Contribution of Cultural Festivals to Event Tourism Development in Kwara State, Nigeria
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Kwara State in Nigeria is endowed with a rich culture, however its contribution to event tourism is not known. The purpose of the study was to determine the contribution of the cultural festival on event tourism development in Kwara state, Nigeria. The objectives of the study were: to profile cultural festival products and their effects to event tourism development, to establish the strategies adopted to create awareness on cultural festivals to develop event tourism and to evaluate the influence of cultural festivals on event tourism development in Kwara State, Nigeria. The study adopted descriptive research survey design to collect primary data using a mixed quantitative and qualitative method. The study targeted a population of 517 who comprised of 500 members of three cultural festival associations and 17 government officials. Slovin’s formula was used to proportionately select a sample size of 347subjects from a target of 500 cultural association members. Simple random sampling method using lottery method was used to select the members of the cultural associations’ respondents. In addition, purposive sampling method was used to identify government official as expert respondents. The study used structured questionnaires to collect primary data from the cultural associations’ respondents, while the interview schedule was used to solicit information from government officials. Data collected from members of the cultural associations were cleaned, coded and entered into Statistical Package for Social Sciences for descriptive statistical analysis. In addition, multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess the relationship between independent and dependent variables. The findings of descriptive quantitative analysis were presented in tables and charts. Qualitative primary data solicited from government officials were thematically analysed and presented as key voices and verbatim reporting. The study, in conclusion, found that there is a variety of cultural festivals held in Kwara State. However, the cultural festivals, awareness strategies and their influence to tourism contributed to 21.0% to the development of event tourism in Kwara State. Though the three variables explored contributed little to event tourism development types of cultural festivals contributed the most (Beta=0.222) while awareness strategies of cultural festivals (Beta=0.033) contributed the least. The study recommends that the Nigeria Federal and State government together with stakeholder need to come up with policies and programmes to identify and promote cultural festivals as an event tourism product. The study also recommends for international marketing of the rich these cultural festivals reach the global customers. The findings will benefit the Nigeria Federal and State government together with stakeholders with vital information on the state of cultural festivals in Kwara state. This vital information will help Nigeria Federal and State government to develop policies and programmes for developing event tourism. The private sector, Non-Governmental Organisation and other stakeholders may use this document to identify opportunities for investment in cultural event tourism. Finally the study will benefit the world of academia since it will add to the literature on culture and event tourism.