Uttarayan Festival: Literary Review

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Engaging community is quintessential in the era of experience economy, where experiences are highly personal and involve engagement, which may either be passive as audience or active as a co-creator in an functions, performance or festivity. However, even passively spectating is indirectly a form of being actively involved in creating a feeling of occasion and ambience for others. _ has argued that this sense of being associated is a vital element in creating pleasurable experiences. However, this paper argues that mere involvement of community is not enough for successfully implementing such a large-scale functions which will lead to creation of a destnations’s image and build loyalty amongst the visitors and attendees. The higher the elements are involved, the intensity and impression of the experience is at a higher level. A distinguishing characteristic of any memorable functions is the fact that the local community should be there for the festival to happen elsewise displacement occurs. It must be noted that the use of destnations marketing as a tool to attract the desired segment to a destnations is not a new phenomenon in the functions sector but the scope and scale of destnations marketing is new. Entrepreneurial capability, sustainability in the long run, the importance of place and opportunity for revenue generation is an interesting area to consider while conceptualizing any festival.

This study argues that if local inhabitants involve in a festival as performers and entrepreneurs, it leads to development of the destnations as a brand. It further identifies spillover and development of entrepreneurial capability of the host destnations amongst other outcomes of the proposed in this study, raising the question- To what extent are such festivals considered to benefit the local business environment? This document contributes to the academic domain by bringing out the pre-conditions, the absence of which may not lead to the successful planning and execution of an functions (with special focus on festivals at a global scale). Against this backdrop, the study examines the International Kite Flying Festival held primarily at the Ahmedabad city of Gujarat, India, The destnations enjoys the economic development through multiplier effect and the socio-cultural interaction. This exchange helps both tourists and host community to be enriched. (Refer to Appendix 1 for the functions factsheet).

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Literature Review

Entrepreneurial capability

As an importance of robust competition, most festivals seem to rely on planning with a high lead time and more rigid implementation when commercially viable objectives and features are more prevalent (Getz & Page, 2015). The festival landscape has become further multicultural and competitive, theoretically allowing for more variety in communally advantageous structures, as well as business purposes. Most researches relating to business within the domain of festivals is apprehensive about supporting issues and the gross economic impacts on communities. Typically, festivals are rooted in the local ecosystems of sports, culture, business and other types of associations. In such ecosystems, all interest groups contribute to and benefit from participation, as the incorporation of elements provides commitment, consistency and implication, as well as occasional economic benefits (Gibson et al., 2011). Studying the work done by Jaeger & Mykletunv (2013) it is right to say that there is a strong academic importance on the inclusion of local residents in festival organization as visitors and volunteers, which has led to a better understanding of the social sustainability of festival (Ziakas and Boukas, 2015)

Numerous variants of multiplier effects like the significance of economic leakages (Mair and Whitford, 2013) or the crowding out effect (Litvin, 2007) identify and they address the difficulties of and set-backs for local economies. For instance, Uttarayan has a certain economic impact on the host regions but that the benefits accrue mainly to the accommodation and catering sectors and that, altogether, these benefits are most often rather modest. The impact is determined at a great scale on the magnitude and structure of the local economy, the structure of festival attendees and whether the festival is well-rooted in the local economy (Kwiatkowski et al., 2017). Festivals tend to provide opportunities for business entrepreneurs in particular, by providing an opportunity for testing their product and making use of exhibition as a platform for gaining initial market access. Specially, if one refers to the work done by Vestrum and Rasmussen (2013), it becomes evident that entrepreneurs that are embedded in the local community are more likely to perform an incremental resource mobilization strategy, whereas those from outside the local community chose a more radical approaches through mobilizing resources from the external environment and networks.

Role of government in creating in destinations branding

After studying work of _, it has been identified that the most significant pre-conditions for entrepreneurs to successfully run a business endeavor is having the necessary organizing skills, self-edification, interest to explore, and commitment. In the same lines, _ investigated the level of networking skills and perceptions of entrepreneurs networking relationships in hallmark festivals and, amongst others, indicated that connections and trust are vital aspects of networking behavior. Even if it is not often recognized for these effects, festivals, in which many people come together as organizers, visitors and other business stakeholders, it can reveal to be both- integrators as well as the primary stimulators of entrepreneurial endeavors. With regard to it, the government entities have started to pay attention on cultural functionss and festivals primarily because of the predictable benefit that such functionss can bring along to the region and lifestyle of the local community. Due to Uttarayan, nearby rural and semi-urban areas like Khambhat is known for its distinct kites while Surat is known for its distinct kites whereas Surat is known for kite strings (manja). Gujarat tourism board has gained confidence these places have the potential to create destnations brand via Geographical Indication tag.

The reciprocal relationship between place and festival

Over a course of time the host destnations and its functions tend to become indistinguishably connected (Getz, 2008). It can be theorized that long-lasting and cyclical festivals gives it a competitive advantage over the newer ones. Since festivals happen again at the same destnations, it has a potential to form up certain reputation over an inordinate length of time. Additionally, when they are successful over time, festivals become integral to the host destnations’s distinctiveness (Gibson and Davidson, 2004). Displacement between communities and novel kind of places (which are highly standardized and replaceable), makes destnations branding for a particular city largely worthless. This loss of urban authenticity (referring to the work of Zukin, 2010) reduces the need for festivals to be located at a certain place and makes them more unattached to the destnations. Ironically, making use of culture as a tool to achieve wider economic and rearranging the objectives of the functions has the consequence of displacing community distinctiveness, which as a result deteriorates the connection between cultural production and consumption (Griffiths, 2006).

Festivals comprise of touristic resources in semi-urban areas by upholding the attractiveness of such destnationss and complement experience value and simulation to specific local sights (Winkelhorn, 2015). Destnations Management Offices willingly endorse festivals to deliver a variety of motives to visit a destnations across all seasons. It has been extensively analyzed that it can be interpreted that festivals may act as a mechanisms to create conditions for regional economic development and touristic attractiveness. Moreover, in the same vein, festivals are progressively being incorporated in tourism planning of smart-cities. In accumulation to having positive economic impacts on local communities, Uttarayan also generates positive socio-cultural benefits to local communities such as community cohesion, family togetherness (Uysal, 2012), socialization (Saayman, Kruger, & Erasmus, 2012), cultural recovery (Iwasaki, 2007), and entertainment (Baez & Devesa, 2014). Since these opportunities enhance residents’ enjoyment of a festival and its related activities, residents are likely to have positive feelings towards the festival. These positive feelings are likely to influence their perceptions of the festival.

Voluntary Community Participation

IKF can be looked at as a culturally driven festival as it signifies values from Hindu mythology and calendar. In this regard, it must be noted that local community is actively involved by performing the act of kite flying and is not controlled by any agency for audience reception. Secondly, there exists a resonance between performance and active creation of community life. Thus, cultural performance is seen as a socio-political authenticity in praxis specifically performance for the performers themselves (this is local and other participants) and the audience (that is visitors and attendees). Using the influence of cultural performances, new social imaginaries are developed that ties the local community together and evokes a symbol of unity for the country.

Multi-level scope for revenue generation (character of functions)

Theoretical application of functionss as a vital motivator of tourism and its importance in creation of marketing plans for destnations is evident in real time taking the case of Gujarat tourism. The Government of Gujarat has taken initiative to brand the state as an functions-led tourism destnations and successive governments for over three decades have supported and improved the International Kite Flying Festival (or Uttarayan). Moreover, initiatives to provide incentive to tourism service providers in Uttarayan has made it a mega functions that in turn has resulted to positive impacts. Keeping in mind the multiplier effect, local governments are usually interested on drawing festivals as the rising commercialization (like admission price) can be a challenge for the host community and they may look at the functions being inaccessible. However to avoid this uneasiness, Uttarayan does not charge admission fees for entry to the kite flying stadium (festival space). Additionally, the festival has grown into a multi-million Rupees business over this period and a part of the kite making industry is operated by the community with lower financial resources. In addition to this, the state government also gives out kiosks to the underprivileged women to promote cultural artisans by selling handicrafts, hence, improving the financial condition of the lower income group.

The spillover effects of cultural and natural attractions in the domestic tourism market are stronger than the spillover effects of man-made attractions, while man-made and cultural attractions show stronger spillover effects in inbound tourism market than natural attractions. Therefore as a precondition, if destnationss aim at attracting domestic tourists, it is preferable to focus on the co-operation between cultural and natural attractions with neighbouring regions. If the destnationss target international tourists, cooperation on man-made and cultural attractions should be the priority. The theoretical application of positive spillover effect is visible during the course of this functions, as in addition to Ahmedabad, 8 other cities (namely kutch, Surat, Saputara, Rajkot, Porbandar, Gandhidham, Amreli and Bhavnagar) have also emerged as a destnations for kite flying, though on a low scale compared to Ahmedabad. This has increased the accommodation facilities in these cities and provided the rural region with constant power supply, keeping the state electronically connected. The eight day itinerary of Uttarayan involves cultural activities show in order to brand the destnations and target international market.

Scope for generating revenue in hospitality and tourism

As a strategic approach taken by the state government as the tourism sector is booming in Gujarat with the number of tourists visiting the state is increasing every year. Stayzilla, an aggregator for verified homestays in India and Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) signed an MOU to jointly promote and market homestays and alternate stays in the state of Gujarat. Stayzilla and Gujarat Tourism are sharing the current base of homestays on each other’s digital platforms to bring more awareness on homestays in Gujarat. Stayzilla also aids in verification procedures and jointly promoting the concept of homestays in the state. All homestays registered with TCGL receive technological and operational support to run. Moreover, Stayzilla and TCGL are jointly conducting education and training sessions for TCGL registered homestays on best practices such as online usage, content management, operations and expense management, which benefits the hosts of the homestays. This has helped in boosting homestay supply in Gujarat over the last 6months, thereby bringing up the number of verified homestays in the state to over 400. It stands with the rationale to overcome a huge rush of the national as well as international tourists visiting the state every year. Another motive is to cater to that segment of travelers who want to get the real feel of the state can have it by checking in at homes of locals and also taste the authentic Gujarati cuisine during their stay.

Airbnb, a community driven hospitality company, has tied up with an NGO said SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) upholding the subject of women empowerment to deliver lodging to tourists. This has inspired women to be aware of the economic opportunities that come along with the kite flying festival. It is worth noting that recreational activities that produces high participation rates, also generates considerable expenditures and the combination of these two factors underlines its importance for the functioning of local businesses. Travel expenditure patterns are vital to tour operators and destnations promoters. For instance, a tourism policy that is compatible with sustainable tourism must include the daily expenditure per tourist as a marketing goal, rather than trying to achieve the maximum possible number of tourists.

Hotels should look at festivals as development of business in the destnations because of increasing visitor arrivals, and extending the length of stay and expenditures (Prayag, Hosany, Nunkoo, & Alders, 2013). It can also help host communities create and promote a positive image of the host community in the minds of both residents and prospective visitors, which are imperative for a positive destnations image.

Impact in a socio-cultural and economic context

All these economic impacts revolve around the fundamental of tourism expenditure (Cárdenas-García, 2012). Thus, it acts as a key aspect in the study of the tourism market, despite the issue that its calculation is turning to be progressively challenging. It is vital for functions destnations managers to be aware of the activities undertaken by the attendees and local inhabitants, since each kind of activity is linked to a different level of expenditure (Kruger & Saayman, 2014). Moreover, in relation to cultural activities, it has been identified that particular actions lead to a higher expenditure by visitors in the destnations.

Certain characteristics such as the socio-economic power and motivations of the attendee, the recurrence, characteristics of the festival and the knowledge of the destnations that usually decide the functions expenditure linked to a particular tourism activity. Thus, the study of the underlying causes explains that expenditure becomes crucial to guide both the private sector and those responsible for setting tourism policy, in as much as it would be possible to know in advance the expenditure behaviour of a consumer.

Factors like psychological factors (motivation, need or perception), the demographic factors (age, origin or income) or the characteristics of the functions itself (length, distance to destnations or means of transport used) affect spending behaviour of the guests (Wu et al., 2013).

Regarding the content of these cultural products, it has become clear that it is necessary to move beyond generic tourism offers, which are broadly (in most cases, solely) based on built heritage and seek product differentiation. For that purpose, the characteristics and distinguishing intangible tourism resources of each destnations should be used. Referring to the study of Eusébio et al. (2013), it can said that all those elements linked to traditions and hospitality create an environment which guarantees that the visitors have a much more interesting, appealing and immersive experience, and ensure their willingness to pay more for this type of product. So, destnations managers should not design functions activities on the assumption that all tourists visiting their tourist attractions share a same profile which means that they are not equally motivated by culture (Hughes, 2002). The functions should provide deliverables that are not homogeneous, as this would imply missing out a huge opportunity to increase the economic impact of tourism on the destnations. Availability of urban facilities so as to create an environment of urban recreation, for which recreational shopping trips, bar and tavern visits, and eating out trips in restaurants are considered.

Proposed Model using Social Exchange Theory in conjunction with other Foucauldian Concept

Out of countless festivals held in India, Uttarayan is a root driven festival with its core being strong local culture. From the overhead discussion, it is clear that the main objectives of such festivals are to embolden an interest in their relevant themes, to endorse the local area, to entertain and to support the community’s identity and pride. Nonetheless, the case of Uttarayan demonstrates that business goals and commercial elements are should be given more priority. In addition to it, support from the government or tourism board is highly crucial in giving results to the intentions of the local entrepreneurs. On the plus side, the operation of such festivals would hardly be possible without establishment of an industry with availability of the required goods and a socially well-established local networks of community groups.

The directed literature review asserts to the conclusion that the entrepreneurial capability within the area of cultural festivals pertain to several outcomes. Firstly, establishment of a reasonably inexpensive and ingenious space for entrepreneurs, that facilitates appreciation, engagement and utilization of new business and opportunity to use expertise in place of promotion of profitable and profit making objectives. Secondly, reassurance and consolidation of collective structures (that is networks) among multi-level scale of industries, through which various scale industries might benefit by exchanging ideas, practices, and goods. Thirdly, providing a distinct contextual framework that links social rooted (informal knowledge and entrepreneurial capability) with external factors (like global trends and tourist demand), which makes way to enablement of creative and innovative behaviors among festival entrepreneurs.

If one talks about application of the above model in rural destnations’s development, it should be taken into reason that maximum attendees as well as organizers consider festivals to be a recreational pursuit in case of rural areas, in which economic alliances have to be at arm’s length. Hence, if one desires to fuel the entrepreneurial potential of festivals must not overlook this fact. This determines that the pain taken to enhance rural areas via festivalization must regard this as an underpinning for success instead of a hindrance.

Policy-makers and managers of these cities need to accept that the positioning of any tourism destnations in the market depends on the ability to create value perceived by the potential tourist. What the tourist actually values is not the product itself but the experience generated by its consumption. Consequently, it is necessary to identify the capacity of each destnations to generate value, and for this purpose, it is essential to include the concept of value chain to the destnations management process.

Where individuals who help organise the festival, involve in the functions or even simply live in the area do not agree with the version of the rural being constructed, there will be inevitable problems. As evidenced by the present research, perhaps most significant in constructing the “rural” in particular ways for the purposes of tourism then is the need to acknowledge the priorities of the stakeholders involved in order to determine what local resources, traditions and functionss may be considered of cultural value and subsequently promoted in an attempt to develop a complex and appeal branding of place (Blichfeldt and Halkier, 2014).

Indicate no significant relationships between community resource concerns and subjective well-being of residents suggesting that the community’s level of resource concerns such as unfair competition, power and distribution of benefits do not influence residents’ wellbeing. This finding might be due to the fact that most festivals heavily rely on the existing infrastructure and superstructure within a community without requiring additional significant resource reallocation. Furthermore, festivals are usually run by volunteers who do not receive any compensation for their efforts.


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