20 Apr 2022


The significance of Festivals and Events for Tourism

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According to the world tourism organization, word tourism is referred to as a holiday travel for pleasure or recreational purposes. Basically, it is the business of attracting, entertaining, in just as well as accommodating tourists besides operating tours (World Tourism Organization. Business Council, 2013). Tourism on a broader perspective can be categorized as either domestic or international tourism. In which domestic tourism can be defined as holiday travel for pleasure within one’s own country. On the other hand, international tourism involves people traveling for holiday, pleasure and exploration outside their own country. Tourism, a lucrative economic activity, is a basic source of income for many countries. Fundamentally, it promotes the local economy through the goods and services sold and consumed by the tourists. Also, it guarantees employment opportunities for the local people in the service sectors which are largely affiliated with tourism and its activities. Within tourism, there is a more specific aspect, commonly referred to as sustainable tourism that is; the management of all resources be it economic, social or the aesthetic needs which can be fulfilled while ensuring the maintenance of biological diversity, cultural integrity one of the most sensitive issue, essential ecological processes and the life support systems of the ecology. Sustainable tourism, in this case, ensures that the present needs are met without interfering or compromising the future generation’s survival (Dwyer, 2009).

A festival or an event in the tourism industry today is considered an activity intended to celebrate either culture or diversity in different perspectives (Mainly defined by the people). Events have long existed, and may be termed as significant cultural practices (a long-performed ritual) that are collectively celebrated and is displayed to the public (Lee, 2004). Many Scholars have made tremendous efforts, trying to define the exactness of the nature of tourist festivals and to what extents they can go. These events are strategized on and implemented, usually following sophisticated research on the culture and nature of people in the area of the event using multiple research methodologies. Festivals and events hold significant attributes not only to the people that celebrate them but also the society in the surroundings within which they take place.

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To begin with, cultural events are a form of tourism attraction. In as much as the destinations are always available, an event is an added advantage with regards to the same, as tourists will be more than excited not only to visit the fascinating place and to get to explore it, but also to get to interact with the local people’s culture and to get to experience the essence of the place through the organized event. As well, the visitors get a chance to interact with the local community and gain more and detailed experience on the ways of life and customs of the people. It also gives a chance to the local people to erase any untrue information otherwise made known to the tourists and which would have had any negative impact on them. Secondly, festivals in the tourism industry help in supporting the local community in upholding their cultures and traditions and be proud of them as in the process of the event, they are flattered and praised by the tourists who are entirely fascinated by the activities of the events. This, in turn, enhances the cultivation as well as the preservation of local culture. Equally, the local economy gets an opportunity to grow as they spend money in hotels and restaurants as well as in traditional dress codes which they are compelled to buy.

As well as a tourism attraction, cultural events and festivals create a market for local products, at the same time cultivating a sense of motivation amongst the locals involved. The events mainly create a platform for the marketing of the culture of the local community (Lee, 2004). Also, the locals through the presented platform, get an opportunity to showcase what their culture is all about. Correspondingly, when they carry out specific events and activities, when and why they celebrate certain events such as libation ceremonies as in the African communities. Through this, they are motivated to live by their culture and be proud of it, and this is most often marks positive step in the tourist industry.

Additionally, these events brand a country by upholding its identity and representation. The cultural attachment of these festivals builds a social of presenting identity. It gives a platform of opening up and showcasing the inner structures as well as the activities and workings of a society. It creates a more desirable image for the local tourism industry in the larger or rather international tourism industry market besides helping in maintaining social and cultural status, mostly based on gender, race, social classes, and sexuality, which are the most sensitive topics in the world, and which are given a lot of attention.

La Tomatina, also famously known as the tomato fight, is considered one of the strongest traditions in Bunol, a very significant section of Valencia (Spain), since the 1940s. From the mid-20th century, this famous festival has always been set and consequently held on the last Wednesday of every August (Heuvelink, 2005). The last week of August in Bunol is always considered the festive week of the year. The main signature activity that defines La Tomatina is attributed to the fact that, the participants throw tomatoes and involve themselves in a tomato fight, purely for the purpose of entertainment. The history of this event is traced back to one popular theory, that the people once rioted and the city councilmen with tomatoes during a certain town celebration. This eventful occurrence intrigued the local people, the humor attached to the activity inspired the people to practice the activity, yearly in remembrance of the municipals efforts, consequently a significant tradition to the people of Bunol. In recent times, the activities have spread globally, and this fame has transformed this tradition into a fun fair of leisure and entertainment.

However, with the influx of interested nationalities, the festival organizers had in implement some regulatory measures to ensure the safety and smooth running of the honoring tradition. For instance, in 2013, the La Tomatina festival was regulated as tickets for the event went up for sale. This was as a measure of ensuring better security as well as the sustainability of the festival as within the years, more nationalities had participated in the events that it occasions, hence an increase in a number of tomatoes which is approximately 144,000 kilograms. In addition, the event took place for almost an hour after which the whole town square will be carpeted with tomato paste (Richards, 2008). To catalyze the fun, Fire tracks would then hose down the participants and the streets, which are said to be completely clean due to the acidity of the tomato that disinfects and cleans the surface. More importantly, only squashed tomatoes were allowed, this was to ensure that no one gets hurt during the activity. This event is attended by everyone who is interested in it as it is purely leisure oriented. In 1980, the city council took on the initiative and responsibility of organizing the event every year by bringing the tomatoes that were previously being brought by the local people themselves. With the influx of visitors and the consequent increase in revenue, the municipal decided to avail tomatoes for the festival, free of charge. However, La Tomatina’s existence has not been a smooth ride. It was one banned in the entire state of Spain during the reign of Francisco Franco, for he believed that the ceremony had no viable religious or historic significance, but later in early 1970, the ceremony was revived when Francisco Franco died. In the following years, the region experienced a tremendous increase in the number of participants, which in turn led to the crowning of the festival as a Festivity of International Tourist interest by the secretary of the department of Tourism due to its significant success, in the month of August La Tomatina of Bunol in the year 2002 (Heuvelink, 2005).

In conclusion, it is, therefore, evident that events and festivals play a major role in the growth of the tourism industries. Just like the La Tomatina festival attracted more nationalities to participate in the event, so did it promote tourism as people traveled to come and witness as well be a part of the fascinating event.


Dwyer, L. E. (2009). Destination and enterprise management for a tourism future. Tourism management, 30(1) , 63-74.

Heuvelink, E. (2005). Tomatoes. Barcelona: CABI.

Lee, C. K. (2004). Segmentation of festival motivation by nationality and satisfaction. Tourism management, 25(1) , 61-70.

Richards, G. (2008). Creative tourism and local development. In Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism , (pp. 8-10).

World Tourism Organization. Business Council, &. C. (2013). Co-operation and partnerships in tourism: a global perspective. a global perspective .

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