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ISSN : 1225-8504(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8165(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture Vol.28 No.2 pp.174-180

Vitalization Strategies for Cambodia’s Local Festival using SWOT-AHP Analysis

Jong-San Choi, Mi-Ho Jon*, Do-Won Chong*
Department of Agricultural Economics, Chonbuk National University, JeonJu 54896, Korea
*Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Cooperation (KOTRA), Phnom Penh Korea Business Center, Cambodia
Corresponding author +855-12-820-493 (
April 11, 2016 May 27, 2016 June 13, 2016


This study aims to introduce the local festival sponsored by KOTRA (Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) in Banteay Meanchey Province in Cambodia, find that the vitalization strategies that allow the local festival concept to be used as a new rural development strategy alternative, and share those strategies with other donor countries and agencies that may want to implement something similar. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis was utilized to derive the internal and external factors found in the process of planning and promoting a local festival. Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) analysis was employed to prioritize the factors derived from SWOT analysis. These results would lead to the establishment of applicable vitalization strategies. The vitalized local festival can be a tremendous resource for rural regions in Cambodia by helping maintain the rural societies, support the inheritance of their cultural legacies, and provide additional outlets to sustain local development. Acting as sponsors of these strategies will help donors strengthen the ties and construct international cooperation partnerships with Cambodia.

SWOT-AHP 분석을 이용한 캄보디아 지역축제 활성화 전략

최 종산, 전 미호*, 정 도원*
전북대학교 농업경제학과
*대한무역투자진흥공사(KOTRA) 프놈펜 무역관


    Having attained quantitative economic growth via aid from the international community and the success of the Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement), Korea became the first country to move from a recipient country to a donor country. As part of sharing these experiences with developing countries, Korea government has aided Cambodia’s agriculture sector since Cambodia was selected as a major development partner in 2012. In particular, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has played a leading role in carrying out several rural development projects to initiate Cambodia into the spirit of New Village Movement, build agricultural infrastructures, improve agricultural productivity, facilitate market accessibility, and diversify farm income sources (KOICA, 2014). However, KOICA’s rural development projects to restore agricultural culture were non-existent. To address this void, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) supported a local festival of the Phnom Leab commune in the Preah Netr Preah District of Banteay Meanchey Province, located in 65km from the tourist city of Siem Reap and 380km away from the capital of Phnom Penh. Presently, although a number of tourists travel through this area on their way to Siem Reap from Thailand, the region has not been able to use this geographical advantage. Hence, KOTRA additionally designed local festival in this area to act as a tourist attraction to increase the residents’ long-term income through entrepreneurship and job creation, and to ultimately boost the local economy. Displaying rice-straw sculptures for a three-day from 6 to 8 February, 2015 (see Fig. 1), this festival was the first to be held by a donor country/agency in Cambodia. KOTRA financially supported about three million dollars for this festival and 40 staff consisting of KOTRA staff and local residents prepared for it (KOTRA Cambodia Office, 2016). Although KOTRA reported about four thousand people visiting the festival were totalized, most of them were local residents. Unlike the purpose for which this festival was organized, the effect attracting visitors from other domestic areas and countries to generate tourism dollars was insignificant. However, as this festival was printed in nine newspapers, KOTRA produced good results in public activities (KOTRA Cambodia Office, 2016).

    Festivals traditionally were equivalent to celebrations and feasts, but numerous festivals in the age of industrial capitalism have marketing-oriented characteristics designed to enlarge the scale of the local economy by attracting tourists (Getz, 2010; Kim, 2011). These festivals often function as a means to inherit local culture and share a homogenous culture among residents from a socio-cultural perspective (Huang et al., 2010) inspiring the sense of belonging and a feeling of community pride (Irshad, 2011; Oh, 2011).

    Rural communities provide cultural resources as well as crops for food supply and markets. Hence, a diversification strategy making use of these intangible and material properties is needed to vitalize rural communities. Since organizing a festival in a rural community enables the local culture and history to be preserved and the local market to be expanded by the influx of tourists (Irshad, 2011; Kim, 2006; Klamer, 2002; Li and Hu, 2010; Ryu and Park, 2005; Whitford, 2009), donor countries/agencies, including Korea, need to be aware of the usefulness of local festivals and consider the festival as an option for rural development in Cambodia.

    This study aimed to firstly utilize SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to derive the internal and external factors found in the process of planning and promoting a local festival. Secondly, this study prioritized those factors using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) analysis. Thirdly, based on the results of these analyses, this study suggested effective and sustainable vitalization strategies. Lastly, this study shared these strategies for those donor countries/agencies that have plans to organize similar local festivals to minimize their trial and error and cement their international cooperation partnerships with Cambodia.


    SWOT analysis focuses on finding the strengths and weaknesses of internal environments and the opportunities and threats from external environments within a business or organization to formulate a solution to internal and external problems and to find an effective management strategy. Lee et al. (2011) found the successful, problematic, and risky factors of the Hampyeong Butterfly Festival, considered as the most successful local festival in Korea, based on a SWOT analysis. Oh (2011) conducted a SWOT analysis to find the factors affecting local festival vitalization and explored particular development strategies in terms of the SWOT results. Zhang (2012) applied a SWOT analysis to understand the internal resources and external environments of rural tourism in China’s Suzhou region in order to suggest future development directions and promote sustainable development for the region.

    The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), a multiple-criteria decision analysis developed by Saaty (1980), is a popular and effective approach for managing complex decisionmaking issues related to selection, evaluation, benefit-cost analysis, prioritization, resource allocation, and forecasting (Vaidya and Kumar, 2006). Accordingly, AHP helps the decision maker to prioritize and make the best decisions on these issues. AHP is hierarchically composed of the decision- making goal, evaluation criteria, and alternatives. AHP will identify the importance of the criteria as the subgoals and enable decision-making based on priority through the comparison of the importance of individual alternatives within the criteria. Lee (2007a) investigated priorities by analyzing the revitalization factors of a local festival using AHP analysis and presented the theoretical implications and policy suggestions for local festival revitalization based on the results. Lee (2007b) also used AHP results to present theoretical implications and political suggestions through the examination of priorities by analyzing the successful factors of three local festivals in Korea. Moon and Sohn (2007) tried to find the factors which could lead to a successful and sustainable local festival by examining the importance and priority of festival attributes such as advertising, theme, management, and facility.

    While SWOT analysis can categorize the factors in internal (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) situations, allowing the decision-maker to compare these factors in SWOT categories, it cannot quantitatively measure the importance of the categories and their factors (Oreski, 2012; Pesonen et al., 2001). However, the SWOT-AHP approach, a mixed method of SWOT and AHP, can provide the quantitative measurement of the importance of SWOT categories and factors, which are renamed as criteria and alternatives respectively in AHP analysis (Ananda and Herath, 2003; Kurttila et al., 2000). Few previous literatures using SWOT-AHP mixed analysis were unfortunately found to boost local festivals as part of international rural development. This study has significance in that it is the first attempt to derive a vitalization strategy for local festivals in a recipient country.


    A SWOT survey was conducted between 14 and 16 July, 2015. Eight KOTRA officials assigning tasks planning and organising the local festival in Cambodia were posed the SWOT questions. This study derived 63 factors from the SWOT survey results. From these, 15 factors (four for Strengths, three for Weaknesses, four for Opportunities, and four for Threats) were extracted through the process of coordinating and controlling duplicated factors. The 2 × 2 SWOT Matrix was configured as shown in Table 1.

    The hierarchy structure is constructed based on Table 1 (see Fig. 2). The upper level was composed of four SWOT categories (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) as criteria and the lower level was selected from factors belonging in each category as alternatives.

    The questionnaires for the AHP survey adopted a pairwise comparison to evaluate the relative magnitude of one importance against another using the scale of measurement detailed in Table 2. The value of one means the same importance between two factors and the value of nine denotes that one factor is absolutely more important than another one.

    The relative weight of each SWOT category and factor can be determined from a matrix. If w1, w3, …, wn are given, the matrix can be presented as A = (aij) of order n, equation (1). The weight relative to each other is placed on the matrix as an element aij and reciprocal of the relative weight (1/aij) is put to the opposite side of the main diagonal (Dwivedi and Alavalapati, 2009; Saaty, 1990; Shrestha et al., 2004)

    A = ( a i j ) = [ w 1 / w 1 w 1 / w 2 w 1 / w n w 2 / w 1 w 2 / w 2 w 2 / w n w n / w 1 w n / w 2 w n / w n ]

    where aij = wi /wj (i, j = 1, 2, …, n) and i = j, then aij = 1.

    When equation (1) is multiplied by the weight vector w = (w1, w2, ···, wn)t of order n, a new equation is formed, such as equation (2).

    A w = λ w

    where w is a eigenvector of order n and λ is an eigenvalue of A.

    When n is equal to the principal eigenvalue denoting λmax (λmax = n), this matrix has a consistency. In the case of Awλmaxw and λmaxn, the difference between and n indicates that the matrix has the inconsistency. Using the mathematical relationship with λmax and n, the Consistency Index (CI) is calculated from (λmaxn)/(n − 1) and the Consistency Ratio (CR) is derived by dividing the CI by the Random Index (RI) to test the consistency of the matrix A. Saaty (1990) suggested that a CR being less than 0.1 keeps consistency, but a CR more than 0.1 is a permissible level in practice (Coyle, 2004).

    It is important that the AHP survey be completed by relevant experts and practitioners that understand this study’s objectives rather by an unspecified number of the general population. Hence, AHP survey targeted eight KOTRA officials who answered the SWOT questions and was conducted between 21 and 26, July 2015. However, only one official had a logical consistency in his responses on the AHP questionnaire. The AHP survey was redone between 1 and 10, October 2015 targeting five officials. Excluding one questionnaire that presented inconsistency, four were added into the AHP analysis. In total, five AHP questionnaires were used for this study and analyzed by the R statistical program (R Core Team, 2016) with pmr package.


    AHP analysis was performed with five questionnaires having a CR less than 0.1 in order to prioritize SWOT categories and factors. The upper and lower level weights were derived from a paired comparison matrix representing geometric mean values of the weights of the five paired comparison matrices. The overall weight is calculated by multiplying each weight in the lower level by each weight in the upper level. Based on these results, their priorities are then measured as detailed in Table 3.

    Among SWOT categories in the upper level, the relative weight of Strengths was the highest (0.397). This was followed by the categories of Opportunities (0.387), Threats (0.116), and Weaknesses (0.100), in descending order. In the lower level, among the Strengths factors, the relative weight of S1 was the highest (0.316). This was followed by S3 (0.308), S4 (0.194), and S2 (0.182). The relative weight of W3 among the Weaknesses factors was the highest (0.417). This was followed by W2 (0.366) and W1 (0.217). The relative weight of S1 among the Opportunities factors was the highest (0.35). This was followed by O1 (0.308), O2 (0.189), and O3 (0.153). The relative weight of T2 among the Threats factors was the highest (0.434). This was followed by T3 (0.312), T4 (0.131), and T1 (0.132). For the overall weight of the SWOT factors, the relative weight of O4 was the highest (0.136), meaning that the respondents consider “possibility of linking tourism with the neighbouring region (Siem Reap)” the most important factor. This was followed by S1 (0.126), S3 (0.122), and O1 (0.119).

    Since AHP analysis showed the factors of S1, W3, O4, and T2 had the highest weight in their respective SWOT categories, these were combined to establish the vitalization strategy such as the following strategies: the S-O strategy to take advantage of Opportunities by using Strengths; the W-O strategy to take advantage of Opportunities by making up for Weaknesses; the S-T strategy to overcome Threats by using Strengths; and the W-T strategy to overcome Threats by making up for Weaknesses. These vitalization strategies are depicted in Table 4.

    The S-O strategy

    The highest factors of Strengths and Opportunities were S1 and O4, respectively. This denotes the strategy of taking advantage of “possibility of linking tourism with the neighbouring region (Siem Reap)’ by using ‘building local networks and cooperation with Cambodian local government’. It is important for KOTRA to receive the necessary administrative support from amicable relations with the central and local government. KOTRA may need to expand their well-established cooperation with the Banteay Meanchey Province government to the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA), which is responsible for the protection and management of the Angkor Wat ruins in Siem Reap city. With the authorization of APSARA, KOTRA can propose building the information center in Siem Reap city as part of promoting the festival for tourists visiting Ankor Wat ruins. In consultation with the Cambodian Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, KOTRA should also ensure road maintenance, the provision of transportation, and the building of facilities to provide good access to the festival region for tourists.

    The W-O strategy

    The highest factors of Weaknesses and Opportunities were W3 and O4, respectively. This strategy can be considered as taking advantage of the ‘possibility of linking tourism with the neighbouring region (Siem Reap)’ by making up for the ‘insufficient budget’. KOTRA helps Korea companies fulfill corporate social responsibility (CSR) overseas in order to export their products in the short-term and enhance a favourable image in the longterm. KOTRA could be financially supported by these companies to ensure budgets for the local festival. An ensured budget can be allocated to produce a brochure that incorporates an introduction of regional culture, festival specifics, and indigenous products to continuously promote the festival to Siem Reap visitors. The budget can also be used to advertise in travel magazines and on websites for potential tourists from around the world. Local residents would generate revenue through visitors’ consumption and accommodation needs in the region. KOTRA can also invest the budget to support technical training. The training for manufacturing crafted products will give residents opportunities to exhibit and sell craft items to visitors during the festival. Once the festival has ended, vendors could continue to sell craftworks at nearby tourist attractions. The training for advanced agricultural technology will increase agricultural production and provide the opportunity to sell agricultural surplus to neighbouring cities. This strategy will create conditions that can continuously generate income and contribute to vitalizing the local economy.

    The S-T strategy

    The highest factors of Strengths and Threats were S1 and T2, respectively. The strategy can be described as overcoming the ‘lack of definite identity for the festival’ by ‘building local networks and cooperation with Cambodia local government’. The local festival aims to retain the regional culture as well as elevate local economy. However, only relying on the human and material resources of KOTRA may not sustain these advantages in the festival. In this aspect, it is essential that local residents participate and organize the festival. Accordingly, KOTRA needs to create an operating group consisting of local residents, local non-government organizations related to rural development, and the local government. KOTRA would then encourage this group to implement the festival, solve any issues that may occur during the decision-making process, and collect the opinions and feedbacks from local residents. The festival led by them will better highlight regional identities and cultural characteristics.

    The W-T strategy

    The strategy overcoming the ‘lack of definite identity for the festival’ by making up for the ‘insufficient budget’ was derived from reflecting the highest factors of Weaknesses (W3) and Threats (T2). Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most of the current rural development projects depend on the support of donor countries and international development agencies. The festival in the study area was also supported financially by KOTRA. In addition, KOTRA needs to make an effort to secure the budget by pursuing financial sponsorship from donors or international aid agencies that want to implement local festivals as part of rural development. The budget can be invested in the development of experience programs reflecting rural culture and the manufacture of mascots symbolizing the unique image and identity of regions. Notably, a mascot would be an effective tool to promote a regional festival because it helps tourists cognitively understand, easily remember, and emotionally connect to the festival.


    The rural festival can resuscitate the local culture and provide a place for cultural exchanges between local residents and tourists. Recently, as the economic value of these festivals has grown, the rural festival has proven to be a strategic means to boost the local economy by utilizing local resources. In this way, festivals can be expected to contribute to sustainable economic development, strong social relationships between rural residents, and a means for traditional culture to be passed down from one generation to the next. This research found SWOT factors from a survey of those involved in the first local festival in Cambodia held by a foreign aid agency, prioritized these factors using AHP analysis, and established vitalization strategies for rural festivals from the donor perspectives.

    This study introduced the concept of local festivals that utilize rural resources as part of Cambodia’s rural development and suggested viable vitalization strategies. However, there is a limitation in that this study did not analyze the opinions of local residents, agricultural officers, rural development specialists, or tourism experts. Future studies need to not only consider their views but also analyze the detailed regional culture, economy, society, natural environment, and other factors in order to derive more geographically- suitable strategies for local festivals. It is expected that the vitalization strategies that were drawn from this study will provide useful information to other donor countries and agencies that plan to support local festivals in Cambodia.

    적 요

    • 1 대한무역투자진흥공사(KOTRA)는 캄보디아 반티에이민쩌 이 지역에서 2015년 2월 6 ~ 8일까지 3일간 제1회 볏짚축제 (Bale Art Festival)를 개최하였다. 이 축제는 농촌 지역의 문화 와 자원을 활용한 공여국 지원으로 이루어진 첫 사례이다. 앞으 로 지역축제의 활성화와 다른 농촌 지역으로의 확산을 위해 공 여기관(KOTRA)의 관점에서 지속 가능한 전략이 필요하다.

    • 2 본 연구는 KOTRA가 지역축제를 준비 및 추진하는 과정 에서 발견된 내부적 요인과 외부환경의 요인을 분석하는 SWOT분석과 이들 요인의 우선순위를 결정하는 계층화 (Analytic Hierarchy Process, AHP)분석을 수행하였으며 두 분석기법을 결합한 SWOT-AHP분석을 통해 지역축제 활성화 전략을 도출하였다.

    • 3 S-O 전략은 수혜국 관련 기관과의 현지 네트워크 및 협 력체계 구축(S)을 활용해 인근 지역의 관광사업과 연계(O)하 는 것이다. W-O 전략은 예산 부족(W)의 해결을 통해 인근 지역의 관광사업과 연계(O)하는 방안을 제안하였으며 S-T 전 략은 수혜국 관련 기관과의 현지 네트워크 및 협력체계 구축 (S)을 통해 불명확한 축제의 정체성(T)을 확립하는 방안을 모 색하였다. 마지막으로, W-T 전략은 예산 부족(W)을 해결하여 불명확한 축제의 정체성(T)을 확립을 도출하였다.

    • 4 본 연구의 결과는 다른 공여국의 원조기관, 국제 NGO, 국제 원조기구가 지역축제를 지원할 경우, 시행착오를 줄이고 효율적으로 사업을 수행할 수 있는 정보를 제공할 것으로 기 대한다.



    1st Bale festival in Cambodia supported by KOTRA.


    Hierarchy Structure.


    SWOT Factors.

    *Siem Reap is the biggest tourist city with ancient ruins in Cambodia.
    Source: Authors

    Scale of Measurement for Pairwise Comparison.

    Source: Saaty (1990)

    Results of SWOT-AHP analysis.

    Source: Authors

    Vitalization Strategy Matrix.

    Source: Authors


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