I-Ting Yu and Hui-Mei Chen – Attraction of Transient Natural Beauty

I-Ting Yu and Hui-Mei Chen
National Taiwan University
Attraction of Transient Natural Beauty: Exploring Visitors' Motivations and
Experiential Values of the Blossom Festival
Nature serves as a powerful resource for emotional bonding and attachment,
especially through companionship with other creatures, but also by experiencing a
strong attraction to certain plants and landscapes. The popularity of nature-based
festivals is booming, and holding festivals is a popular strategy for Taiwan's tourism
authority to promote nature-based attractions. Flowers constitute an essential
source of beauty and physical attraction. Blossom festivals, which have become very
popular in Taiwan, attract numerous visitors to experience transient natural beauty.
Most festival research has addressed tourists’ behaviors when participating in
cultural and art festivals, however relatively few studies have focused on natural
festivals. The purposes of this study were to explore visitors' motivations, on-site
experience, and experiential values associate with attending blossom festivals.
A festival named “2012 Hualien Daylily Blossom Festival” was chosen as the study
case. Some species of day lilies are edible and are used in Chinese cuisine. These
flowers bloom annually from August to September. During the production season,
over 300ha of the mountains of townships in Hualine are covered with yellow
daylilies, attracting masses of tourist to the region. This has also allowed daylily
admiring to become a popular tourist activity. In this study, a method of qualitative
interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire was selected to collect data. The
analysis was based on using each question as a category for analysis.
The results revealed that appreciating the blooming of daylily flowers was the major
motivation for attending this festival. Experiencing the spectacular landscape of
mountains that are covered with a sea of golden flowers is the unique attraction of
the Daylily Festival. This aesthetic satisfaction was distinct from experiences of other
festivals. Moreover, the daylily flowers are known as "beauty for a day," because they
bloom in the morning and wither in the evening. Appreciating transitory natural
beauty for enjoyment was an intrinsic value for most respondents. Creating a tranquil
atmosphere is very important for appreciating blooming, thus visitor capacity control
was crucial for those managing the festival. Many respondents declared that the host
should provide more information and improve infrastructure, whereas adding any
other activities or performances would superfluous.