• Katherine Anne Jowett
4. term, Tourism, Master (Master Programme)
With the world economy facing the coronavirus pandemic, business from all sectors are having to reassess their working practices and move away from the ‘business as usual’ attitude, due to the regulations and restrictions brought in to protect communities from the spread of the virus. Tourism businesses and organisations were one of the worst hit industries, with a predicted loss for the year of up to 78% decline in international tourism (UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 2020). While many tourism organisations have had to temporary close down or had to re-purpose their business to financially support their business and survive, the Hay Festival Foundation – annual arts, culture and literature festival in Wales – had to move respond quickly and innovatively to avoid going into administration due to devastating predicted financial loss that would have been waiting for it should it have to cancel. Which would also result in economically impacting the tourism ecosystem in Hay-on-Wye, which the festival has been a key stakeholder in previous to this. The festival founders, with the help of generous corporate donations and sponsorship, as well as donations from ticket prices, decided to take the festival completely online – reducing coverage and operational costs, keeping the festival in their target audiences minds and creating further opportunities to recoup some of their financial loss.

The aim of this study is to evaluate what can we take from the 2020 Hay Festival, to develop a festival which is resilient, and therefore supports and is able to be active as thriving tourism ecosystem? Considering;
• What was the Hay Festival’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and how was this different to normal?
• What value is created by the Hay Festival pre-2020, and the value created by the 2020 online programme?
• What impact does this response have economically, culturally and environmentally?

Through considering the value created by the 2020 Hay Festival, its economic, environmental, social and cultural impact we are able to develop an understanding of the festivals true purpose and how the festival can become sustainable and resilient. Deliberating on how it can be further developed into the next stage of maturity, following a festival life cycle model. The study will meet these objectives through a theoretical framework developed from previous research in the academic field of festival studies, and a mixed methodologic approach which is most suited to studying a cultural phenomenon within the tourism field.

The study aims to understand the importance of the Hay Festival within the public sphere, the impact the response had economically, environmentally and culturally; and role the festival has within the tourism ecosystem of Hay-on-Wye. Considering what this could mean for arts and culture events of the future, building upon research into what the needs of the festivals as a source of tourism could look like and the development needed to reach these aims, therefore building on the research field of festival studies.
Publication date2 Oct 2020
Number of pages63
ID: 378376527