The objectives of this research were to study the economic and political factors affecting conflicts, and to propose guidelines for conflict management at the annual fair at Khao Kitchakut Sacred Buddha Footprint, Chanthaburi Province. The mixed method approaches of survey and qualitative research were used in this study. A sample of 400 annual fair participants participated in the survey which focused on participants’ opinion and level of satisfaction toward religious tourism. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. The qualitative portion of the research was completed by conducting in-depth and focus group interviews with local residents, community leaders and Buddhist clergy.
The results were as follows: 1) There were economic benefits from the sale of religious supplies at the annual fair, and there was a fee collected from each vehicle; 2) Political power was allocated by the host to the different organizations that ran the fair; 3) Conflicts arose from different opinions regarding how to organize the fair, as well as misunderstandings based on incorrect information. Proposed guidelines for conflict management included: changing single host to collaborative hosting of participating organizations, establishing emergency medical contingency and waste management plans, and placing informational guideposts and directional signage on the trail to the Sacred Buddha Footprint at Khao Kitchakut, Chanthaburi Province.