Rituals and festivals have been integral part of human lifestyle from time immemorial, and always involve taking variety of foods and wines as well as exhibiting various forms fine arts raging from songs, dances, chants among others. Nowadays, festivals have evolved into a precious commodity of tourists’ attraction while at the same time remaining long exhibited traditional features.
Issue 1.The role of rituals in festivals
This issue sought to identify various characteristics of rituals and festivals and to explore various categories of festivals. The issue equally delved into festival tourism as a concept, the role played by food in different events as well as behavioral patterns and motivation of festival tourists. Finally, the theme and venue choice and the importance of the same in the process of event planning were vital concerns of the issue.
Myriads of definitions to festivals were reviewed, the simplest being Getz’s who assets that festivals refers to “themed, public celebrations” (2007, p. 31). A complementary definition is that of Allen et Al who are of the opinion that festivals refer to “expression of human activity that contributes much to our social and cultural life”. Basically, festivals have certain common features including: profanity during celebration, relate to a notable event or person, accompanied by cultural and artistic performances, cheerfulness and a fair. Festival tourism is then defined as the act of travelling with the purpose of attending festivals (demand perspective) or attraction of tourists to festivals as well as facilitating a positive destination image, stemming from hosting events (supply perspective). Rituals on the other hand refer to a set of actions habitually performed in a particular order and in the same manner. Cultural festivals are normally symbolic and repeated over and over, thus making them ritualistic in nature. Taking foods and drinks is a central component of cultural rituals, commonly exhibited in the exchange of food and drinks by the participants. Normally, the food and wine thereby used do serve a specific purpose, which are often symbolic- like wine symbolizing blood of Christ in Christian rituals.
Festivals play a number of key roles, including: enhancing family togetherness, facilitating socialization, providing an opportunity for cultural exploration, creating an opportunity for creativity and novelty as well as offering an opportunity for family re-union and togetherness. The variation in motivations always forms a basis of segmentation of the festival tourists, who will often choose to attend a festival whose motive is consistent with their interest. The festival managers must therefore be keen to ensure that they arrange a festival in a manner and with a motive that will appeal to their target market. To the festival host, festivals and rituals thereby carried out brings benefits at two levels: (1) to individuals: they get opportunity to enjoy themselves, generate income either through participating and reaping the benefits that accrues from the events or engaging in businesses that makes or sells products used in festivals; (b) and, to the community, who get political, social, economical and environmental boosts from the activities, participants and the festival tourists.
Issue 2: Socio-Cultural Impacts of the Festival to Tourism Destination Development and Its Implications
This issue aimed at exposing the socio-economic roles played by festivals in tourism destinations and the importance of community participation in festivals. It also sought to point out the trends in food and wine festivals as well as issues and challenges regarding planning and developing festival tourism destination. The discussions under this issue were made against the background that festivals have socio-cultural, political and economic aspects.
Various literatures reviewed in this chapter noted that cultural festivals and that food and wine festivals are no longer just events, but have evolved to be a valuable commodity with social, economic and environmental value. Economically, cultural festivals stimulate the development of infrastructures and urbanization as focus will be paid to enhance mobility, accommodation and sustainability of the festival hosts and the tourists. Moreover, the food and wine to be used in the festival or their raw materials need to be transported from their point of production to where they will be used or by the tourists to their regions (for aesthetic appeals). Festivals thus promote food or wine destination and also offer an opportunity for exhibition of the produce of a particular community.
A number of issues and challenges need to be adequately addressed if success in festival tourism is to be realized. These include: likelihood of opposition or withdrawal of the host community if there is no adequate involvement; misbehavior resulting from increased noise , intoxication or drug taking during which may be central to the festive activities; disruption of normal life style of the hosting community, considering that festive activities normally retain their traditional nature and hardly adjust with changes in society and modernization; pollution, owing to disposal of food remains and packaging or even the noise as well as other forms of disruptions like traffic jam and closure of certain daily activities. To ensure that festival gets communal support, and to ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of the hosting community, it is very important that a comprehensive and participative community involvement is ensured. A careful planning and clear strategy for the festive events should also be made well in advance to the occurrence of the festival.
Issue 3- Economic Impacts of the Festival to Tourism Destination Development and Its Implications: key tourism strategies and event positioning
This issue is a sub-component of food tourism destination and the government involvement in food tourism. To ensure proper event positioning, it is important to establish the trends in food destination, the extent and role of the government involvement in destination planning and the impact that food tourism has on the economic development. In this way, proper tourism strategies may be developed that will see food tourism being a success.
The need to participate in food tourism and food experiences has proved to be of economic value, more so in view that the government will have an interest in tapping and developing the benefits that accrue from the food tourism. Food tourism therefore often culminates into an infrastructural development and a various redevelopment programs, aside from the economic boots got by the individual businesses and the community where the events are hosted. However, the desires and tastes of food tourists are quite dynamic. It is therefore of paramount concern that tourism plan be made by tourism destination. Apart from enhancing logistical success in festivals and festival tourism, planning may act as a pull factor as the potential tourists will be relying on it as a determinant of what to expect in the actual event. It is thus a marketing tool. . The planning can be done at various levels: locally, nationally or regionally. Strategy design and implementation need to be integrated and coordinated across the levels to ensure harmony and success of the actual events.
Whereas planning and laying strategies are relevant across all the levels, it is of greater sensitivity at the local level. This is because locally, producers have a greater opportunity to directly interact with the customers and therefore create links and networks that would enhance the promotion of the products of interest (Hall & Mitchell 2002). Some strategies to this effect include: setting up food and wine trails, farmers markets and farm shops. According to du Rand & Heath (2006), developing and implementing food tourism is a three staged strategy. It begins by analyzing the current tourism market, which if not favorable, then policies at various levels will need to be reviewed. The second stage involves strategic evaluation of the potential of food tourism, suing a suitable assessment tools and should only be carried out if the response to the first stage was positive. Finally, a framework ought to be laid that will establish the management and marketing techniques to be adopted to see the event successful.
Issue 4- Industry Perspective: Industry Involvement
Lots of benefits stand to be accruing to both the tourism industry and wineries from wine tourism. However, it is important to note that wine tourism is still a developing area and calls for very strategic and maximum inter-industry collaboration, so as to minimize development hurdles. Industry involvement is equally crucial to putting in place support facilities and facilitating participative solutions to some of the challenges that may stifle tourism industry.
Inter-industry relationship is very vital to the development of wine tourism. However, inadequacy of inter-industry integration, limitation of available information and insufficiency of market research remain major hindrances to industry involvement in wine tourism and, by extension, the entire industry. Moreover, the wine industries and wineries always tend to focus more on the products (wines) so that the idea of wine tourism becomes a matter of second thought. Such reluctance to involve in wine tourism is attributed to various factors , including : failure to understand the mechanics and operation of tourism industry, availability of alternative channels of distributions-which are of course more productive and profitable (or so deemed), fear of attracting consumers that are undesirable and thus compromising the brand popularity as well as misapprehension that they may end up being commercialized by tourism ,which is subject to more governmental control.
However, industry involvement as well as inter-industry collaboration remains vital. By taking active part in wine tourism, the industries will get an opportunity to market their products, get new market avenues and get an avenue to come together and address some of the major challenges facing their industry (Pasternak, 2004). In the course of working together and collaborating to promote wine tourism, the industries will be able to find a good forum and avenue to lay down strategies that may in the long run benefit not only the tourism industry, but even the industries themselves. It becomes a good opportunity to create new organizational and managerial structures so as to: coordinate their operations and vital market issues, raise financial support, bring on board political structures and public administration wing into assisting both the wine and tourism industry as well as establishing useful producer associations which will ensure that there is an easily available supply. As a way of bringing sanity and quality while the industries jointly participate, it becomes a viral role of the state, through its established bodies and organs to lay conducive policies and quality standards that will guide production. Adherence to the quality standards thereby laid should be key criteria to membership of industries involved in producing products for wine tourism. Of course these should go hand in hand to putting in place support facilities such as tourist accommodation and any other structures necessary to attract tourism.
Issue 5: Environmental Impacts of the Festival and Its Implications for Sustainability: Environmental Strategies Used In the Festival
The food and wine industry do not operate in vacuum; they work within a given environment. They therefore owe a duty of care to the people and organisms that use this environment as well as the future generation. As such, it is paramount that environmental management practices be integrated into food and wine productions well as festival tourism destinations (Baker and Boland ,2001). In this way, a suitable production practices will be realized while at the same time not compromising the environment where the operations, productions and the actual festival occurs.
Sustainability in the context of wine tourism refers to the maintenance of the assets that are used by the industry. The assets in this sense include the inbuilt environment, where the activities occur. Proper environmental management will in the long run impact on sustainability of wine and food tourism. For instance, resources such as land and water are used directly or indirectly in wine making. As such, their pollution will affect the wine making and the entire wine tourism as an industry.
Integration of environmental concern has been witnessed in various wine industries globally. For instance, New Zealand developed ‘Wadenswil Integrated Production Scheme,’ a Swiss development program that was highly environmentally sensitive, flexible, technology responsive and sustainability inclined. Similarly, in California, their wine institute drafted a Code of Sustainable Wine Growing whose key values included ensuring environmental leadership (essentially comprising of environmental and natural resource conservation and protection) as well as responding to community concerns. Though such projects, environmental sensitivity and community participation in environmental issues is enhanced.
Food and wine festivals for a long tine been viewed as mere events, but have since evolved into precious commodities of tourism. They presently have unprecedented social, economic and environmental value, especially in view of their conservative nature that renders festivals to be a rare and golden commodity. They stimulate the development of infrastructures, enhance family and communal reunions, and ensure socialization and cultural exploration and ensuring creativity. To tap optimally from this unique kind of tourism, festival managers should understand the target market. If properly organize and managed, and the host community adequately involved, political, social, cultural, economical and environmental boosts will be realized by both the hosts and the tourists. A major challenge that remains to the industry is inadequate industry involvement and collaboration, a fact attributed to limited access to relevant information, lack of enough and relevant market and various market misapprehensions. Thus, more still need to be done to bring various industrial stakeholders on board, facilitate inter-industry collaboration and to let them realize the value of participating in wine and festive tourism. More importantly, matters of industrial sustainability must be looked into, and this includes ensuring roper environmental management. As such, their pollution will affect the wine making and the entire wine tourism as an industry. Inter-industry relationship is very vital to the development of wine tourism. However, inadequacy of inter-industry integration, limitation of available information and insufficiency of market research remain major hindrances to industry involvement in wine tourism and the entire industry.
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