The Effect of Festival Events on Subjective Well-Being in Saudi Arabia: A Case Study of the Riyadh Boulevard Festival.


Speaker:Majid Alnamlah
Website: University of Exeter
Date: Wednesday 16 June 2021
Time: 10:30
Location: Zoom

Further details

Festivals are increasingly becoming a key focus for countries looking to develop their tourist attractions (Duarte, Folgado-Fernández & Hernández-Mogollón, 2018). As one of the fastest-growing destination products, festivals provide several opportunities for visitors to entertain themselves, socialize, experience something different from everyday life and meet various psychological needs (Wong, Wu & Cheng, 2015). It is therefore likely that festival attendance will positively affect visitors’ subjective well-being (SWB) and stimulate future festival visitations (Jepson & Stadler, 2017). SWB has garnered increasing attention from both social science researchers and government institutions within developed countries. This is due to the fact that increased SWB has been demonstrated to improve life outcomes, as manifest in satisfactory social relationships, better health, higher productivity, and elevated educational performance (Maccagnan, Wren-Lewis, Brown & Taylor, 2019). However, limited efforts have been devoted to understanding the effect of festivals on participants’ SWB (Jepson & Stadler, 2017; Yolal, Gursoy, Uysal, Kim & Karacaoğlu, 2016). Additionally, cultural factors are also overlooked in SWB measures in most tourism studies (Chi, Cai & Li, 2017). Moreover, the study investigated the relationships between the following main constructs: SWB (affective, cognitive), festival satisfaction, subjective happiness, culture, social influence, intention to revisit and socio-demographic variables. Thus, this study aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the possible impacts of festival participation on attendees’ SWB within a specific cultural context. Moreover, many developing nations, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), are beginning not merely to consider SWB but also to formally encompass it within their stated national objectives (Mitchell & Alfuraih, 2018). Since SWB has a clear connection with participation in leisure activities (Yolal et al., 2016; Newman, Tay & Diener, 2014), the KSA government is devoting more attention to this area. Leisure tourism in Saudi Arabia has been a relatively new experience that had not received the attention of the state until recently. As one of the most religiously conservative countries globally, Saudi Arabia imposes stringent cultural restrictions on many activities, some of which relate to entertainment (Alrebh, 2017). As part of the Vision 2030 initiative, the Saudi government announced in April 2016 that restrictions on domestic leisure tourism would be eased (Abuhjeeleh, 2019), partly to improve its citizens’ quality of life and wellbeing (Mitchell & Alfuraih, 2018). This is to be achieved by implementing and developing a package of ambitious leisure programmes (Alshammari & Kim, 2019). However, in February 2019, the General Authority of Entertainment announced a launch of the ‘Riyadh Festival Season’ programme, which involves various entertainment activities (Bashraheel, 2019). This programme began in 2019 with The Riyadh Festival Season. The Riyadh Boulevard Festival was chosen among these festivals because it includes international events such as dance shows, theatre, circuses, dramas, and concerts by famous international singers (Tashkandi, 2019). The sources of data will be the Saudi local citizens of both genders, aged 18 and over. The study will used a face-to-face survey to obtain quantitative data, and interviews to obtain qualitative data. A total of 300 festival visitors will be approached and invited to participate in the survey. Of the 300 visitors, between 20-30 people will be contacted to participate in the interview. Results of this study can assist both festival organizers and community leaders to develop strategies to stage, manage and monitor such events more sensitively.