Community attitude on winter festivals as a strategy to reduce tourism seasonality: the Christmas in July Hogsback Festival in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
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Marketing tactics to tackle the notion of low season are abundant yet seasonality remains a complex phenomenon in the tourism industry. This article explored the possibilities of using winter festivals to curb seasonality of tourism in South Africa, with a specific focus on the Eastern Cape Province. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used, while purposive sampling was applicable for the selection of surveyed areas. Respondents were selected through simple random sampling. A total of 180 questionnaires were successfully completed. The results showed that winter festivals can be useful as a tool in combating tourism seasonality, and indeed the number of tourist arrivals were noticed to be influenced by winter festivals. Winter festivals were also found to be addressing mainly community social issues such as entertainment and knowledge enrichment, hence the findings reflected a strong community support, while economic impacts were found to be of short-term. However, the study highlighted poor community involvement in the planning and management of winter festivals. Policy makers, destination marketers and event organisers need to promote winter festivals to reduce tourism seasonality, prioritise on new markets who are likely to spend more and ensure suitable venues for winter festivals are available.
- Faculty of Humanities