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An Analysis of Service Provision and Visitor Impacts Using Participant Observation and Photographic Documentation: The National Cherry Blossom Festival

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Using participant observation and photographic documentation, a study of the National Cherry Blossom Festival was conducted to evaluate service provision and impacts on National Mall and Memorial Parks (National Mall) resources. Specifically, the researchers examined the adequacies of National Park Service facilities and services to meet festival visitors' needs as well as assessed human impacts on the natural and cultural resources in the National Mall. The study results suggested that the nature of this cultural event led to intense, concentrated consumption and usage of facilities, services, and natural resources, making it difficult for management to keep up with visitor demand and risking long-term degradation of the natural resources. Detailed recommendations set forth a plan of action to protect the natural resources while not overly constraining visitor behaviors. Managers of large and small cultural festivals around the globe subject to these same carrying capacity issues can benefit from the recommendations put forth in this study. Additionally, the participant observation and photographic documentation methods applied in this study can be utilized in evaluating visitor behaviors and impacts in festival and event contexts.
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Keywords: CULTURAL EVENTS; PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION; PHOTOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTATION; RESOURCE PROTECTION; VISITOR IMPACTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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