This chapter presents the marketing aspect of cultural tourism resources by taking evidence from Sidama, Southern Ethiopia. It identifies the major cultural tourism resources of Sidama, and assesses their market readiness state through the lenses of tourists. It also presents the profile of cultural tourists visiting endowments in Sidama using descriptive research approach. Brief introduction of marketing approaches to cultural tourism and a review of literature on cultural tourism products and cultural tourists is also provided. As to its significance, the chapter offers analysis of cultural tourism assets and their marketability as a tourism product in a developing destination context. Practical implications for sound cultural tourism marketing are also discussed in the chapter.
- cultural tourism
- cultural tourism products
Tourism has experienced unprecedented growth over recent years and in 2020, international tourist arrivals are expected to exceed 1.6 billion . Cultural Tourism’s popularity is continuously increasing on a faster pace than most of the other tourism segments, faster than the growth rate of tourism worldwide . Because culture is a key tourism asset ; the unique cultural offer provided by destinations has become a major driver and motivation for visitors worldwide, inspiring millions of tourists to visit new destinations each year .
According to , cultural tourism includes the unique features of a place which reflect its culture, history, or environment, and by their experiential nature, promote the rich tapestry of cultural traditions, ethnic backgrounds and landscapes. A cultural resource can be defined as any cultural feature, tangible (material) or intangible (non-material), available within a country, region or area, which makes a positive contribution to cultural tourism . These resources are not cultural tourism commodities unless they transform themselves into products that could be consumed by tourists  because, in a marketing concept, a product is considered as anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need . Hence when culture as a product is brought into transaction in the market, it therefore is useful to analyze what is transferred to the consumer by the seller .
Although cultures exist independently and for reasons other than tourism, there is a clear role for tourism in the process of expressing culture and cultural difference . Because marketing is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating, offering and exchanging the products of value with others ; the concept of product scope is extended to include anything, which is capable of satisfying a need. Culture as product would be consumed to satisfy the enhancement of knowledge need of tourists, who own the product culture during their experience of immersion in a cultural context .
Hence, cultural tourism product can be defined as anything that can be offered to tourists for participating in cultural tourism to satisfy their cultural needs and wants by using the cultural tourism resource as basis . According to , the cultural tourism product can be defined as a composition of the core product and the additional product, being the general tourism product elements and the related tourist services (general tourist facilitates and services; and transportation infrastructure). In order to attract more tourists, cultural tourism providers always position their products uniquely by focusing on their core cultural element, whose elements include cultural tourism destination, cultural environment or cultural events which involve the special cultural themes and unique characteristics .
Though the emergence of cultural tourism as a social phenomenon and as an object of academic study can be traced back to the surge in post-World War 2 leisure travel, modern cultural tourism has only been studied in detail since the 1980s , after being recognized as a tourism category by the ICOMOS Charter of Cultural Tourism in 1976 . Limited interest had been shown by academics, particularly in the social sciences, regarding the relationship between tourism and cultural heritage. However, over recent years, the inter-relationships between tourism and culture have attracted considerable scholarly attention .
Although the concept of culture appears to be complicated and multifaceted, it has been examined in a number of academic disciplines . According to him, though such disciplines as anthropology, sociology, philosophy and management have analyzed the relationship between tourism and culture as a symbiotic combination generating cultural products or commoditized culture, little attention has been directed to the analysis of the characteristics of culture from a marketing view when culture becomes a product.
The first organized cultural tourism survey was conducted by European Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS) in 1991 when it launched transnational cultural tourism project in Europe , Since then, interest has been growing in cultural tourism studies focusing on analysis of profile and behavior of cultural tourists, covering several destinations across Europe, US and Asia. Especially in Europe, several research publications [15, 16, 17] have come up on national, regional and local level cultural tourism scenarios, using ATLAS survey as a springboard. In Asia cultural tourism was studied in the context of religious tourism  while it drew attention in Africa from heritage and indigenous perspective .
After conducting baseline research on inter-linkages between tourism and intangible cultural heritage,  urged policy makers and academia for further research on marketing of cultural products in order to foster tourism development through the promotion of cultural heritages. Furthermore,  points to a number of areas of future cultural tourism issues including commoditization and marketing of culture. Out of global studies, research findings indicate that only gastronomy and culinary heritage are fairly well promoted by National Tourism Authorities (NTAs), while products based on oral traditions or knowledge of the universe require more attention .
This study focuses on the marketability of cultural tourism resources of Sidama. Sidama people are among the 86 nations and nationalities in Ethiopia, with their own culture and tradition. They their own unique administrative system called
In Sidama, the extent of turning cultural endowments into marketable tourism products has not been researched. Little research work exists regarding promotion, in local and international media, of the cultural resources of local communities. Though
2. Literature review
2.1 Cultural tourism products
The tourism product is complex as the varied elements of service, hospitality, free choice, consumer involvement, and consumption of experiences must be actualized in some way . According to  people do not buy products for the sake of the product itself, they buy them for the benefits they provide or the problems they solve. Hence any discussion of products must be made from the perspectives of consumer.
From marketing perspective, the term product is defined as anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a need or want ; and by applying this to tourism context,  defined cultural tourism products as anything that can be offered to tourists for participating in cultural tourism to satisfy their cultural needs and wants by using the cultural tourism resource as basis”. According to , the cultural tourism product is composed of two products. First there is the core product, which is the major cultural tourism supply (monuments, cultural events, local culture and etc.) and the related specific cultural tourist services, such as information and education. Secondly there exists the additional product, which includes the general tourism product elements and the related tourist services (general tourist facilitates and services and transportation infrastructure).
Further extending the definition provided by [11, 23] conceptually viewed products as having three levels: a core product which specifies the benefits of use, a tangible product which transforms these benefits into something to be consumed, and an augmented product that adds extra value.
According to them, the core product is the most important feature for it describes the core benefit or solution provided by its use. As they contend,
“It answers the questions of ‘what personal needs is the product really satisfying’ and ‘what benefits does it offer ME’? …… The appeal of adopting a marketing approach is that the core problem being solved can vary widely, even for largely similar products. This variation enables different providers to position their product uniquely according to the benefits being promoted.” (, p. 155).
The tangible product according to them represents the physical manifestation of the core product that facilitates the need satisfaction. They give examples detailing,
“It is the historic fort that is entered, the battlefield site that is visited, the museum that is seen, the cultural tour that is joined, or the festival that is attended. The tangible product is not the core experience provided. It is the means by which the core need can be satisfied.” (, p. 155).
The final level in their classification constitutes augmented products, which provide additional features above and beyond the tangible product that add value and facilitate easier satisfaction of the core need. It could be something such as a free shuttle to and from the hotel, the provision of umbrellas for rainy days, a souvenir at the end of a tour, or a money back guarantee.
Slightly different approach developed by , which is called ‘product culture model’ views cultural tourism products in terms of four elements. These are
It can be concluded that though several cultural tourism product definitions and models exist , almost all of them place culture at the heart of the models with learning being the major core product.
2.2 Cultural tourists
Cultural tourists are an easily recognizable market niche ; and in wide body of literature [23, 26, 27, 28, 29], they are highly regarded as visitors who tend to stay longer, spend more and travel in low seasons. In addition to this, they are also older, better educated, and more affluent than the traveling public as a whole  where women constitute a significant share. Furthermore, cultural tourists join in more activities than other tourists . However, according to , these characteristics do not reliably represent cultural tourists; and as a result of this, there are several cultural tourism typologies .
The majority of cultural tourist typologies that exist these days are either adopted or elaborated versions of framework developed by . This typology, which was tested in Hong Kong in 1999 and adopted widely by governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, identifies five types of cultural tourists based on centrality of trip purpose and depth of experience at destinations. First there is the
These categorizations of cultural tourists reflect the difference between formal and more informal modes of learning . This classification scheme by  is more comprehensive in that it incorporated deeper discussions on cultural tourist typology efforts that had been conducted previously [31, 32] who entirely emphasized on motivation aspect.  for example identified three types of cultural tourists: the genuine cultural tourist, who chooses a holiday because of its cultural opportunities; the culturally inspired tourist, who makes a once in a life visit to a specific site or attraction; and the culturally attracted tourist, who would like a few cultural attractions at destination they choose for other reasons. This classification was more or less similar to ATLAS study that identified ‘specific’ and ‘general’ cultural tourists [26, 33].
Sidama Region is one of the 14 administrative states in Ethiopia. The region covers a total area of 72,000 square kilometers and is located in southern hemisphere around Equator in Horn of Africa at 6°14’N and 7°18’N latitude and 37°92′E and 39°19′E . With the population of over 4 million inhabitants, the administrative structure of Sidama region constitutes 21
This research adopted a descriptive research design employing a survey-based quantitative research approach. This is because quantitative approaches are common in cultural tourism research and have been in use since  work on the motivations of American cultural travelers. As  contend, the practice of conducting surveys of cultural tourists is well established in destinations around the world. This is mainly because of the advantages surveys provide in studying visitor activities, motivations, behavior and expenditure patterns. Surveys are also a useful means of monitoring trends over time. Several surveys in cultural tourism involve visitors and in most cases, foreign tourists .
Because including whole population in surveys is impossible or unfeasible due to factors associated with data management and cost , taking samples becomes a necessity. As the subjects of this study were international tourists to Sidama Zone, convenient sampling method was employed to target them. This was done with the view to catch cultural tourists as representatively as possible given the limited international visitor flow the area. Across the survey, questionnaire was administered to 375 international tourists who visited Sidama zone during the study period. The sample size of was determined by applying the  formula, n = N/1 + N(α 2); Where, n = Expected Sample Size, N = Population Size and α = Level of Confidence Interval 0.05 or 95% level of confidence, out of 8100 international tourists who visited Sidama in 2015/16 based on the data obtained .
The questionnaire was designed either as an interviewer-assisted or self- completion one; and questions were translated in to German and French in addition to original English versions. International tourists were approached for data collection after trips to cultural tourist villages and other cultural attractions in Sidama and on
Data analysis was conducted on 302 questionnaires after 7 of them had been excluded because of partial completion out of a 309 collected papers. The data was analyzed using statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22; and tables have been used to present outputs of processed data.
4. Results and discussion
4.1 Demographic profile of tourists
The inbound tourism market to Sidama is largely comprised by German and American tourists which together account for about 48% of the total sample. This is because Germany and USA are the leading tourist generating countries internationally  and according to Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ethiopia also receives tourists from these countries in bulk . Ethiopian Diaspora who constitute a significant portion of the county’s inbound tourism  largely live in these countries. Hence the same logical proportion is represented in tourist flow to Sidama. About 29% of tourists are from European countries other than Germany. Tourists in this group include nationals from Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom, which is a manifestation that traditional powers of USA and Europe remain the main tourist sources for Ethiopia in general and Sidama in particular, as opposed to other mature destinations receiving tourists from emerging BRICS, Arab and other Asian markets.
The gender distribution in the survey showed that the number of females exceeds that of males. According to Silberberg , women constitute an important part of cultural tourism market and this works for Sidama, an area endowed with cultural riches . The survey also agrees with  observation that older tourists prefer cultural sites than the youth and children. With increase in age, people’s interest in culture increases prompting them to explore historic things and develop a greater understanding of the past  (Table 1).
|Other Countries’ nationals||23.3%|
|Educational level (|
|High school or less||12.9%|
|Technical and vocational training||16.2%|
|Graduate or postgraduate degree||24.3%|
|(Planned) length of stay in nights (|
|2 or shorter||87.5%|
|Longer than 5||2.9%|
Cultural tourists are better educated and more affluent than the traveling public ; and the same has been evidenced in the survey with about 71% of tourists attending graduate and/or postgraduate degree programs. This confirms the contention of  that there is direct correlation between education level and interest in such activities as cultural and heritage tourism. According to them, the desire to learn about things beyond one’s own backyard, to learn about alternative lifestyles and cultures, and to experience different things is directly related to educational levels. As illustrated by , cultural enrichment and self-enlightment inspire a better-educated global public. However, findings from the survey appear to be at odds with tourism literature that suggests cultural tourists tend to stay longer at a destination. Only about 3% of them have length of longer than 5 nights, which could be explained by lack of developed festivals and cultural routes in Sidama .
Tourist demographics in the survey reveal the exact resemblance of inbound visitors of Ethiopia in terms of nationality, gender, age, educational level and travel experiences.
4.2 Cultural tourism products of Sidama
This section presents the major cultural endowments in Sidama zone which are developed to a certain extent in order to be consumed by visitors in general and cultural tourists in particular. Discussion of major cultural attractions and perceived level of market readiness by tourists is provided. Survey and the resulting narrative discussion is based on sources from promotional booklet published by .
4.2.1 Fiche cambalala festival
In past, it is believed that Sidama nation had different political, cultural and ideological structure of its own, one of the major manifestations of this being
Local astrologers called
The major finding from the survey is that
|Sidama Hanafa cultural tourist village||3.77||.81235|
|Cultural foods and drinks||3.11||.82442|
|Traditional Sidama house||2.77||.82307|
|Cultural ceremonies (wedding, rituals)||1.23||.92338|
|Sidama cultural centre||2.33||.88552|
|Cultural clothes and other souvenirs||1.79||.95502|
|Eco-lodges in Sidama zone||2.99||.84758|
4.2.2 Sidama-Hanafa cultural tourist village
This tourist village is located 325 km South East of Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, around Yirgalem town. The village was set up for community based tourism by Sidama Communication, Culture, and Tourism Department; and features specially designed tourist facilities that cater to benefit women, youth, and the physically handicapped section of society in the area. The village boasts such services as production and processing of Sidama cultural foods; traditional coffee ceremony; coffee collection; village trekking; bird watching; and hot and cold mineral spring water facilities. According to the department, the village provides tourists with participatory activities where they can take part in coffee collection, production and serving; and water fetching from nearby streams. Tourists can also experience guided excursions of nearby localities . A mean value of 3.77 indicates that the village is among the tourist spots of the zone and its market readiness state relatively matches tourists’ judgment of a developed cultural tourist product. This confirms the contention that in cultural attractions of developing countries, products which offer collective and one-stop experience often get market appeal advantages over those with single attraction resources .
4.2.3 Sidama cultural house
Like many other traditional houses in Ethiopia, Sidama cultural house features two types of housing construction: highland and lowland houses . There exists no much difference in house set up, style and interior design, except for the purpose they are built for (lowland houses are built with much ventilation openings). While both houses have
4.2.4 Built cultural resources
Attractions other than
4.2.5 Countryside cultural resources
This category of resources includes traditional music and dancing; cultural foods and drinks; and traditional dresses. As product development and marketing normally go hand-in-hand, poor efforts exerted from development stage appear to hamper the amount and volume of marketing works in Sidama  and hence the result is poorly marketed countryside resources. Traditional music for example falls among these poorly marketed components. Despite a considerable growth and spread in the volume of production and promotion of authentic music in Ethiopia in general and Southern Ethiopia in particular , their packaging does not match the current demands of cultural tourists. Traditional dances (3.04), which are often performed and presented in
4.2.6 Intangible cultural resources
Turning the discussion to the intangibles category, we find Sidama languages, arts and literature, which normally draw attention of learning-minded tourists . These attractions, which are very difficult to measure and quantify , are regularly presented in Annual Sidama Cultural Symposium held every year in Hawassa. This resource appears to be of modest market readiness stage as a cultural tourism product with a mean value of 3.03.
Rural life style and cultural ceremonies are also among attractions at low market readiness state as cultural tourism products. Because trips to poorly marketed destinations in developing countries often avoid deep authentic experience of local and aboriginal communities , tourists end up getting only superficial holiday experience and hence their knowledge of rural life and other life ceremonies is limited . In slight contrary to this result, brushing of
To conclude, the majority cultural tourism attractions of Sidama are found at low level of market readiness state to be consumed by tourists as cultural products. Though few attractions including
4.3 Cultural tourists to Sidama: profile
The profile of cultural tourists was analyzed out of a survey which was mainly adopted from cultural tourist typologies model developed by . To suit it into the context of Sidama as a cultural tourist destination, few variables related to visitor attributes were also incorporated. The first part of tourist profile presents the proportion of each cultural tourist component while visitor attributes as a cultural tourist are portrayed in the second section (see Table 3).
|Trip purpose and depth of experience||(%)|
|Visiting Sidama cultural resources is my primary trip purpose; and I ended up having deep cultural experience||15.23|
|Visiting Sidama cultural resources is my primary trip purpose; yet I ended up having shallow cultural experience||22.51|
|Though culture was not my primary reason of visiting, I ended up having deep cultural experience in Sidama||3.97|
|culture was not my primary reason of visiting; and I only had shallow cultural experience in Sidama||33.77|
|Culture was not my primary reason of visiting; and I did not visit any culture related experience at all in Sidama||24.50|
|Consider myself as being on culture holiday (while coming to Sidama area)||35.43|
|Tasted/had Sidama cultural food at traditional restaurants or somewhere||32.45|
|Tasted/had Sidama cultural drinks at traditional restaurants or somewhere||43.04|
|Learned few Sidama language words/phrases out of my trip||17.88|
|Took part in ||44.70|
Study findings showed that the
The rest 38% of tourists surveyed indicated that motives related to cultural tourism played an important role in visiting Sidama. This figure is closer to the percentage of tourists who consider themselves as being of culture holiday while visiting attractions in Sidama (35.43%). These tourists fall in either the
Though learning is a primary motive of cultural tourists in standardized destinations , problems of proper destination development and marketing in Sidama zone have appear to show an opposite figure. This is manifested in small number of tourists who learned few Sidama language words/phrases out of trip (17.88%); and who tasted cultural foods and drinks of Sidama. This is mainly due to the very short length of tourist stay in the area and the resulting shallow touring experience of attractions .
Findings from typologies of cultural tourists to Sidama area reveal two main conclusions. First over one-third of tourists to the area could be regarded as cultural tourists. But to the significant majority of them, cultural tourism plays no role in their decision to visit Sidama. In fact, the share of those tourists, to whom cultural tourism is the primary trip purpose and who have deep experience, is very low .
The current study has found that the inbound tourism market to Sidama is an undeviating reflection of Ethiopia’s international tourism industry in terms of nationality and other demographic indicators. Except for length of stay, the variables of gender, age, and level of education conform to what the wider literature of cultural tourism depicts about tourists. Regarding marketability, the findings uncovered that most of cultural tourism products of Sidama exist at low level of market readiness. The few exceptions in this regard include
The author would like to thank Hawassa University, Ethiopia for funding this study through its NORAD (HU-NIMBU-IV) project.
This book chapter is a modified version of an article published in