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Linking engagement at cultural festivals to legacy impacts

Koenig-Lewis, N., Palmer, A. and Asaad, Y. (2021) Linking engagement at cultural festivals to legacy impacts. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29 (11-12). pp. 1810-1831. ISSN 1747-7646

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2020.1855434


Cultural festivals typically celebrate and reinforce a cultural identity, while becoming embedded in tourism experiences. They have sought to establish their sustainability through legacies of enduring involvement with the cultures and communities they serve. Although studies have examined the effects of attendance on festival impacts and legacy, we contribute further understanding by investigating the effects of visitors’ level of behavioural engagement during a festival on subsequent cultural and social post-festival legacies. Basing our conceptual development on van Doorn et al.’s Customer Engagement Behaviour framework and Service-Dominant-Logic, we incorporate behavioural engagement, emotions, festival loyalty, and post-festival cultural and social involvement intentions. Hypotheses are tested in two studies with data from 1,335 visitors covering consecutive years of a national cultural festival, using cluster and mediation analyses. Findings highlight the importance of engagement and joyful emotions on festival legacy benefits. We validate an “engagement ladder” comprising four distinct clusters – ‘Disengaged’, ‘Observers’, ‘Learners’, ‘Doers’. The most engaged clusters – ‘Learners’ and ‘Doers’ - have significantly higher association with legacy impacts, manifested through post-festival cultural and community involvement intentions. Our results have implications for sponsors and organisers of cultural festivals whose sustainability may be justified by encouraging visitor engagement rather than merely promoting attendance.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:94694


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