Events-induced tourism: a protocol analysis
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Many destinations throughout the world have developed events portfolios as a strategic initiative to attract tourists and their associated economic benefits. The ability of events to attract people to a destination for the purpose of attending the event is well documented. However the ability of an event to add value to attract tourists before or after the event is not so clear. In other words, can an events portfolio positively influence the decision to visit a destination at a time when none of the promoted events are scheduled? As a first step towards answering this important question, this study explores the contribution of an events portfolio to a consumer’s perceptions of a destination and how this influences their decision to attend a destination under these circumstances. The proposed study conducts a protocol analysis based on consumer’s decision-making thoughts. Each participant was given a choice between two destinations in India. Participants were asked to ‘think out loud’ as they made the decision to visit one of two possible destinations, one with an events portfolio and the other without. However, their visit does not coincide with the events’ dates. The results suggest four lines of reasoning utilised by prospective tourists in the destination choice process: 1) destination image; 2) the timing of the event with respect the time of visit; 3) tourists’ level of interest in the event; and, 4) events not listed in the events portfolio might be scheduled during the time of the proposed visit. In course of finding lines of reasoning for cross-cultural issues it was found that culture, architecture, English language usage, and food are the major aspects that tourists consider while travelling to Indian destinations. In terms of the events portfolio, there is evidence of a preference for a ‘fit’ between the event and Indian culture.