The inter-relationship between tourism and opera performances at Buxton Festival, in Derbyshire
The aim of the study was to consider whether opera performances could exert an influence such that audiences travel and stay away from home overnight in order to experience those performances. In particular, it was to be considered whether such visits were undertaken as a holiday and whether opera was the sole or most important reason for that holiday. Additionally, an opera-producing organisation (Buxton Arts Festival) was to be studied in order to assess its recognition of the tourism connection and any influence of that upon the organisation. It was concluded, from an examination and synthesis of existing work, that there were grounds for believing that some of those in an opera audience could be tourists and holiday tourists for whom opera dominated as the reason for the tourist visit. A consideration of Buxton, the geographical location of the opera performances, confirmed its partial function as a tourist resort. Concern about the present and future nature of that function was identified. The Festival company was studied through a combination of observation, examination of internal papers and discussions. It was concluded that the company had acknowledged a need for and/or a desire to attract audiences from a widespread area. This tourism dimension did not dominate policy nor influence the product. Audiences at Festival operas were surveyed directly and by post. The surveys showed that there were tourists in the audiences and also those who classified their tourist visit as a holiday. For both holiday and non-holiday tourists itwas concluded that the operas had been the most important factors influencing the decision to visit. Despite some differences between holiday and non-holiday tourists, the factors causing the holiday/non-holiday distinction remained unclear. The distinction between the tourist and non-tourist was largely, though not necessarily, one of distance from Buxton.