit the highest, followed by the socialization benefit, and history appreciation. Pearson’s correlations showed that distance travelled had a significant negative correlation with visitors’ intention to attend the festival again. Distance travelled did not have any significant correlations with visitors’ word-of-mouth intentions, and the benefits they received. ANOVA tests were conducted to examine whether benefits received and behavioural intentions were demonstrated differently among visitors from different origins. ANOVA tests indicated that the socialization benefit for the local residents was significantly higher among residents than non-residents. The study provided a more thorough understanding of additional factors that may affect behavioural intentions of festival visitors, which may help festival organizers better understand visitors’ behaviour and their behavioural intentions.
Behavioural intentions, festivals, visitor behaviour
Goldblatt (2002, p.1) defined festivals as a “Kaleidoscope of planned culture, sport and political and business occasions: from mega-events like Olympics and world fairs to community festivals; from programs of events at parks and attractions to visits by dignitaries and intergovernmental assembles; from small meetings and parties to huge conventions and competitions.”
Festivals are unique tourist attractions (Gursoy, Kim & Uysal, 2004). While they have historic roots from long ago, they have enjoyed a tremendous growth in popularity in recent years, especially as a result of increasing cost of motor vehicle fuel keeping travellers closer to their home towns. While they are frequently conducted
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International Journal of Event Management Research Volume 4, Number 1, 2008
in urban areas, festivals have become an important tourism resource for rural areas. Rural festivals provide important leisure-time outlets for people living in these communities.
Festivals boost the development of cultural tourism to host communities (Raj, 2003). Festival organizers use cultural and historical themes to develop annual events to attract visitors. Such festivals provide opportunities for the local community to share their culture and community development with visitors. Furthermore, they help the local community to develop its own identity.
The purpose of this study was to discover behavioural intentions of visitors to a rural festival in relation to their origins and the distance they travel to festivals. Specifically, there were two hypotheses for this study:
(1) Distance travelled is significantly correlated with behavioural intentions; (2) There are no significant differences in the benefits received among visitors from different origins.
It is important for festival organizers to have a clear understanding that participants in their festival actually do perceive the benefits they intend to provide, a certain measure of future behavioural intention. Are the benefits perceived by the potential participant great enough to continue attracting visitors from a distance, to mobilize their