Written A study on motives of visitor attending on festival: Case study of Thai King’s Birthday Celebration 2012

Chapter 2: Literature Review

            2.1 Introduction

It is known that today festival and event tourism is one of the fastest growing sections of the global leisure industry; that is why it has received special attention by contemporary researchers who make attempts to analyze the factors that influence the development of this industry. The major widely discussed topics include economic, social and environmental impacts of events, marketing strategies developed for mega events and festival event management (Gets, 1991; Gnoth, 1997), but a large number of researches are focused on analysis of the motivations of attendees. It is clear that understanding of the visitors’ motivations and the “internal factor that arouses, directs, and integrates a person’s behavior” (Crompton & McKay, 1997: 425), can help to develop better planning and marketing of festival events and provide better segmentation of participants of these events. John L. Crompton and Stacey L. McKay (1997) argue that the study of festival and event motivation is considered to be a key tool to designing special offerings for festival and event attendees and an effective method to monitoring visitors’ satisfaction and understanding their decision-making processes.

2.2 Overview of the Motives of Visitors Attending on Festivals

Different researchers represent different motives of visitors attending on festivals. According to John L. Crompton and Stacey L. McKay, there are six motive domains which stimulated visitors to attend on festivals: “cultural exploration, novelty/regression, recover equilibrium, known group socialization, external interaction/socialization, and gregariousness” (1997: 425). The researchers used two important frameworks to develop the major motives that stimulated visitors to go to festival events. These conceptual frameworks include the escape-seeking dichotomy and the push – pull factors.

Push factors include family togetherness, relaxation, getting new knowledge, socialization and prestige, while the pull factors include special features, attributes and unique attractions of the destination. Smith and Costello state that “pull factors precede push factors since the need to take a vocation is first determined then the decision of where to go comes thereafter” (2009: 23).

According to Iso-Ahola (1980), there are two key motivational forces, including escapism and seeking. Escapism is “the desire to keep the everyday environment behind oneself”, while seeking is “the desire to obtain some psychological rewards through a travel in a contrasting environment” (Iso-Ahola, 1980: 45). Many visitors come to festivals and events because their major goal is to meet their needs (Lee et al., 2004).  Festival and event organizers should understand what motivates visitors to attend festivals. In other words, they should know how to satisfy their needs (Chon, Singh & Mikula, 1993; Kozak, M. 2001).

2.3 Motives of Visitors Attending on Festivals: Case study of Thai King’s Birthday Celebration 2012

2.3.1 Thai King’s Birthday Celebration and its impact on tourism in Thailand

It is known that the birthday of Thai King is an important national holiday in Thailand which is celebrated on the 5-th of December. This public holiday is famous for its colorful parades, and merit-making events. In addition, it is known that Thai King’s Birthday Celebration is “recognized as national father’s day” (Williams, 2009: 22). On that day the Ratchadamnoen in Bangkok is not only decorated with colorful lights and regalia, but also has many attractions. On that day, everyone who attends this festival should wear yellow shirt, because this color is associated with Thai King’s Birthday. In Thailand, tourism is the best way to “earn foreign currency, increase international reserves, assist in increased production, and maximize the usage of resources from other sectors” (McDowall & Ma, 2010: 261). Bangkok, the center of tourism in Thailand, is famous for its food, history, places of interests, massive shopping centers, and unique cultural attractions (Henkel et al., 2006). That is why Thai King’s Birthday Celebration is held in Bangkok and attracts thousands of visitors, including international and domestic Thai tourists. The celebration of the King’s Birthday helps to boost domestic tourism to Bangkok (McDowall & Ma, 2010).

2.3.2 Overview of the event of 2012

In 2012, Thai King’s 85-th Birthday was celebrated with festivities and prayers. Thai News Agency (TNA) reported that “Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on his 85th birthday celebration called on the Thai people to stay united to bring peace to the country” (Thailand Celebrates King’s 85-th Birthday, 2012). Visitors had a chance to observe the Royal ceremony, the King and his family, and public celebration. Large crowds of the Thais dressed in yellow shirts, waved flags bearing the royal insignia of the King, and chanted “Long Live the King”. It has been found that over 200,000 people gathered in the area around Bangkok’s Anantasamakom Throne Hall in order participate in celebration of the King’s 85th birthday. At night, tens of thousands of the Thais marched with small candles near the old Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Magnificent firework displays attracted attention of thousands of tourists who came to Bangkok to attend Thai King’s 85-th Birthday celebration.

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