Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

Major

Hospitality Management

First Advisor

SoJung Lee

Abstract

The state fair is a significant event that represents a place, attracting numerous tourists (Nelson, 2009). State fairs offer a wide range of food and beverages that combine various ingredients and flavors. The authenticity and uniqueness of the food at the state fair are important elements that have the potential to motivate people to travel to a destination (Robinson & Clifford, 2012). While a number of studies have attempted to focus on different type of festivals (Roozbeh, Ng, & Boo, 2013), less attention has paid to the state fair and its visitors’ experiences and attachment. Furthermore, research has rarely investigated how food, particularly authentic food at the state fair is important in influencing visitors’ experiences that leads them to have emotionally bond to the destination. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine if the perceived authentic food will influence visitors’ experiences and place attachment in the state fair setting.

An online survey was used; 533 responses were analyzed using Mplus structural equation modeling. Results indicated that the initial model proposed in the study was partially supported where perceived authentic food significantly predicted experience and place attachment. In addition, a mediating effect was found in the model as hypothesized; perceived authentic food at the state fair had a significant indirect effect on attachment to the place. However, there was no significant interaction effect of perceived authentic food on the relationships between experience and place attachment.

This study expands the literature on festival research particularly at the state fair by focusing on attendees’ perception of food, experience and place attachment. Overall, this study verified that perceived authentic food has significant impacts on experience and place attachment. In addition, the study is among the first to investigate the importance of authentic food at the state fair by applying the cue utilization theory. As a theoretical foundation, the cue utilization theory successfully identified the role of food in bridging food and attendees’ experiences and attachment to a destination. The identified theory enables the study to verify that perceived authentic food is an indicator in determining attendees’ experience and their emotional sense of a place. This study will help the state fair organizers to recognize the important role of perceived authentic food in influencing visitors’ experience at fairs and attachment to the place. State fair organizers should advance their marketing strategies to the next stage, making greater efforts to introduce authentic food at the state fair to invite potential visitors and magnetize currents attendees to the state fair.

Copyright Owner

Zahidah Ab Latif

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

142 pages

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