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Adelaide Fringe is one of the largest art exhibitions and is staged in the city of Adelaide in Australia. The arts festival is held annually and attracts artists from around the world and within Australia. It started in 1960 when a number of artists who had been denied a chance at the curated Adelaide Festival of Arts. They staged Adelaide Fringe to showcase their talent. The event has evolved over time to become one of the largest event of its kind. The event has gained popularity because it was not limiting people. People who feel they have a talent to showcase are welcome to present their talents at the event. The event has grown due to the generosity of people in the city who have provided artists with space to present their talents. The fact that the people in the city are actively involved in the planning and organizing the events makes it a whole city’s affair. One of the main locations where the event takes place is the Garden of the Unearthly Delight.
Experience in the Garden of the Unearthly Delight
The Garden of the Unearthly Delight is famous for its extensive coverage of different activities covered during Adelaide Fringe and the magnitude of its experience. I became aware of this event because of a friend who had attended the event. The manner in which my friend described the event and its experience enticed me to plan to attend the event. My friend had plans to attend the event for a second consecutive year, which made it easy for me because my friend was familiar with the event and the different venues where the event took place. When I arrived we arrived at the event, the scene that met us was breathtaking.
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When I inquired from the friends I had made, they confided in me that they came purposely to the Adelaide Fringe, since it was a famous event. For those who had come the second and subsequent times, the Adelaide Fringe was not the only reason they were there. Some of the friends acknowledged that the event has exposed them to other aspects of Australia that they would never have known. This acknowledgement reminded me of image transfer between events and destinations (Armstrong 2001, p. 23). Prior to the event, I had learnt that events could transfer their characteristics and effects to destinations within which they were hosted. If an event presents a good image to the tourists participating in it, the tourists are likely to perceive the entire destination as desirable. On the other hand, if the event has been poorly branded, it could portray an unattractive image of the destination for the tourists (Berridge 2007, p. 32). This would inhibit them from making return journeys to the destination. From this connection between the event and the attractiveness of the tourist destination, two concepts of event tourism planning come into play. The first one involves collaboration between event planners and destination planners (Bowdin 2001, p. 75). Such collaboration can involve joint marketing and branding ventures where both the destination and event would target potential at current tourists with the aim of improving the image of the entire destination. The event would benefit from the wide exposure provided by the joint venture at a relatively low cost. On the other hand, the destination would benefit from good brand image the event has created over time (Davidson & Rogers 2006, p. 123). Therefore, the joint venture would be a mutually beneficial collaboration that would result in a win-win strategy. The Government of Australia seems to have realized the power of this synergy. The Adelaide event has recently been receiving Government funding. Such support could be a way of encouraging the event organizers to collaborate with the destination planner to enhance their synergy.
The Garden of the Unearthly Delight became one of my favorite parts of the event. The Garden’s atmosphere marked the transition from the excitement in the streets to the relaxing environment. There were numerous entertainment features that kept visitors busy within the Garden. The delicacies offered within the Garden were both satisfying while at the same time providing people from different cultural backgrounds to appreciate other cultures’ cuisines. The Garden offered Indian and Chinese cuisines to whoever was willing to sample them. Since I had not tasted these cuisines before, I decided to take the rare chance and have a taste of the delicacies.
The most intriguing part as I ate the Indian and the Chinese cuisines is that I got to chat with some Chinese and Indians at the food outlet. From our conversation, I realized that some of them were living in different parts of Australia, but had to come all the way to sample their cuisine. I inquired of them whether there were no other joints near their areas of residence where they could enjoy their cultural cuisines. They explained that the Garden of Delight provided them with food that was closely identical to that they enjoyed while in their home countries. Moreover, they enjoyed the Garden of Delight because it provided a homely environment since they enjoyed their meals while chatting with their kinsmen.
From the experience I had in the Garden of Unearthly Delight, I learnt that analyzing tourists at the food joint within the garden can be used by the destination to target particular market segments (Getz 2005, p. 11). For instance, the behavior of the Chinese and the Indians shows that they appreciate products and events that appeal to their nationality and culture. If such patterns can be identified from a single event, it means that there is a likelihood that the entire destination may be having the same needs. Therefore, the collaboration between the state and the event is crucial in identifying and targeting untapped market segments (Hall 2008, p. 73). Apart from the Indian and the Chinese cuisines, I was very excited to experience roasting of whole pigs within the Garden, on a section known as Pigs on Fire. The experience at the “Pigs on Fire” was exciting because those attending the event could interact with those roasting the pigs as they exercised their showmanship.
The overall experience in an event or destination is influenced by the sum of all the activities and interactions the guest is involved in. As I relate my experience at the garden with experiences in other events I have previously attended, the garden provided the best. Due to the large number of people within the garden, people had to queue at some point to get served. Queueing is important because it is a means of ensuring order in an event. Failure to manage queueing can negatively affect the guests’ overall experience. Consequently, the guest may not be motivated to attend the event later. Managing queues reduces the hassles the guests have to go through before getting served. Consequently, their experience is improved, which may lead to return visits to the events. Some of the guests at the garden who had come for the second and subsequent times confided in me that they enjoyed the order provided by the staff during queueing. Therefore, queueing management increases customer satisfaction and their loyalty to the Garden of the Unearthly Delight.
As I reflect about the variety of activities, I realize that the concept of having a variety of activities within an event can increase earnings for both events and the destination (Kolb 2006, p. 102). My reasoning is based on the fact that more activities will increase the amount of time a tourist spends within the destination or event. The longer a tourist stays within the destination or event, the more he/she is likely to spend in terms of fees paid, food, accommodation and other purchases. Different activities entertain people in different ways (Leonardsen 2007). This means that by having a variety of activities within an event or a destination, more people will be accommodated. Consequently, revenues that would have been lost as a result of people not finding the right activities within the destination are retained (Raj & Walters 2009, p. 143). Being able to cater to the parents and children encourages families to take part in the event. When a family participates in the event, it is more profitable to the event and destination because more money will be spent (Robinson, Wale & Dickson 2010, p. 156).
The ease with which tourists navigate within a destination or an event is an important aspect that adds value to their visit. The garden had well-labelled signboards that guided tourists on the location of various performances and food joints. Unlike other tourist destination I have visited, my visit at the garden did not require me to have a guide because the garden was labeled with directional signs and boards. The presence of these sign boards makes movement easy for tourists and increase value for their time within the event.
The layout of the garden was such that related events were located close to each other. This way people were able to transit from one experience to another without getting bored. One critical aspect of a destination or event that is great concern to the tourists is the hygiene and cleanliness. The garden was clean and laid out well to increase its scenic attraction.
Another remarkable feature of the event that, captured my imagination was the Spirit Festival. This was meant to showcase the indigenous culture of the Australian people known as the Aborigines. I think this was a feature that was crucial to the destination because it was a show of authenticity of Australian cultures. Culture is among the attractions found in various destinations in the world (Yeoman 2004, p. 23). There are tourists who visit a destination to experience the culture of the people living within these destinations. As such, culture can play an essential role in creating an attractive image of the destination.
Community Benefits from the Event
As I was walking within the Garden, I noticed an old bus parked at a certain place. When I approached it, I realized it was a vintage shop known as Dulcie’s Shop of Real Opportunities. The story behind the setting up of the shop was very touching. The vintage mobile clothing shop is a project that was set up by the Centacare Catholic Family Services and Hutt Street Centre. The money collected from the project is used to help the disadvantaged and homeless people within Adelaide city. When I spotted this shop, I realized that the concept of events being image-makers was very practical. The event elaborated that community participation and involvement in the event planning was a crucial ingredient in making the event successful (Hukins & Gender 2004, p. 89). I think the success of the event depended on the goodwill and participation of the community because the event created a good image of the community. As a result of the good image, the community was willing to voluntarily commit its resources to serve as venues for the event.
People visiting new destinations buy souvenirs within the destination that reminds them of the experience they had at the destination (Allen, Toole, Harris and McDonnell, 2011, p. 98). The event planners within the garden of unearthly Delight seem to have anticipated this need when they placed the Dulcie’s Shop of Real Opportunities within the garden. There is no better way to preserve the experience of a destination than to remember it through an act of charity. Some of the most memorable souvenirs from the Garden of Unearthly Delight were the clothes I bought from the Dulcie’s Shop of Real Opportunities. My motivation to purchase the clothes came from my inner urge to contribute towards alleviating the living standards of the disadvantaged. However, when the event was over, the clothes acted as a constant reminder of the experiences I had in the Garden of Unearthly Delight.
One recommendation to the organizers of this event and the destination planners pertains to co-branding. There is no clear indication that co-branding between the destination and Adelaide Fringe has been thought about. Co-branding the destination with the event can increase the attractiveness of the destination since the event has already created a positive image (Jago, et al. 2003). Therefore, co-branding is likely to expose other features within the destination that were not previously known by tourists who take part in the event. Since visitors who attend are positively attracted to the event, any other feature of the destination that are discovered during the event are likely to be viewed positively.
Moreover, culture is depicted as a minor feature in the event. The potential of cultural tourism cannot be over-emphasized. The event managers should increase the element of culture in the event in the subsequent years. Increasing the presence of the culture within the event might be costly for event organizers (Ziakas & Costa 2011). Therefore, an easier choice would be involving the Government by working closely with the organizations tasked with promoting and marketing the destination. This way, the cultural aspect being promoted by the destination can be funded for inclusion in the event as a means of marketing the destination.