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International arts festivals, cultural tourism, medium sized cities, Kalamata, Drama, Greece
This paper presents an analysis of two renowned international arts festivals visitors’ motives and profile characteristics, in two medium sized Greek cities: the Kalamata International Dance Festival and the Drama International Short Film Festival. The purpose of the study was to determine the reasons visitors attend these festivals, necessary for building more concise marketing strategies and, therefore, more successful and sustainable events, with long-term benefits, ranging from the local to the national levels. The research addresses international arts festivals that share four main characteristics: a) they host international professional artists, 2) they feature explicitly-stated artistic visions and objectives, 3) they are publicly funded, and 4) they have achieved a consecutive 23 years of successful presence in each city. These two case studies represent two cultural events which have managed to maintain their popularity and high status, on the European festival map, as well as to raise their host cities’ cultural and tourism standards, despite the serious economic cutback they have both faced. Due to limited available funds, the festivals lack marketing resources and specifically data collection on visitor motivation, a gap which this study aims to remedy.
Primary data were collected with the aid of online structured questionnaires, distributed and collected during autumn 2016. 130 questionnaires were answered by visitors of the Drama International Short Film Festival and 186 questionnaires were answered by visitors of the Kalamata International Dance Festival. Even though both festivals share similar characteristics regarding their organization and their aims, our analysis emphasized the heterogeneity of the motives of attendance in connection with the visitors’ profile characteristics, for each event. While some similarities were found, especially between demographic sample characteristics and visitors’ profiles, the general picture to emerge from the findings indicates significant differences between the two cases. Arts festivals-goers do not appear to constitute a single homogeneous market; rather, each event appears to attract different audiences for different reasons. The implications of these findings, deriving from statistical analysis, are discussed and suggestions for further research are outlined.
This research aims to contribute to knowledge concerning the marketing strategies of International Arts Festivals in medium-sized cities, useful for research and academic purposes, as well as to local and national authorities and other agencies and bodies, responsible for urban tourism and cultural city/town planning and management.