Intelligence Main Headline

Community support for festivals linked to how much locals know about the good they can do

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

A study involving 2 scholars from IFT says local authorities should step up efforts to raise awareness among residents about the social and cultural benefits that hosting festivals brings to the city. Raising such awareness, the authors argue, could drive community support regarding development of festival tourism, helping to diversify Macao’s overall tourism offering.

“While many Macao residents realise the economic benefits that festivals have brought to the city, the socio-cultural benefits are less visible,” the researchers explained. They added it was important to revise that situation as their study results indicated that locals were more supportive of hosting festivals when they perceived positive social and cultural benefits from them.

The authors added that festival planners – and people in the local government responsible for managing the image of Macao as a destination – “should therefore communicate the benefits of festival development through different marketing techniques and channels, to gain residents’ collaboration and support.”

The comments were featured in the paper “Is QOL a better predictor of support for festival development? A social-cultural perspective”, produced by IFT scholars Dr. Li Xiangping and Dr. Penny Wan, in partnership with United States-based academic Dr. Muzaffer “Muzzo” Uysal. “QOL” refers to “quality of life”. The work was published in February in the online version of the scholarly journal Current Issues in Tourism.

The purpose of the study was to analyse locals’ support for development of festival tourism. It sought to explore the perceived social and cultural impacts of such events plus resident satisfaction with the social and cultural aspects of their lives as well as their respective satisfaction regarding their life as a whole.

The study results were based upon face-to-face interviews answered by 280 respondents. The sample comprised people holding Macao residency, all of whom were 18 years of age or older.

From roadshows to brainstorming sessions

The authors suggested several ways to increase awareness among Macao residents regarding the social and cultural benefits brought to the city by the hosting of festivals. “For instance, roadshows and TV shows could be produced to highlight those social-cultural benefits to locals and to let them feel pride in hosting the festivals,” they said.

“The Macao Government Tourism Office could organise some activities at the festivals allowing local residents to interact more with tourists,” the researchers added. “During some festivals local residents could be given opportunities to introduce local food to tourists; or some activities and games could allow tourists and locals to form teams to win prizes or gifts. Some activities could be designed for children, enhancing the awareness of local people of the benefits of hosting festivals.”

The study results additionally suggested that residents were “more positive about, and supportive of, festival development when their social-cultural life quality increases and they are satisfied with their life as a whole,” said the researchers.

“As festivals play crucial roles in enhancing individual wellbeing and daily life socially and emotionally, it is essential for governments and festival organisers to plan, design and organise festivals for local residents that help enhance their life satisfaction and quality of life through their participation,” the authors stated.

“Festivals should appear interesting, fun and meaningful for locals in order to draw their participation,” suggested the research paper. “During the festival design stage, organisers could collect local residents’ opinions on the festivals that they are interested in hosting,” and incorporate such feedback into their plans, the authors stated.

“Brainstorming workshops could be organised in each district in Macao to collect such opinions” and record the interests of community members, the researchers suggested. “In this manner, local residents would be more willing to become involved in the festivals, could better appreciate the socio-cultural benefits of festivals, and eventually would show more support for festival hosting.”

More info

Dr. Li Xiangping is an Assistant Professor at IFT. Dr. Li has a PhD in hospitality and tourism management from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Virginia, in the United States. Her research interests include sustainable tourism development, destination marketing, and tourist behaviour.

IFT Visiting Assistant Professor Dr. Penny Wan holds a PhD from the University of Hong Kong. Her academic research focuses on sustainable tourism planning, heritage management, casino gaming management, and hospitality services. Dr. Wan has served as an editorial board member and reviewer for several high-profile academic journals in the field of tourism.

Dr. Muzaffer “Muzzo” Uysal chairs the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the Isenberg School of Management in the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in the U.S. He holds a PhD from the Texas A&M University, in Texas, also in the U.S. His academic research interests include tourism development, economic impacts of tourism, and quality-of-life (QOL) research in hospitality and tourism.

– The paper
Xiangping Li, Yim King Penny Wan and Muzaffer Uysal: “Is QOL a better predictor of support for festival development? A social-cultural perspective”, Current Issues in Tourism, 2019