Lessons in managing the visitor experience at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival

10 July 2014

The event industry, in particular arts festivals, is one of South Africa’s fastest growing tourism sectors in tourism industry. However, only minimal research has been done to identify factors that arts festival visitors view as important for a good festival experience. This study identifies the key success factors (KSFs) in managing visitors’ experience at one of South Africa’s most popular Afrikaans arts festival, the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK). A questionnaire survey (n=443) and factor analysis was used to identify seven KSFs: Safety and personnel, Marketing and accessibility, Venues, Accommodation and ablution facilities, Activities and community, Parking and restaurants and Shows and stalls. Factors that KKNK visitors regarded as important to satisfy their needs and provide a special festival experience were: a wide variety of good and affordable shows and stall products, friendly informed staff, visible emergency and security services, and sufficient air-conditioned venues with good technical aspects. Parking and restaurants and Shows and stalls can be regarded as KSFs that are particularly applicable to South African arts festivals. The study also indicated that other stakeholders play an important role in visitors’ experience.