Multicultural festivals: a niche tourism product in South Korea
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Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine why people visit multicultural festivals, with the overall aim being to better understand the apparent popularity of multicultural festivals. The paper aims to provide key stakeholders with a platform upon which to better manage and improve multicultural festivals as tourism attractions. Design/methodology/approach - An on-site questionnaire survey was administered at one of the multicultural festivals in South Korea in 2010. The reasons for visit were measured using a scale based on existing benefit scales, and literature related to multiculturalism. In total, 17 items were analyzed as visitor reasons for their visit. Demographic questions included age, nationality, the reason for living in South Korea if not a Korean, and gender. Out of 203 collected questionnaires, 183 were considered usable. Findings - In total, five factors were identified as the reasons for attending a multicultural festival - family togetherness, escape, cultural exploration, socialization, and curiosity. The cultural exploration proved to be the most common reason for attending a multicultural festival for visitors. Practical implications - The findings of this study will help all key stakeholders to more fully understand what visitors want, and guide festival management to organize sustainable festivals as a niche tourism attraction. Due to the desire for cultural exploration, festivals should offer multicultural themed activities. Sport competitions can be good for socialization between migrants and South Koreans, or migrants themselves. Originality/value - Although multicultural festivals are held in many countries, there appears to be little research into the multicultural festivals in a country like South Korea, in transit from being ethnically homogeneous to becoming a multicultural society. This paper is a pioneer study in that particular discipline.