Culture-based Tourism

Førdefestivalen 2019: What creates good festival experiences?

In the summer of 2019, Vestlandsforsking in collaboration with the Førdefestivalen studied the audience's experiences to identify which elements create good festival experiences and which have to be improved. The 30-year-old international folk festival is called by Aftenposten 'one of the country's best festivals'. The question is: How can we lift the festival further and ensure that the quality is passed on? Delivering experiences in tourism is an important part of the tourism industry that has in the last years delivered the greatest value creation. When the Government, in the Parliament's Report for Tourism (no. 19, 2016-2017), emphasizes developing culture and tourism, it is important to ask customers how they experience the product. In the same way as in the Balestrand study, the festival study is inspired by theories of experiential design in which we study how commercial and non-commercial elements influence the whole experience. Throughout the entire Førdefestival, researchers Anna Maria Urbaniak-Brekke and Agnes Brudvik Engeset talked to audiences at various concert venues, interviewed young-adult test-audience and conducted a survey.

The results of the survey confirm the findings of the qualitative study and support our conclusions for the festival and the partners to look at.

British tourists want more cultural experiences

In 2018, Vestlandsforsking conducted a study of British group tourists' experiences of cultural attractions in the tourist village of Balestrand. In collaboration with the Kviknes hotel, we interviewed British group tourists about expectations and experiences of cultural attractions during their trip to Fjord Norway. A survey was also conducted among them. The most important finding of the study was that despite the fact that British tourists come to Norway to experience nature, culture was among the highlights. The tourists also wanted to experience more of Norwegian culture in the village of Balestrand, preferably in the form of everyday life in order to learn more about how it is to live in District Norway. Another important finding was that experiences of cultural attractions are particularly influenced by the social element - other tourists, meeting of locals in the streets, a skilled museum guide or a boat driver who tells about how it is to live in Balestrand during a trip on the fjord. The results of the study are important because they can provide input on how Balestrand can be lifted and developed as an important destination for cultural tourism.

Sub-project in 'Strategic research program for innovation and value creation in tourism in Sogn og Fjordane'

Western Norway has world-class nature attractions, but there are also high-level cultural attractions. In the Destination Norway Tourism Strategy (2012), products related to holistic experience that included culture, food and history were launched as a goal. In the Parliament's Report for Norwegian Tourism (2016-2017), Experience Norway - unique and adventurous, cultural tourism is highlighted as an important focus area. 

In connection with 'Strategic research program for innovation and value creation in tourism in Sogn og Fjordane', Vestlandsforsking will study how tourists experience cultural attractions in the county. Using the theory of experiential design, the project will investigate the commercial and non-commercial elements that influence the experience of cultural attractions.

The starting point for improving cultural experiences is to map how cultural tourists actually experience the cultural attractions today. One central question is: what kind of elements have a negative or positive impact on the experience?

We want to base our research on the cultural tourist's actual experiences. The experience room is the physical space where the service is produced, delivered and consumed. One tourist destination may represent a geographical area where the experience is produced and consumed. While a former researcher on experiences related to individual product in adventure tourism, we here wish to gain insight into how a cultural tourist experiences traveling to a cultural attraction with a mix of various commercial and non-commercial elements.

Questions we would like to answer are:

- How can the cultural experiences be influenced by other elements of the holistic experience than the cultural attraction itself?

- How can experiential design improve the exploitation of the resource base of cultural attraction?

Presentation from tourism conference in Førde, 12.-13. November "Framtidas reiseliv 2018": It did't cross my mind

Chronicle in Sogn Avis 11.10.18: Framtidas turistar - topptrente og kulturlause?

Chronicle in Firda 11.11.18: Framtidas turistar - topptrente og kulturlause?

Press release in Sogn Avis 09.05.2019 Forskarar lokkar med gratis festivalpass

Presentation from ending seminar - Festivalstudie, Førde, 7.11.2019

Start date:
End date:
Project lead:
Senior Researcher
Project staff:
Senior Researcher and EU-Advisor