As a traditional, regional festival, withaspects that have contributed to the perception of the event nationally andinternationally, through holding the reputation as the “world’s biggest waterfight”, however an also dangerous environment, due to the heavy consumption drugsand alcohol. Despite this, the TAT (Tourist Authority of the TAT), haveencouraged the water splashing aspects of the festival and touristparticipation, which has re-emphasized the cultural and traditional elements,celebrated enthusiastically. The festival, from Wlodarczyk’s perspective, canbe considered to be within the ‘cultural heritage’ tourist space’ due to itattracting visitors regional cultural heritage through tourist engagement. Itsstrong focus, has however lead to the event, losing its authenticity, to someextent, as modern tourist guides highlight the ‘water fight’ aspect, to attracttourists, more than its true symbolicmeaning. Songkran itself is controversial, withvarious government and authority figures being unhappy with Thailand’sreputation as the “hub of the water party with booze and a high death toll”,due to the heavy alcohol consumption, 364 deaths 3,559 injuries andmotorcyclists accidents, reported in 2015, with the majority involving peoplebetween the ages of 20-49 years old.
The Bangkok Metropolitan police, activelytook measures to ensure that whilst the celebrations were taking place, thatthere was less drunken behavior, with the banning of alcohol, with the hope toimprove the reputation and controversy, surrounding the festival. Despite, its success and evolvement, from a”low key family celebration’, to an internationally renowned event where itsappeal from a tourist perspective, is being able to take part in the “world’sbiggest water fight”, the expansion in size and intensity of the festival, hasled to management issues. This includes road safety, drink driving,pickpocketing and drug dealing, as well as water related issues, in regards tothe throwing of polluted water, which could potentially cause bacterialinfections in the eyes, ears and throats of tourists, especially in Ching Mai,where the water is taken from the city moat.
There’s also an environmentalconcern in relation to the use of water excessively in the celebrations, whichis discouraged within times of shortages and drought. The turning point for the Songkran festival,include the “Grand Lanna Civilisation Songrakn Festival” organized by TAT in2004 in Chiang Mai, which according to Porananond and Robinson, encompassedwhat a national, regional culture and heritage celebration is, attracting notonly foreign tourists, however also domestic. Figures released in 2015 from the ministry of tourism and sport, canalso be considered as a turning point for the festival, as it was announcedthat 470,000 foreign tourists had attended that year, which was an increase of39 per cent in comparison to the previous year. Income from tourism during thefive days, between the 9th-13th April, was at 7.5 billionbaht. Three periods of development were identified,firstly within the period of 1950-70, whereby there were more participatory andorganized events, involving new practice such as processions and beautypageants. Songkran was also expandinginto more public places, building capacity and expectation for tourists. Commercial in roads expanded rapidly throughto the 1990s, with an increased involvement of local government and the TAT, asresult of Thai infrastructure development, due to the growth of internationaltourists.
With the early establishments of the TAT(Tourist Authority in Thailand) in 1960, as well as campaigns such as ‘VisitThailand Year’, ‘Amazing Thailand’, ‘Unseen Thailand’ and ‘Discover Thailand’, it’sclear that tourism plays a vital role in their economy, with marketing being apriority for the TAT. The ‘backpacker’ was identified as a tourist, recognizedas a phenomenon attracted to Chiang Mai, where these particular tourists “beganto participate directly in the festivities rather than merelyobserving”(Porananond and Robinson,2008;317) Within the festival, there are 3 days oftradition, with the first day called “Wan Sungkran Long”, which marks thepassing of the year, with Buddha statues being escorted down the streets inparades and houses are swept in order to see the new year out, with fireworksand crackers. “Wan Nao”, is the second day, being new year’s eve and the dayfor building sand pagodas as well as preparing for the religious ceremonies forthe following day. The third day, is “Wan Paya Wan”, whereby there is a focuson respecting elders and the monks, for the washing of the Buddhas and for thewater sprinkling. Songkran Festival, is one of the mostpopular festivals in the region with tourists.
Traditionally, it’s a time for reunions,house cleansing, and buddhist rituals, with water being at the centre of thefestival, which is celebrated as a blessing and given as a sign of respect.Participants sprinkle water as cleansing and good wishes with ‘din son pong’,which are white/colored powders, that are rubbed on the faces of celebrantsfaces, as a representation of the sins of the past, which can be washed away byrelatives, friends as well as revelers. This Lunar New Year Festival, is alsocelebrated by various bordering countries such as Cambodia, Laos and YunnanProvince, China. CaseStudy- Tourism and the Songkran Festival in Thailand “Man as a subject of tourist space”,as festival tourist space, has a focus on creating an atmosphere and placewhereby there’s an exchange of ideas and views, as well as multi-culturalismfor multi ethnic groups, however as a result of people coming together, therecould be various implications such as conflicts between festival tourists andlocals within the areas where they are held, as well as the risk of alcohol,drug abuse and crimes committed during events such as riots.
The frequent negativeconsequences, occur when there are conflicts between the inhabitants andfestival tourists, which result from “inconveniences” that are causedby the organization of the events that clash with those within small localcommunities. The inhabitants feel “invaded”, due to traffic jams, parkingproblems, crowds near to the festival facilities and increased prices of servicesand commodities, as there is a higher demand. (Mikkonen and Pasanen 2010)”Manas a subject of tourist space”Infrastructure, consists of the building offacilities for the purpose of satisfying the needs of festival tourists, suchas accommodation and catering, which can be perceived as negative, due to thetransport causing heavy tourist traffic, as well as the potential damage due tovandalism. Infrastructure, has both positive and negative effects, with its negative effect, being that a large amountof tourist traffic, can cause damage to infrastructure, particularly if anevent has been held in a small destination, whether that being the faster wearof roads, or railways line. The polish media had raised concerns of the problemof trains and railway infrastructures being vandalized by groups of youths, whotravelled to a large polish music festival.
InfrastructureCultural heritage is about attractingvisitors to museums/galleries, which are heritage facilities, which enables thepotential development of local, however also regional cultural heritage throughtourist engagement. Despite the strong focus on cultural heritage, as attractingtourists to visit sites, it could potentially lead to the authenticity of thelocal and regional heritage, being lost due to the adjustments being made, inorder to cater to the tourists need. As well as this, there is also the dangerof the cultural heritage being perceived as false, due to it being tailored tosuit tourist’s expectations.CulturalHeritage Natural heritage, as a festival tourist space,promotes ideas of being sustainable and living within a natural environment,however despite this, there are are threats to the environment, which is causedby pollution, as well as the potential “degradation of green areas in thecase of open air festivals.” Festivals that are devoted to environmentalissues, cause underlying issues with the pollution, which is caused by visitors attending the area, with vehicle exhaust emissions being higher due to touriststravelling by car, in taxis etc.
, as well as more water and waste, beingproduced, which in itself poses a great risk to the natural environment. NaturalHeritage Wlodarczyk(2009) has identified fourelements of tourist space within festivals, which includes elements created bynatural heritage, cultural heritage, infrastructure and man as a subject oftourist space. (Cudney et al.2012), states that festivaltourism, should be considered as a separate type of tourism, as “whatattracts tourists in this case, is a particular tourist asset, namely thefestival, and should be understood as organized events, where people meetirrespective of their work, with tourists travelling at attend the festivals tobe considered as “festival tourists”. The process of festivaldevelopment and its influence, is referred to as “festivalization.” Withits ability to generate a large amount of tourist traffic, they are capable ofhaving an influence on various elements of the surrounding space, which couldbe identified as “tourist space”. Festivals, have rapidly developed as aphenomenon, playing an important role within the development of tourism.
The basicfeatures of a festival, are that it’s varied, unconnected with work,celebrating significant elements within a community, which are often related toculture and religion or art and culture. Buczkowska (2009) holds the beliefthat festivals play a significant role in tourism, being one of the mostimportant goals of tourist trips, attracting tourists, who are attracted to theelements of culture during the events, as well as the idea of being a part ofan unusual atmosphere, meeting people of similar interests and establishingmore knowledge about the world.FestivalTourism Acrisis communications exercise was orchestrated, so that VisitBritain and thetourism industry emergency response, were prepared. Guidelinesfor staff were constructed, to ensured that the communications referring to thegames, compiled woith the IOC guidelines, alongside the laws surroundingolympic brand protecion, which was followed by regularly updated lines. Activitywas co rodinated and communicated across a netowrk whereby good relations weremaintained with valuable stakeholdersTherewas support and pariticpation of staff across various departments and offices,in order to maxmise the potential of the games for british tourism.
Internalcommunciations internationaltravel tarde Inorder to take advantage of the tourism opporutnities, to there fullest, VisitBritain worked in partnership, with destinations and tourism businessesthroughout the UK, in order to spread awareness of the economic benefits fortourism, as well as the business opportuities, the games had to offer. Engagingthe UK Industry Withthe 2012 london olympic games, according to.. offers an explanation into theresidents support towards the hostinf of the event, with whether they areperceiving the event portrayal as fair/unfair inflences their supportivebehaviour. -Media coverage -Hosting Olympic Games Events, can potentially provide economic,social andenvironmental benefits to to the host country and their residents. Thehosting of 14 GREAT Britain media events- featuring guests such as premierleague footballers, as well as the particpation of 500 overseas media in toursto england,scotland,wales and northern ireland. Media-lead up to and during the games, visitbritain worked with thousands of olympicbroadcast rights holders and non accredited media, from over 100 countries.
This was to ensure that their coverage went beyond london and the rest ofBritain. GreatBritian- Strong Branding- through tactical promotions, whereby the britishpublic were asked to invite their friends and relatives to london in 2012, witha creative titled ‘Sharing is GREAT Britain’, which was used in a presspromotion with the daily mirror, an expedia overseas campaigns and in digitalpromotions on the Love UK facbeook page and website,visitbritian. Withcoverage of all the major milestone dates and activities, games-related, throughtwitter feeds and the “Love UK” page on facebook launched intially in2007, by 2012 the page had successfully become the seventh largest UK brand onthe site, as well as the fifth fastest growing facebook page in the world. Socialmedia activity- also vital to the success of the event.
ensuringthat britains strong tourism products can be easily packaged and sold inbritain in relevant marketsStrategy-about enhancing britains image- such as its strenght,heritage,taditional andcontemporary culture. ambitionto welcome 40 million visitors by 2020, following a consultation on growthstretegy for inound tourism ‘BritainTourism Strategy’ 14cities in nine countries, in January 2012, were targeted in a £25 milliontourism awareness campaign, in Paris,Berlin,New Yorl,Los Angeles,Toronto,Rio DeJanero etc, with an emphasis on “GREAT Britain themes”, which wereconsidered to be heritage,culture and countryside, utlising digitalmedia,print,cinema and outdoor media, in order to maximise its effectiveness. Toenable a global reach for the advertisement, they were played on BBC World, BBCAmerica and bbc.com, as well a social media platforms such as YouTube. Aglobal television ad was launched, as part of the marketing campaign, featuringcelebrity british icons such as Dame Judi Dench and Jamie Oliver, offering apersonalised invitation to encourage people tp attend. TheGames enabled the creation of an “ambitious marketing programme (VisitBritain), through aspiring tourists to reavel to Britain and increasing thenumber of people visiting the UK.
Evidentchange in the perceptions and improvements, with britains image in manymarkets, as well as media coverage that is positive.Coverage-TheLondon Olympic Games and Paralympics PrimeGames- Thetwo groups, can therefore be divided into two categories, which are the ‘Prime’games visits and the ‘secondary’ games visits. BetweenJuly- September 2012, 8.9 million visits from overseas visitors, spending £6.4billion in the UK, with 470,000 visits being for the purpose of taking part,watching or working at the games, whilst 841,000 visits, which is anincreasingly larger quantity, were attending a games event. TheLondon 2012 olympic games enabled an opportunity maximise the ecominic benefitsof tourism across the UK. VisitBritain adopted a strategy that was to not onleeffectively market the Olympic Games and Paralympic games, however toadditionally take advantage of the worldwide media attention, to promotebritain to new and exisitng audience globally. TheLondon 2012 Olympics and Paralympics- prime example of event tourism.
TheOlympic Games, are signified as a global, commercial opportunity, as well as a “globalspectacle’, as its linked to tourism, extending beyond sports tourism and intothe wider context of social encounterAsone of the most fast growing segments, of not only individual however alsocollective sports, due to its potential to attract visitors and gain mediaattention, as well as economic impac Sporting events , can be considered asshort term, however with long lasting consequences, attracting large numbers ofinternational tourists and in order to be set up, they requires strong publiccommitment, as well as public and private financial contributions, due to thefact that they are an extremely high cost to the host country and the city. Theseinclude events such as the Olympic Games, World Cup and the Tennis Open thatare large in size and a special in nature, with an effect on the entire economyof the city or region, or single country. They hold a strong economic impact inthe host community, due to its ability to attract large numbers of visitors, aswell as benefitting from global media coverage. SportingEvents Motivations will depend on the event, witha business event travelers motivations to attend international conferences,being examined by Oppermann and Chon (1997). From the perspective ofassociation and attendees decision making, the factors for attendance couldpotentially be for personal and business factors, and intervening opportunities.The nature of in particular, the sport tourism experience and motivation hasreceived a large amount of attention, with active and passive sports touristsbeing identified by Gibson (1998,2006), whilst Fairley and Gammon (2006), examined nostalgia as a motivator, whichlinks to notion of community of interests or sub-cultures.Motivational research into the eventssector, is well established , with escapism, being identified as a keymotivator, that leads people to events for the ‘generic benefits’ which includeentertainment, socializing, learning and novelty seeking, to get away fromnormal day to day life.
According to Getz(2008) events can becategorized, with the eight types being cultural,political,arts andentertainment,business,science and education, sporting events, recreationalactivities and private occasions.Events can be defined as “specialhappenings that are held infrequently and have a fixed term, providingparticipants with opportunities for social interaction beyond everyday life”.(Jago and Shaw 1998), as well as being an important motivator of tourism withinthe development and marketing plans of most destinations. “EventTourism”, as a term, however has only been established a few decades ago,in the tourism industry and in the research community, similarly to eventmanagement’, which is a professional field that is fast growing.
They alsoprovide recognition for the organizers when there has been a considerableimpact on urban development, such as new trends in planning and in long term,strategies to boost tourism through public and private investments and renewedinfrastructures.EventTourism