National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

the same as those in 2007. However, the percentage of respondents in the lowest income range increased and the percentage in the highest income range decreased in 2011 compared to 2007. Additionally, the percentage of respondents in the $50,000-$99,999 income range increased compared with previous years. Furthermore, the Fair has continued to attract its primary market, considering about two-thirds of respondents were of Irish descent, as was the case in 2007, 2011, and 2014. Attendees consistently reported a high level of satisfaction with the Irish Fair across the years, which is encouraging. There was, however, a significant decrease in the number of hours attendees spent at the Irish Fair. In 2007 and 2011, attendees spent around 5.4 hours at the Fair; in 2014, they spent close to six. In 2017, attendees did or planned to spend 4.45 hours. The fewer hours attendees spent at the Fair in 2017 could significantly influence sales at the marketplace, spending on souvenirs and food and beverage, and the attendance level at various performances. People heard of the Irish Fair in a variety of ways. Although the festival and event sector frequently utilizes various Internet-based tools to disseminate information (Qian & Simmons, 2014), word of mouth still serves as the key information source for the Irish Fair, trumping both traditional and new media platforms. Given the unwavering importance of word of mouth, Fair organizers should plan and execute marketing efforts early. Doing so will allow ample time for informati on to “sink in” and be disseminated through social groups and personal networks. Over the years, usage the Irish community and traditional media as information sources declined, especially the Irish Gazette , Pioneer Press ads, and radio. Irish Fair organizers may need to assess whether it is worthwhile to keep marketing the event through these channels. When it comes to spending, respondents spent the most money at the marketplace, on souvenirs and food and beverages at the 2017 Irish Fair. This finding is consistent with previous years. Clearly, providing uniquely Irish merchandise, as well as food and beverages continues to attract attendee spending. In fact, the average amount of money spent on souvenirs in 2017 surpassed the amount spent in 2007 for the first time (spending on souvenirs much lower in 2011 and 2014.) Spending on parking, however, steadily increased over the years. The Irish Fair has provided complimentary shuttles from St. Paul’s Union Depot, where the cost of parking varies for different lots. Would it be possible for the Fair to negotiate reduced parking fees? The Fair also works with the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro Transit to provide complimentary mass transit passes to attendees. It will be worthwhile for Fair organizers to promote the availability of these passes in conjunction with the shuttle. This will encourage attendees to use free mass transit and shuttles as their choice of transportation.

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


Powered by