Cultural Tourism. Blessing or Curse for Cultural Celebrations?

With a Focus on the Holi Festival in India

Bachelor Thesis, 2011

118 Pages, Grade: 1,7



First of all I want to thank my supervisor Prof. Dr. Astrid Mühlböck for supporting me throughout the whole process of my thesis. Not only her suggestions on how my underlying idea of writing about the Holi Festival is realizable, but also her constant availability and advice kept me on the right track to finally conclude my thesis. Special thanks go to my interview partners and everyone who participated in my online questionnaire, especially Mr. Chintan Singh and Mr. Sumit Xavier who constantly motivated their friends to support me in my research. Additionally, I want to thank everyone who was part of my studies in Bad Honnef. In particular the Event Management course 09/08, but special cheers go to Franziska, Laura, Sophia and Theresia: You guys made the last three years unforgettable. Furthermore, I want to thank my whole family, especially my parents Wolfgang and Gabi, who did not only enable me to study in Bad Honnef, but also for supporting me in everything I want to achieve in my life and showing understanding for my constant drive to travel around the world. Lastly, everyone else, who accompanied me in the progress of my thesis and whose name I did not mention in particular. Thank you!!

In connection with globalization and the increasing willingness to interact intercultural, people are travelling more frequently, not only for business reasons or simply for holidays, but also to get a cultural insight into different parts of the world. Every culture has its own habits and observances, including everyday occurrences and of course special occasions. Cultural tourists try to look into those occasions, for example by taking part in the Holi Festival in India. On the basis of this theory, online questionnaires as well as expert interviews were conducted to find out whether the participation is harmful or beneficial to the given cultural celebration. Both research methods were solely distributed among Indians to get their perception. The results of the two different research tools clearly showed a positive impression towards cultural tourism in general, as well as tourists who participate in the Holi Festival. In fact, the cross-cultural interaction in form of celebrating the Festival of Colours together with foreigners predominantly is seen as a blessing for the celebration and everyone involved. Even though many limitations occurred to this study, the results are conclusive and built a basis for further research in the field.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ... ii

Abstract ... iii

List of Tables ... vi

List of Figures ... vii

List of Appendices ... viii

List of Abbreviations ... ix

1. Introduction ... 3
1.1 Rationale of the Topic ... 3
1.2 Aims and Objectives ... 4
1.3 Motivational Background ... 4
1.4 Structure of the Thesis ... 5
1.5 Limitation of the Study ... 5

2. Methodology ... 6
2.1 Research Approach ... 6
2.2 Research Design ... 6
2.3 Data Collection Methods ... 7
2.3.1 Secondary Data ... 8
2.3.2 Primary Data ... 8 Expert Interviews ... 9 Online Questionnaire ... 9
2.4 Sampling ... 10
2.4.1 Sampling of Online Questionnaire ... 10
2.4.2 Sampling of Expert Interview ... 12
2.5 Limitation and Bias ... 14

3. Relevant Terminologies ... 15
3.1 Event ... 15
3.1.1 Typology of Events ... 16
3.1.2 Impact of Events ... 16
3.2 Culture ... 18
3.2.1 Rites and Rituals ... 19
3.2.2 Cultural Celebrations ... 20
3.3 Tourism ... 21
3.3.1 Cultural Tourism ... 23
3.3.2 Event Tourism ... 26
3.4 Stakeholders ... 28
3.4.1 Stakeholders of Tourism ... 28
3.4.2 Stakeholders of Events ... 29

4. India ... 30
4.1 General facts of India ... 31
4.2 Cultural Tourism in India ... 31
4.3 Cultural Celebrations in India ... 32

5. The Holi Festival ... 33
5.1 Typology of the Holi Festival ... 35
5.2 Legends of the Holi Festival ... 37
5.2.1 Legend of Holika ... 37
5.2.2 Legend of Dhundhi ... 37
5.2.3 Legend of Radha and Krishna ... 38
5.2.4 Legend of Kaamadeva ... 38
5.3 History of the Holi Festival ... 39
5.4 Impact of the Holi Festival ... 40
5.5 Holi around the World ... 42
5.6 Stakeholders of the Holi Festival ... 43

6. Closing of Literature Review ... 44

7. Analysis of the Indian Perception ... 44
7.1 Demographical Data ... 45
7.2 Analysis of the Opinion about the Holi Festival in General ... 48
7.3 Analysis of the Opinion about Cultural Tourism in General ... 57
7.4 Analysis of the Opinion about the Holi Festival and Tourism ... 60

8. Conclusion and Future Prospects ... 64

References ... 66

Appendix ... 74

List of Tables

Table 1: Snowball research overview (contribution by the author) ... 12
Table 2: Expert Interviews overview (contribution by the author) ... 13
Table 3: Adapted from Hall 1989 ... 17

List of Figures

Figure 1: Six-Step Procedure for Drawing a Sample ... 10
Figure 2: Variables influencing the attractiveness of a tourism region ... 24
Figure 3: Economic and tourism roles of events ... 27
Figure 4: Impression Holi Festival (removed for publication) ... 35
Figure 5: Male and Female Distribution of Respondents ... 45
Figure 6: Age Distribution of Respondents ... 46
Figure 7: Occupation of Respondents ... 46
Figure 8: Religion of the Respondents ... 47
Figure 9: Geographical Distribution of Respondents ... 48
Figure 10: Participation Holi Festival ... 49
Figure 11: Times of Participation Holi Festival ... 49
Figure 12: Rank 1; Most enjoyable Part of the Holi Festival ... 50
Figure 13: Rank 6; Most enjoyable Part of the Holi Festival ... 51
Figure 14: Likert Summated Rating Scale ... 52
Figure 15: Results Likert Scale Holi in General I ... 53
Figure 16: Results Likert Scale Holi in General II ... 54
Figure 17: Results Likert Scale Holi in General III ... 55
Figure 18: Gender Perception of Safety of the Holi Festival ... 55
Figure 19: Gender Perception of Dangerousness for Woman/Children ... 56
Figure 20: Results Likert Scale Cultural Tourism in India I ... 58
Figure 21: Results Likert Scale Cultural Tourism in India II ... 59
Figure 22: Results Likert Scale Cultural Tourism in India III ... 60
Figure 23: Results Likert Scale Cultural Tourism and Holi I ... 61
Figure 24: Results Likert Scale Cultural Tourism and Holi II ... 62

List of Appendices

Appendix 1: Statistic Facebook-Users India July 2011 ... 74
Appendix 2: Hindu Festival Dates 2005-2015 ... 75
Appendix 3: Images of the Holi Festival (removed for publication) ... 76
Appendix 4: Online Questionnaire ... 78
Appendix 5: Ranking 2-5; Most enjoyable Part of the Holi Festival ... 88
Appendix 6: Detailed Answers Open Question I ... 90
Appendix 7: Likert Scale Holi in General ... 92
Appendix 8: Detailed Answers Open Question II ... 93
Appendix 9: Likert Scale Cultural Tourism in India in General ... 95
Appendix 10: Likert Scale Cultural Tourism and Holi ... 96
Appendix 11: Detailed Answers Open Question III ... 97
Appendix 12: Expert Interview I ... 101
Appendix 13: Expert Interview II ... 106

List of Abbreviations

% - percent
$ - Dollar
APEX - Accepted Practices Exchange
BBC - British Broadcasting Corporation
DMO - Destination Management Organization
et al. - et alii (and others)
et seq. - et sequentes (and the following ones)
etc. - et cetera (and so forth)
GDP - Gross domestic product
ICOMOS - International Council on Monuments and Sites
IMEX - Essential worldwide exhibition for incentive travel,
meetings and events
km2 - square kilometre
LIU - Local Intelligent Unit
n - Sample Size
n.d. - no date
PTI - Press Trust of India
TIA - Travel Industry Association
WTO - World Tourism Organization

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin”
Mother Teresa

1. Introduction

This thesis will start off with the introduction, which is basically divided in five subchapters. The first subchapter describes the rationale of the topic, followed by the aims and objectives, the motivational background of the author for choosing this topic as well as the structure of the thesis. After clarifying the overall topic, the limitations of the thesis will be determined.

1.1 Rationale of the Topic

Globalization, “the growing competition in traditional tourism markets” and “rising education levels” (Richards, 2007, pp. 1-2) have promoted the cultural tourism sector in the last decade. Many people are not going on holidays simply to relax anymore; they want to travel the world, experience other cultures and take pictures in front of World Heritage – cultural sites. Some travellers are even seeking the most authentic experiences far away from general tourist attractions. Enjoying typical home-cooked food, visiting aboriginal people from all kind of cultures and participating in religious or traditional celebrations are no longer a taboo (Cole, 2008). Those experiences are not only assets for the travellers, but also for the remote regions and the people living there. Cross-cultural interactions are often highly valued and eye opening: “cultural exchange with tourists can lead to greater tolerance of cultural differences in multicultural societies” (McKercher and Du Cros, 2002, p. 62). But should every culture or tradition be disturbed or commercialized? Especially some traditional cultural celebrations, which have already been happening for hundreds or even thousands of years and are of major importance to their society, religion, rites and rituals. Are too many tourists disturbing those traditions or even destroying whole rituals? Or are the impacts of the cross-cultural interactions and the spending power of tourists a more vital part (McKercher et al., 2002)?

The Holi Festival of India, which takes place all over India, is one of the few festivals celebrated by every caste of the country. People try to forget about boundaries or distinctions; they play Holi in conformity with themselves and the people surrounding them (Holi festival of India, n.d.). The analysis of the cultural/event tourism within this thesis is to show the impact on the Holi Festival in India.

1.2 Aims and Objectives

In order to analyze the issues addressed above, the general aim of this study consists of gaining knowledge on the terms cultural tourism and event tourism and cultural celebrations in India. It will also provide an overview of the Holi Festival including legends, significance of the festival, as well as its stakeholders. The outcome is to show the perception of the Indians concerning cultural tourism, the risk of losing uniqueness of cultural celebrations and the potential of using tourism to make money. To achieve these aims, several objectives were set:

- Review of relevant literature regarding cultural tourism, event tourism, cultural celebrations, India and the Holi Festival
- Analysis of the perception of cultural tourism from the Indian point of view.
- Analysis of the economic, social and cultural impact of events in general and the Holi Festival.

1.3 Motivational Background

Being an avid fan of travelling and having a desire to experience other cultures myself, I am constantly seeking new opportunities to travel to authentic places and to get to know people with different backgrounds. Luckily, I have already had the chance to see various countries and I am very confident that travelling will always be a part of my life. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “The best education for a clever person is found in travel” (“Die beste Bildung findet ein gescheiter Mensch auf Reisen”) (Goethe, J. W., & Reichardt, J. F., 1876, p.25). I could not agree more with him, as I rose above myself during my journeys and every single one of them built my character. I always try to keep in mind that not everything in the world is a sightseeing attraction and not every person wants to be part of it. Therefore, respect and a bit of distance are important. A journey to Sri Lanka in 2009 opened a new world to me. The Asian continent has always been interesting to me, but experiencing a South-Asian country in a very authentic way, aroused a passion. The shortest distance between the island Sri Lanka and the subcontinent India is around 48 km. The two countries are almost connected through the Adam’s Bridge, a chain of limestone shoals, which could be the evidence that Sri Lanka used to be connected to mainland India, through the islands Mannar and Rameswaream (Adam’s Bridge, n.d). Consequentially, there are a lot of similarities in food, religion, appearance and lifestyle. Nevertheless, we are talking about two different cultures with a different historical background. I only got a glimpse of this part of the world, but I am eager to gain more knowledge about it. With regards to India, I am like a sponge, trying to soak in whatever I can get. This is how I learned about the Holi Festival in Northern India. Looking at photographs of people cluttered in colours, playing Holi, not thinking about everyday problems or different castes fascinated me. I am highly motivated to learn more about the development of cultural tourism in India, about the Holi Festival and the connection between both.

1.4 Structure of the Thesis

The thesis is basically divided into eight chapters. It begins with an introduction providing the outline of the thesis, including aims and objectives and the motivational background of the author. This chapter also provides an overview about the limitations of the study.

The methodology is explained in the second part. Chapters three to six are mainly divided into two parts. The first part is dedicated to the relevant terminologies and will provide definitions of the term event, including the typology and impact of events; culture, including rites and rituals and cultural celebrations; tourism, including cultural tourism and event tourism and stakeholders, including stakeholders of the tourism- and event-industry. The second part deals with the historical and economical background of India, cultural tourism in India and the Holi Festival in detail.

Chapter seven of the thesis is dedicated to the empirical part of the study; it shows the research findings, analysing the survey conducted via social media and the expert interviews. This chapter also interprets the data collected. In the last chapter, the author will conclude the results and give a future prospective.

1.5 Limitation of the Study

The thesis is fully limited to the aims and objectives defined in chapter 1.2. Attention should be paid to the author itself, as she does not have any direct links to India, has never visited the country and in fact has never participated in any Holi celebration. This is clearly a limitation, as personal experiences and first hand information were hard to gather. The poor quality of secondary data available about the Holi Festival itself also limits the study. The main focus is put on the social and cultural impacts of the Holi Festival, as it proofed difficult to find reliable economic data and information about relevant stakeholders. No statistical records or reports by the Indian government are available in the context of the Holi Festival.

2. Methodology

The following chapter deals with the different research methods used in order to reach the set objectives of this study, as defined in the first chapter.

2.1 Research Approach

The implementation of research can be done in many different ways. Every topic or field of a study has different attributes and circumstances. The aim of this thesis is to become aware of the opinion about the increasing cultural tourism and the effect on the Holi Festival from the Indian point of view.

Therefore, it is sensible to explore the topic and to clarify the different terms and the historical background of the festival before setting up a hypothesis (Saunder, Lewis & Thornhill, 2009). This is called the inductive approach, it starts with the observation and description of a topic, then it proceeds to the second step, which is the analysis and it ends with step three, the explanation. “The explanation is induced from the data – the data comes first and the explanation later” (Veal, 2006, p. 35). Bryman and Bell (2003) stated, “[w]ith an inductive stance, theory is the outcome of research” (p.12), while deduction implies “moving from theory to data” (Saunder, Lewis & Thornhill. 2009, p. 127). To access the target objectives it is necessary to get a complete and encompassing view of the relevant topics, from experts as well as from the general public.

To reach this goal it is necessary to explain the research design, data collection methods, as well as sampling and the limitations and bias of the thesis. This will be done in the following chapters.

2.2 Research Design

Most marketing researchers distinguish between three different research designs; exploratory, descriptive and causal. “Each design is appropriate to specific kinds of problems” (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2005, p. 75) and can be combined in different ways.

Nevertheless, the exploratory design is according to Churchill et al. (2005) often the first step, as it is the “discovery of ideas and insights” and “particularly helpful in breaking large, vague problem statements into smaller, more precise sub-problem statements” (p. 74). Hence, it is used to formulate a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a “statement that specifies how two or more measurable variables are related” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 76). The exploratory design is also used to establish priorities for further research and very beneficial for every problem where little knowledge is available. It can be the foundation for a good study and will therefore apply to this thesis. Exploratory research is mainly related to qualitative data, which is collected via literature searches, experience surveys, analysis of selected cases, focus groups, interviews, projective tests or ethnographies.

The descriptive design on the contrary “is typically concerned with determining the frequency with which something occurs or the relationship between two variables” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 74). It is “typically guided by an initial hypothesis” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 74) and will also apply to this thesis, after getting an insight into the topic via exploratory research. Descriptive research can be collected as a longitudinal analysis or a crosssectional analysis using sample surveys, true panels or omnibus panels. A cross-sectional analysis will apply to this thesis, as it is only necessary and possible to get “snapshots of the variables of interest at a single point of time” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 115).

The last design is the causal design, it is “concerned with determining cause-and-effect relationships” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 74), which is mostly done through laboratory or field experiments to find out what happens if such and such event occurs (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 74-110).

As already mentioned, only the exploratory and descriptive designs are valid for this thesis, the methods of collecting the data will be explained in the following.

2.3 Data Collection Methods

After defining the research approach and design it is necessary to think about the data collection methods. It is important to get an overview about secondary data. Churchill et al. (2005) states that “secondary data are statistics that already exist; they had been gathered for a previous purpose, not your particular study” (p. 169).

The other method is the collection of primary data. Primary data “are originated by the researcher for the purpose of the immediate investigation at hand” (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2005, p. 169).

The two methods in general, as well as the methods used for this thesis, will be clarified in the following two subchapters.

2.3.1 Secondary Data

Researchers often underestimate available secondary data, in the form of literature and existing surveys. Churchill and Iacobucci (2005) stated that it is always advisable to start with secondary data and important to get an overview about the extensive volume of existing data. They suggested to “begin with secondary data, and only when the secondary data are exhausted or show diminishing returns, proceed to primary data” (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2005, p. 168). Secondary data provides an insight into a topic and is a time and cost efficient tool. It can be subdivided into internal and external data. The former is “data that originate within the firm” (Churchill et al., 2005, p. 173), such as sales and cost data of a specific company. External data are mostly published sources, such as books, journals, statistical sources et cetera.

Hence, external data is used to build the basics of this thesis, as no specific company or organization represents the focus of the study. Secondary data is used to get an overview of cultural tourism, India and the Holi Festival and finally to put those in context with each other. To achieve this, different secondary data will be considered, for instance: books, journals, databases and the Internet.

2.3.2 Primary Data

If the secondary data gathered is not sufficient enough for the special research purpose, it is necessary to generate primary data (Churchill and Brown, 2007, p 187). Corresponding to Churchill and Brown (2007), primary data is used within this thesis to gain specific quantitative and qualitative information regarding the research problem. Quantitative data is usually gained via descriptive research and gives information about frequencies and number of responses. Typical tools to collect those data are questionnaires and surveys. Qualitative research on the other hand is focused on getting a deeper insight in a topic and opinions of individuals. Tools of qualitative research are, for example, in-depth interviews or focus groups (Churchill et al., 2007).

Primary data collection within this thesis was done via expert interviews and an online questionnaire, which will be explained in the following subchapters. Expert Interviews

As little knowledge is available in the field of this thesis, it was necessary to gain a first insight and to start with exploratory research through conducting interviews (Churchill and Iacobucci, 2005). These should provide an insight in the topic from different points of view. Therefore, experts from various businesses were asked. The questions were distributed via email, as it was not possible to do a face-to-face interview, and a telephone interview was also difficult to conduct, because of the time difference and costs.

The interview was divided into three parts concerning the development of tourism in India in general, the Holi Festival in general and the connection of both fields. As the author could not serve as a moderator during the interviews, it was crucial to find a common thread. This was done via sets of questions. Every set had one overall question and some short questions below, to show the interviewee the direction of desired information. Online Questionnaire

To get a broader overview about the opinion of people living in India, it was necessary to do descriptive research in the form of an online questionnaire. The online questionnaire was distributed via the social network Facebook and some private contacts. As it was very important to get the opinion of Indians about the topic, it was necessary only to contact people from India, who are still living in India or at least are very much associated to their country. This could only be done via social media, as the author does not have many contacts in India.

To fulfil the objective of the questionnaire, mainly closed ended questions were asked, which means that the respondents’ answers are limited to predefined replies or scales (Churchill and Brown, 2007). Only a few open questions were asked to get direct opinions and suggestions. The questionnaire was subdivided in four parts. First of all questions about the Holi Festival in general were asked to break the ice, followed by questions about cultural tourism in India, the connection of both, and demographics of the respondents.

2.4 Sampling

Churchill and Brown (2007) defined the procedure of drawing a sample and collecting data in six different steps. Figure 1 below shows the different steps and this chapter will describe the process of defining the sample relevant for the thesis.

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Figure 1: Six-Step Procedure for Drawing a Sample, Source: Churchill and Brown, “Developing a Sampling Plan”, Basic Marketing Research, 2007, p. 351

Steps one to three and the determination of the sample size will be clarified in detail during the next subchapter, linking it directly to the chosen method applying for the online questionnaire concerning this thesis.

2.4.1 Sampling of Online Questionnaire

To set up the sampling of the respective online questionnaire it is first of all important to determine the target population. Population in this context means “all individuals or objects that meet certain requirements for membership in the overall group” (Churchill et al., 2007, p. 351). In respect of this thesis the target population is comprised of all Indians, still living in India, and who have already participated in any Holi celebration. No further limitations are assigned, as Churchill et al. (2007) say “in general, the simpler the definition of the target population, the higher the incidence and the easier and less costly it is to find the sample” (p. 352). Whereas incidence is explained as “the percentage of a general population or group that qualifies for inclusion in the population” (p. 352). As Holi is played almost everywhere in India, but especially in the north of the country, it is not easy to tell how big the target population is. Around 500 million Indians live in the northern part of the country. So basically almost all of them could be the target population.

The next step is the identification of the sampling frame. The sampling frame is “the list of population elements from which a sample will be drawn; the list could consist of geographic areas, institutions, individuals or other units” (Churchill et al., 2007, p. 355). In respect to the research of this thesis, the social media platform Facebook was used to distribute the questionnaire. Therefore, only Indian Facebook-users are able to participate in the survey. A statistic of July 2011 (see Appendix 1) shows that around 30 million Indians are registered on Facebook (Facebook Statistics India, n.d.). So theoretically, the sample frame includes 30 million Indians, who obviously cannot be reached in total.

After identifying the sample frame it is necessary to select a sampling procedure. This step is divided in probability sampling and non-probability sampling. A probability sample is “a sample in which each target population has a known, nonzero chance to being included in the sample”, whereas a non-probability sample is “a sample that relies on personal judgment in the element of selection process” (Churchill et al., 2007, p. 356).

In respect to this thesis, a non-probability sample is used in form of a judgment sample. A judgment sample is “a non-probability sample in which the sample elements are handpicked because they are expected to serve the research purpose” (p. 359).

As the author only knows a few Indians it was necessary to do a snowball sample; this is consistent with Churchill et al. (2007) “a judgment sample that relies on the researcher’s ability to locate an initial set of respondents with the desired characteristics” (p. 359). The researcher contacts only a few individuals with the right requirements and “these individuals are then used as informants to identify others with the desired characteristics” (Churchill, Brown and Suter, 2010, p. 336).

Two individuals were asked to share the link to the respective questionnaire via the social network Facebook. Additionally, the researcher posted the link to various Facebook fan pages, which are somehow related to the Holi Festival. Table 1 below shows the chosen people and fan pages including the respective numbers of friends or people who like the page.

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Table 1: Snowball research overview (contribution by the author)

To take in account that Mr. Chintan Singh is studying in Germany, only 75% of his friends are considered to be Indians. In total approximately 3.684 people were reached via snowball sampling, but it is not predictable whether those people reached re-shared the link with even more people. Therefore, it is almost infeasible to set a sample size in the context of this thesis, but the 3.684 people can be seen as a guideline.

Consequently, it means that only 0,012% of the set sample frame (30 million Indian Facebook-Users) had the chance to participate in the survey. Clearly this is a disadvantage of the snowball sampling, as the method hardly leads to a representative sample, but sometimes serves as the best method available (Nonprobability Sampling, n.d.).

2.4.2 Sampling of Expert Interview

The experts serving as interview-partners to get an insight into the topic were also selected by a judgment sample. Therefore, this is also nonprobability sampling as already explained above.

As the author did not have many contacts to India, it was difficult to find people who were willing and able to do an expert interview. The author chose different ways to get in contact with appropriate people; personal contacts, online search engines, Facebook as well as a visit to the IMEX established some contacts. Approximately 30 people/organizations were contacted, whereas only five people responded and were willing to share their opinion about the relevant topic.

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Table 2: Overview Expert Interviews (contribution by the author)

Table 2 above shows the different experts chosen as interview partners. Experts from different fields have been contacted to get different opinions of the respective topic. Mr. A works a s as an economic journalist at the economic bureau of the largest news agency of India in New Delhi, the Press Trust of India (PTI). Besides being a business journalist he is also involved in different cultural organisations and therefore a very interesting interview partner. Mr. B. works for the Indian subsidiary of Abercombie & Kent - one of the world’s foremost luxury travel companies, offering all kind of travel packages to high-class customers. It was interesting to find out that they offer packages including the Holi Festival to their customers. Mr. C is not directly involved in tourism, but he is a photographer who travels throughout the rural regions of India, especially the Himalayas, to find out what has been hidden from the world. He also noticed a change within the participants of the traditional Holi celebrations and wrote an interesting article about this for the Hindustand Times. Mr. D is a member of the Braj Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to the development of the whole Braj region and they try to keep traditions of the Land of Krishna alive. The fifth and last expert is Mr. E: he studied economics and is the founder and author of the Lively World Tourism-Blog, which deals with the economical development of weaker societies and tourism as an economical tool.

The five experts are all from India and still living in India, they all have a personal and a professional connection to the Holi Festival, and are therefore a good choice of getting an insight in the topic.

2.5 Limitation and Bias

The research conducted to gather primary data was carried out in the most possible preciseness; nevertheless, the author is aware of the limitation and bias of the research. These limitations and bias are likely to reduce the validity and reliability of the current inquests.

For the expert interviews different limitations need to be considered. The interview had to be done paper-based via email, as it was not possible to travel to India or to conduct it via the phone because of time difference and costs. This is clearly a limitation, as the author cannot serve as a moderator and interfere if the interviewee is not answering contextually. It is also more likely to forget about an email in the inbox, then a telephone- or a face-to-face meeting. Another limitation is the time-consuming requirements of the interview; this can lead to a reduction of the willingness to participate. Those two factors are seen as reasons for the small response rate of the expert interviews. Even though five different experts were provided with the questions and agreed on answering them, only Mr. E and Mr. C replied.

Another crucial factor is the quality of the interviews conducted. The answers do serve the relevant topic in many ways, but are not as expressive as the results of the online questionnaire. Therefore, the interviews are used to build a basis and to support the results gathered within the descriptive research.

Moreover, a non-probability sample was selected, which can never assure that the sample is representative even if the response rate is very high. In respect to this thesis, the response rate was rather low, clearly a result of the used non-probability sample in form of a snowball sampling. This method hardly leads to a representative sample, but was in this case the best method available. Another limitation of the snowball sampling is seen in the demographics of the respondents, as both informants are from New Delhi and are in their twenties - this is reflected in the answers and needs to be considered in the conclusion.

The difference between the outcomes obtained from a sample and the results that would have been retrieved if the information had been gathered from the whole population, called the sampling error, is relatively high and only allows limited interferences regarding the whole population (Churchill and Brown, 2007, p. 354).

The limitations and bias above are focused on the primary research of this thesis. Within the collection of secondary data, many online sources are used to gather information about the Holi Festival itself. These sources cannot be seen exactly as reliable sources compared to academic books, but a wide range of online sources were used to promote the validity of the information. In accordance with this thesis, several resources in form of secondary data were reviewed, 2 expert interviews and 103 online questionnaires conducted.

3. Relevant Terminologies

The following chapter will clarify different terminologies, relevant for this thesis. It will start off with the term event and culture to form a basis. This basis will help to understand cultural celebration, cultural tourism and event tourism. Furthermore, the chapter will deal with tourism and stakeholders of the tourism- and event-business.

3.1 Event

The first term to be defined within this thesis is event. It is necessary to outline the term event to explain the terms event tourism and cultural celebration. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, which will be used to clarify different terms throughout the study, provides three basic definitions. Only one is valid for this study, stating that an event is “a planned public or social occasion” (Event, n.d.). The APEX Industry Glossary of the Convention Industry Council provides a similar phrasing, stating that an event is “an organized occasion such as a meeting, convention, exhibition, special event, gala dinner, etc. An event is often composed of several different yet related FUNCTIONS” (APEX Industry Glossary – 2011 Edition, n.d.). In fact, events do not just happen, but rather need to be planned or at least have a specific reason why they take place.

Donald Getz (2005), one of the leading authors in the field of event studies, says that all types of events are temporary, with a bounded and fixed timeframe, which is publicized in advance (p. 15). Furthermore, he implies “when they are over, you cannot experience them again” (Getz, 2005, p.16). Even if an event takes place on a regular or yearly basis, different factors will diversify the experience of the visitor. Getz outlines this in the following way: “planned events are temporary occurrences with a predetermined beginning and end. Every such event is unique, stemming from the blend of management, program, setting and people” (Getz, 2005, p. 16). This quotation recaps the term event in a nice way, which will lead to the next subchapter, identifying different typologies of events.

3.1.1 Typology of Events

Events can be defined in a wide range of terms and categories, such as considering the typology and size; special events, hallmark events, mega events, corporate events, cause-related events, publicity events etc. The different categories usually depend on the public domain or primary interest of individuals or specific groups. Getz (2005) defines seven main categories of events:cultural celebration, business and trade events, sport events, educational and scientific, recreational, political/state and private events. Those categories can again be subdivided.

For this study it is only necessary to determine the first category cultural celebration, which will be done in one of the following chapters. Furthermore, Getz implies that events can be found in all kinds of cultures and communities around the world and are often linked to the economy and/or to the tourism industry (Getz, 2005, p. 16-30). As a result, events have many different impacts on stakeholders and all parties involved, which will be explained subsequently.

3.1.2 Impact of Events

Every event, no matter what size or length, has different impacts on the host community and the stakeholders involved. The term stakeholder will be explained in chapter 3.4. McDonnell et al. (1999) wrote that “events do not take place in a vacuum – they touch almost every aspect of our lives, be it the social, cultural, economic, environmental or political” (McDonnell, I., Allen, J., & Toole, W., 1999, p. 25). Table 3 below shows the positive and negative impacts of events within the different categories. McDonnell et al. adapted the table from Colin M. Halls findings in the book The planning and evaluation of hallmark events of 1989. The table as such is very detailed, only a few parts will be selected to clarify the different impacts.

[Tables are not displayed in this preview]

Table 3: Adapted from Hall 1989, Source: McDonnell I., Allen J. & Toole W. “The impacts of special events”, Festival and Special Event Management, 1999, p. 26

Benefits of events are already well researched and convenient policies are developed to improve event outcomes and to optimize benefits. To achieve this, the event manager is obliged to identify and predict possible impacts and to manage to get the best outcome for all parties involved. It is crucial to have a positive balance of the event, as positive can quickly turn into negative resulting in unintended consequences. This means “ultimately, the success of the event depends on the event manager achieving this positive balance sheet and communicating it to a range of stakeholders” (McDonnell et al., 1999, p. 25).

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Cultural Tourism. Blessing or Curse for Cultural Celebrations?
With a Focus on the Holi Festival in India
International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef - Bonn
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ISBN (Book)
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cultural tourism, holi festival, cross-cultural
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Maike Roth (Author), 2011, Cultural Tourism. Blessing or Curse for Cultural Celebrations?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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