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Background of Songkran Festival

Question:

Discuss about the Songkran Festival in Thailand for Economy.

Different kinds of events have now become a good resource of not only a mass enjoyment but it has also become a significant resource of economy generation in the respective country. Events can be of varied kinds such as film festival, annual festival, music festival and many others like such (Kitterlin & Yoo 2014). Songkran festival is one of the kinds of such festivals but definitely with different faiths and beliefs behind it. The paper therefore figures out the factual findings behind the event (Tsai & Sakulsinlapakorn, 2016). The main purpose of this assignment is to analyze the Songkran festival based on different parameters such as its impact on the different stakeholders and the theoretical perspectives of the Songkran festival.

Songkran festival is the biggest event celebrated in the country Thailand every year in the month of April from 13th to 15th. The start of the event can be traced in the earlier times when the believers used to offer foods to the Buddhist monks. The holy water offered by the monks had then taken the religious beliefs, which is ever since then has continued. The celebration of Songkran festival is now more done for the holy purpose. People view this as a good resource to purify their souls by being into the rainfall (Agarwal, 2013).

Principle of sustainability can be well defined with the help of Triple Bottom Line approach. Triple Bottom Line approach is a theoretical framework that analyses the impact of a business on the three important factors such as environment, society and the economy (Starik & Kanashiro, 2013). On a similar note, this section of the assignment checks the impact of the selected festival on the social life of the Thais, on the surrounding environment and on the local economy.

The impact of a business or any event on the environment is growing in concerns for the common people. Common people have now much concern on the betterment of environment. Sustainability has become an integral asset of the different practices that organizations today perform. They do so to ensure that their business is aligned with environmental cause also (Beckmann, Hielscher & Pies, 2014).

Events do also affect the social life of people living close to such events. The different kinds of events do affect its audience distinctively. However, events based on ritual beliefs have different impacts on the society. It changes their way of thinking. It changes their way of living and also their way of beliefs (Porananond, 2015).

Sustainability and Stakeholder Analysis

Such events do also have an indirect impact on the local economy. This happens because of several reasons such as the increasing fall of foreign visitors. An increasing fall of foreign visitors is also accompanied with an increasing number of local people. If such a huge gathering is a part of an event and that for a long duration of time, it really helps the local economy of the country to improve to a significant level (Lee, 2016).

Different people have different experiences regarding the event. To some people, it just means a good source to have some kind of enjoyment. However, there are many who are associated to the various kinds of events for their different beliefs & thoughts. Despite all the distinguish beliefs and views on the different kinds of events, it is understandable that events are close to many (Karlsson, 2013).

The impact of the event on the economy is readily observable. This does not only benefit the different industries associated with this. It rather affects the local economy as well. Positive impact of different events can be but are not limited to such as increasing business of different bodies associate to the event, entertaining resource for those who love entertainment and local economy of the country. Negative impacts can also be in significant numbers. Different events have different negative impacts such as a music festival affects the surrounding environment with sound pollution. This is problematic to the common citizen as well to the students (Riasi & Pourmiri, 2015).

Stakeholders are those who are associated to the events with their different roles and responsibilities. The theory of stakeholder management resembles its relation with the theory of sustainability, which means to satisfy the needs of every single stakeholder associated to a business or an event. It is indeed a challenge in nowadays to satisfy the needs of every single stakeholder (Tantalo & Priem, 2016). Stakeholders are of two kinds such as primary and secondary (Kazadi, Lievens & Mahr, 2016). Sustainability has been affected badly by the incapability of the firms to manage their stakeholders. Organizations with better sustainability records have the better capability to manage their respective stakeholders, which is why there are few firms in the world that are famous for their sustainability records (Eccles, Ioannou & Serafeim, 2014).  

Songkran festival is one of such events that have an evident impact on the surrounding environment. Thai people believe the event is a resource to wash off their sins and bad deeds. It not only attracts the local people but also attract the foreigners as well. Tourists coming from different parts of world have their interest also in the event. They may have some other perspective towards the event; however, they still take part in the event. Environmentally, the festival score poor on the sustainability account. This is for few important reasons such as the wastage of water and the pollution due to this. There is a huge shortage of water in Thailand. Despite the fact the local government of the country still offers sufficient water to support the ritual beliefs. They have reduced the festival duration from initially of four days to three days but still it does not look good from the perspective of sustainability (Waiyanate, 2016). Another important look out is pollution, which the spilling of water causes. People use to be in the rain of water with their shoes in the leg. The surrounding of the area is bound to be adjoined with unexpected pollution may be in the form of dirt that different people bring with themselves in the festival (Waiyanate, 2016).

Impact on the Environment

Songkran festival like the other event festival across the globe attracts a mass participation especially from the local community. It also witnesses a significant participation of the international visitors those who come to Thailand to visit the country. There have been instances of road accidents, which were there because of street gatherings, reckless driving, drinking while driving and many like such. The event itself does not give any preach on any such practices; however, it is becoming responsible for such causes. It has affected them negatively, which is not a very healthy sign for a peaceful atmosphere (Porananond, 2015).

Songkran festival, which is celebrated every year in the month of April for three days attracts not only the local people but it, also attracts the foreign visitors who visit the country for the touring purpose. The staying of foreign visitors in the festival does open up ways to an increased frequency of online booking of hotels, air tickets, restaurants etc. Tour operators do earn a significant amount with such event. Not only this, the hotels and the restaurants also earn a very significant amount. The business is enhanced for the hotels, the restaurants and the tour operators. This indirectly influences the local economy of the country. This is for such reason the local government of the country has shown their interest in uplifting the tourism sector of the country (Karlsson, 2013).

The event celebrated by the Thais has few background meaning, which is necessary to understand the importance of festival to the Thais people. The Thai people believe that being into the splashing water will wash away their sins and purify their souls. The belief is very much similar to the reasons for which Makar Sankranti is celebrated in India. However, the way of celebration is different. To the Thai people it is very religious and pious too. The other meaning attached to this event is the belief, which the Thai people have for rain. They believe that splashing water in such a way for ritual values will also attract rainfall in the country. Nevertheless, this will compensate the scarcity of water in the country (Karlsson, 2013).

Positivity of the event is widely evident in the economic betterment of Thailand. The online booking has gone up. This is because more people are now coming from the different parts of world. They are the visitors who are coming to the country with their special intentions to be the part of the event. This is a good sign for the different hotels, restaurants and the tour operators in Thailand. They have now enhanced business opportunities (Riasi & Pourmiri, 2015). Despite of its positive impact on the economy of the country, it has adversely affected the social and the environmental factors of the country. Accident cases are rising with the growing popularity of the Songkran festival. Drivers are driving the vehicles furiously while being in the drinking state. Apart from this, it is also the wastage of water. The country is struggling to get the sufficient water for its people. Moreover, the spill over water is supporting the air pollution. This is never a healthy sign for a country.

Impact on Social Life

It is necessary for the Songkran festival as well that it satisfies its different stakeholders. In the Songkran festival, the primary stakeholders are the sponsors, participants and suppliers. The secondary stakeholders are the customers who are the local and the international people, the communities, the local government, tourism organizations and the various media personnel. The festival is benefitting its primary stakeholders because the event is growing in popularity with passage of every year. The secondary stakeholders have also been benefitted with this event. The tourism organization is now witnessing an enhanced fall of foreign visitors who also take part in this three day event. The local government is also in the benefiting hands because the festival has also helped to improve the local economy of the country. The local and the international people are also happy with this event for their different reasons. However, community is the one segment, which is getting badly affected with the event. The pollution that the festival contributes in is the one worrying factor. Apart from this, an increasing number of road accidents due to reckless driving or driving while drunk have both worsened the situation. The festival is actually enabling a negative outcome of it when it comes to the community or the society (Lertpattaradumrongkul, 2015).

Conclusion

The Songkran festival is vastly popular in local people of Thailand and the international customers visiting to the country. People living in the country find this festival as a good resource to purify their soul from sins. Many foreign visitors do also visit this festival. They might have a different view; however, they still love to be a part of the event. The festival is growing in popularity with the passage of time, which is benefitting the local economy of the country. Additionally, it has also benefitted the event management team and the hospitality & tourism industry of Thailand. However, it has also become a notable resource to pollution and disrupting lives in the community. The event has been held responsible to notable number of road accidents. It has also been held responsible for the water shortage. Moreover, it is an event that contributes to the betterment of the local economy of the country; however, it should be taken care in the extreme hands of the local government. They need to ensure that there is a significant reduction in the road accidents. They also need to ensure that there are no shortages of water in the country.

References

Agarwal, R. (2013). Water Festivals of Thailand: The Indian Connection. Silpakorn University Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts, 7-18.

Beckmann, M., Hielscher, S., & Pies, I. (2014). Commitment strategies for sustainability: how business firms can transform trade?offs into win–win outcomes. Business Strategy and the Environment, 23(1), 18-37.

Eccles, R. G., Ioannou, I., & Serafeim, G. (2014). The impact of corporate sustainability on organizational processes and performance. Management Science, 60(11), 2835-2857.

Karlsson, K. (2013). The Songkran festival in Chiang Tung: A symbolic performance of domination and subordination between Lowland Tai and Hill Tai. Tai Culture, 23, 50-62.

Karlsson, K. (2013). The Songkran festival in Chiang Tung: A symbolic performance of domination and subordination between Lowland Tai and Hill Tai. Tai Culture, 23, 50-62.

Kazadi, K., Lievens, A., & Mahr, D. (2016). Stakeholder co-creation during the innovation process: Identifying capabilities for knowledge creation among multiple stakeholders. Journal of Business Research, 69(2), 525-540.

Kitterlin, M., & Yoo, M. (2014). Festival motivation and loyalty factors. Tourism & Management Studies, 10(1).

Lee, Y. K. (2016). Impact of government policy and environment quality on visitor loyalty to Taiwan music festivals: Moderating effects of revisit reason and occupation type. Tourism Management, 53, 187-196.

Lertpattaradumrongkul, H. (2015). An exploratory study of the potential of Joe Louis Theatre to become a must-see performing art of Bangkok: views from the Joe Louis Theatre stakeholders.

Porananond, P. (2015). Tourism and the transformation of ritual practice with sand pagodas in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Tourism Review, 70(3), 165-178.

Riasi, A., & Pourmiri, S. (2015). Effects of online marketing on Iranian ecotourism industry: Economic, sociological, and cultural aspects. Management Science Letters, 5(10), 915-926.

Starik, M., & Kanashiro, P. (2013). Toward a theory of sustainability management: Uncovering and integrating the nearly obvious. Organization & Environment, 26(1), 7-30.

Tantalo, C., & Priem, R. L. (2016). Value creation through stakeholder synergy. Strategic Management Journal, 37(2), 314-329.

Tsai, L. M., & Sakulsinlapakorn, K. (2016). Exploring Tourists’ Push and Pull Travel Motivations to Participate in Songkran Festival in Thailand as a Tourist Destination: A Case of Taiwanese Visitors. Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Management, 4(5), 183-197.

Waiyanate, N. (2016). 617 Advocacy of community accident prevention (community traffic safety checkpoint) during Songkran festival in Thailand, 2015.

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