Evaluating the Economic and Fiscal Impact of an International Cultural Heritage Festival on a Regional Economy: Folkmoot USA

Authors: Grunwell, Sandra; Ha, Inhyuck; Swanger, Susan L.

Source: Tourism Culture & Communication, Volume 11, Number 2, July 2011 , pp. 117-130(14)

Publisher: Cognizant Communication Corporation

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Folkmoot USA is a 2-week annual large-scale international folklore festival celebration held in western north Carolina attracting approximately 75,000 attendees. This study examined the economic and fiscal impact of the 2007 Folkmoot USA international festival, developed an attendee profile to assist Folkmoot management and other area tourism professionals in their future planning and decision making, and compared findings to a similar study conducted in 2001. The IMPlAn (Impact Analysis for Planning) software modeling system and database was used to analyze more than 1,000 questionnaires collected from attendees, performers, and festival management during the 2-week festival. Findings revealed that the 2007 Folkmoot USA festival events induced spending on lodging, food and beverage sales, transportation, retail sales, and entertainment by attendees and performers, in addition to the operational expenditures of the festival itself. This spending infused the local economy by an estimated $4,025,684, increased state and local tax receipts by an estimated $343,702 and generated 56.6 jobs, reflecting an 88.8% increase in total economic impact over the previous study conducted in 2001. The profile of attendees of the 2007 festival revealed a shift of demographics to an older, largely female population compared to the 2001 study, information which is vital to the planning of future events and the overall sustainability of the festival.
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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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