Lee, Seung Hyun; Shapoval, Valeriya
The Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival (CNSJF) attracted during the past three annual festivals 12,542 tourists, generated nearly US$22 million in direct spending due to the festival and had a total contribution of nearly US$40 million to the Curacao economy. These unprecedented results are even more significant considering the unique funding source of this festival, which is backed by a private investment source. Private investments in festival production are a financial funding source that is not common in the event industry, especially when considering the significant economic benefits the CNSJF has generated for Curacao. This festival has functioned as a unique driver for the destination to leverage tourism awareness. The festival organizer invested US$5.6 million in the 2012 festival, which was fourteen percent more than in 2011. The festival churned out nearly 20 million in the local economy, exceeding last year's festival by more than 20%. The festival maintained its attractiveness gained over the past two editions. More tourists are visiting the festival on multiple nights and more tourists whose main purpose is simply to visit the island are becoming attendees of the festival compared to the past. Three out of four attendees bought their tickets three months or more in advance, indicating the growing popularity of the festival. Satisfaction and quality levels have increased significantly since 2010, indicating that the festival has been able to continuously exceed attendees' expectations. The experience gathered at the festival is becoming memorable, and the value perception of attendees has increased significantly over the years. The festival is ushering momentum through increased emotional bonding, stemming from higher levels of enjoyment and more socialization opportunities that benefit the overall Curacao impression on the tourists who attend the festival. Enjoyment and socialization opportunities appear to be the main motives for international tourists to attend the festival. Imbuing high doses of emotional bonding is paying dividends in higher level of loyalty. Four out of ten international attendees have participated in the festival before. Eight out of ten residents attended the festival before. The festival's popularity is also manifested in the presence of new emerging segments. The Hispanic group is showing an increased interest in the festival and an opportunity exists to more effectively tap this newly emerged market segment. The segment of 'Island Hoppers' (i.e. non-Dutch Caribbean islands) is another separate segment and has demonstrated the most excitement and highest satisfaction with the festival compared to the two other market segments that are reported, i.e., Dutch-Caribbean and U.S.-Hispanic. The Island Hoppers are predominantly first timers to the festival and have reported the highest likelihood in all five dimensions of loyalty compared to the Dutch- Caribbean segment. The last group that merits special mention is the solo female dwellers. This segment represents huge potential for the further expansion of the festival. More attendees, greater satisfaction, higher level of loyalty and new emerging segments are demonstrating an increasing spending power while on the island. The average attendee whose main purpose to visit Curacao was attending the CNSJF spent an unprecedented US$299 per day, which is equivalent to US$1,854 per trip. This spending behavior has increased significantly over the last two annual CNSJFs, indicating the close correlation between the levels of satisfaction and spending behavior. This spending spilled over in multiple sectors of the economy, such as hotels, restaurants, banking, shopping and transportation. The spillover effect demonstrates the festival's multiplying capacity that may be observed across numerous industry sectors. The sector which benefited the most from the increase in spending is the hotel sector on the island. Spending towards the hotels increased from US$184 per tourist to US$515, a 180% percent increase. However, given the great success of the festival, its continued development that would be required to sustain its success could be compromised. The compromise is most prominent in the island's supply constraints, such as the number of hotel rooms and the availability of flights to the island. These supply constraints are likely to create challenges for further development of the festival. The existing tension between the vision of the festival's organizer and the short-term orientation of the hotel sector could also negatively affect the continued growth of the festival. The seemingly lack of support from other tourism and supporting sectors erodes opportunity of the festival's growth propensity. The supply constraints present some important challenges to the organizer. The success of the festival is inducing greater loyalty, while the supply constraints are limiting its further growth. The predicted increase in loyalty would mean that more attendees will be repeaters than first timers, which means that the organizer could be confronted with a potential attitude of attendees who take all the great quality surrounding the festival for granted. Therefore, an important shift in the marketing and planning strategy of the organizer's efforts should be geared towards experiential orientation of the product to establish a 'wowing' factor for the festival attendees. It is timely to fret about the clash between the long-term vision of the organizer and the immediacy perspective of the tourism industry and supporting sectors. Adding economies of scale to this clash between the organizer and the tourism industry and supporting sectors defeats forward progress of a high quality festival. The festival's viability rests on how well the issues of supply constraints and the lack of support from the tourism and supporting sectors are resolved. If each one of the stakeholders in the tourism industry can find and support common ground embedded in a long-term vision of the benefits that the festival brings to the island the tourism industry will also benefit. Building image, marketing position and a high quality destination requires strong partnerships, and strong partnerships require a long-term commitment and investment in the future. The festival has again exceeded all expectations. It should be noted however that without the necessary synergies the festival would be unduly put at risk.
Curacao, Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, CNSJF
Fundashon Bon Intenshon
The Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies
Rosen College of Hospitality Management
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Number of Pages
Rivera, Manuel A. and Croes, Robertico R., "CNSJF 2012 Report: Exceeding Expectations" (2012). Dick Pope Sr. Institute Publications. 1.