Cultural tourism

Cultural tourism is the subset of tourism concerned with a traveler’s engagement with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life.

The notion of cultural tourism is difficult to grasp as a specific social practice in tourism practices and cultural practices. However, we can see that all the mediatised imagery of the most diverse tourist sites (Acapulco, Côte d’Azur, Fjords of Norway, Kenya, Pacific Islands, Savoy …) feeds the whole world with representations with a strong cultural dimension.

The World Tourism Organization narrowly defines it as “movements of persons with essentially cultural motives such as study tours, artistic tours and cultural trips, travel to festivals or other cultural events, visits to sites and monuments, journeys for the discovery of nature, the study of folklore or art, and pilgrimages “.

The strength of the link between culture and tourism can be found in the act of leisure (free time), away from one’s place of residence and driven by various motives (beach, discovery, countryside, sun, business, pilgrimage, cruise, stay linguistic etc.). “These are embodied in a choice of destination and form of travel and stay that both refer to parameters of the order of identity, imagination and representation”.

To consider cultural tourism as a specific category of link between culture and tourism is to consider that it is linked to a conscious decision to “cultivate oneself by various tourist means”. In short, that it is a means by which a traveler will seek the widening of his intellectual horizon. However, this awareness is not necessarily that of cultural tourism explicitly formulated by the individual who will often stick to simpler motivations such as those stated above. It is therefore a question of cultural tourism as a category of social practice and post-event offer.

Cultural tourism includes tourism in urban areas, particularly historic or large cities and their cultural facilities such as museums and theatres. It can also include tourism in rural areas showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities (i.e. festivals, rituals), and their values and lifestyle, as well as niches like industrial tourism and creative tourism.

It is generally agreed that cultural tourists spend substantially more than standard tourists do. This form of tourism is also becoming generally more popular throughout the world, and a recent OECD report has highlighted the role that cultural tourism can play in regional development in different world regions.

Cultural tourism has been defined as ‘the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs’. These cultural needs can include the solidification of one’s own cultural identity, by observing the exotic “others”.

One type of cultural tourism destination is living cultural areas. Visiting any culture other than one’s own such as traveling to a foreign country. Other destinations include historical sites, modern urban districts, “ethnic pockets” of town, fairs/festivals, theme parks, and natural ecosystems. It has been shown that cultural attractions and events are particularly strong magnets for tourism. The term cultural tourism is used for journeys that include visits to cultural resources, regardless of whether it is tangible or intangible cultural resources, and regardless of the primary motivation. In order to understand properly the concept of cultural tourism, it is necessary to know the definitions of a number terms such as, for example, culture, tourism, cultural economy, cultural and tourism potentials, cultural and tourist offer, and others.

Key principles

Destination planning
As the issue of globalization takes place in this modern time, the challenge of preserving the few remaining cultural communities around the world is becoming hard. In a tribal-based community, reaching economic advancement with minimal negative impacts is an essential objective to any destination planner. Since they are using the culture of the region as the main attraction, sustainable destination development of the area is vital for them to prevent the negative impacts (i.e., destroying the authentic identity of the tribal community) due to tourism.

Management issues
Certainly, the principle of “one size fits all” doesn’t apply to destination planning. The needs, expectations, and anticipated benefits from tourism vary greatly from one destination to another. This is clearly exemplified as local communities living in regions with tourism potential (destinations) develop a vision for what kind of tourism they want to facilitate, depending on issues and concerns they want to be settled or satisfied.

Destination planning resources

Planning guides
Culture – the heart of development policy
It is important that the destination planner take into account the diverse definition of culture as the term is subjective. Satisfying tourists’ interests such as landscapes, seascapes, art, nature, traditions, ways of life and other products associated to them -which may be categorized cultural in the broadest sense of the word, is a prime consideration as it marks the initial phase of the development of a cultural destination.

The quality of service and destination, which does not solely depend on the cultural heritage but more importantly to the cultural environment, can further be developed by setting controls and policies which shall govern the community and its stakeholders. It is therefore safe to say that the planner should be on the ball with the varying meaning of culture itself as this fuels the formulation of development policies that shall entail efficient planning and monitored growth (e.g. strict policy on the protection and preservation of the community).

Local community, tourists, the destination and sustainable tourism
While satisfying tourists’ interests and demands may be a top priority, it is also imperative to ruminate the subsystems of the destination’s (residents). Development pressures should be anticipated and set to their minimum level so as to conserve the area’s resources and prevent a saturation of the destination as to not abuse the product and the residents correspondingly. The plan should incorporate the locals to its gain by training and employing them and in the process encourage them to participate to the travel business. Travellers should be not only aware about the destination but also concern on how to help it sustain its character while broadening their travelling experience.

Research on tourism
International tourism changes the world. The Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC) is leading internationally in approaching Tourism for critical research relating to the relationships between tourism, tourists and culture.

Sources of data
The core of a planner’s job is to design an appropriate planning process and facilitate community decision. Ample information which is a crucial requirement is contributed through various technical researches and analyzes. Here are some of the helpful tools commonly used by planners to aid them:

Key Informant Interviews
Libraries, Internet, and Survey Research
Census and Statistical Analysis
Spatial Analysis with Geographical Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies
Key institutions
Participating structures are primarily led by the government’s local authorities and the official tourism board or council, with the involvement of various NGOs, community and indigenous representatives, development organizations, and the academe of other countries. asd

Case study: mountainous regions of central Asia and in the Himalayas
Tourism is coming to the previously isolated mountainous regions of Central Asia, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas. Closed for so many years to visitors from abroad, it now[when?] attracts a growing number of foreign tourists by its unique culture and natural beauty. However, while this influx of tourists is bringing economic opportunities and employment to local populations, helping to promote these little-known regions of the world, it has also brought challenges along with it: to ensure that it is well-managed and that its benefits are shared by all.

As a response to this concern, the Norwegian Government, as well as the UNESCO, organized an interdisciplinary project called the Development of Cultural and Ecotourism in the Mountainous Regions of Central Asia and the Himalayas project.[when?] It aims to establish links and promote cooperation between local communities, national and international NGOs, and tour agencies in order to heighten the role of the local community and involve them fully in the employment opportunities and income-generating activities that tourism can bring. Project activities include training local tour guides, producing high-quality craft items and promoting home-stays and bed-and-breakfast type accommodation.

As of now,[when?] the project is drawing on the expertise of international NGOs and tourism professionals in the seven participating countries, making a practical and positive contribution to alleviating poverty by helping local communities to draw the maximum benefit from their region’s tourism potential, while protecting the environmental and cultural heritage of the region concerned.

Types of cultural tourism
Ethnographic : linked to the customs and traditions of the people (it can also be called folk tourism when it is specialized in local festivals and customs).
Literary : motivated by places or events of a bibliographic or biographical nature. They usually take as a guide a famous travel book , an autobiography or a classic, such as the Odyssey or the Iliad of Homer ; the Histories of Heródoto ; the Don Quixote of Miguel de Cervantes or the Ulysses of James Joyce .
Cinematographic : motivated by the visit to places and destinations where certain films have been shot.
Funerary : motivated by the visit to cemeteries in which famous people have been buried, or in which are tombs made by renowned architects.
Training : linked to the studies, mainly those of languages (also called Language Tourism ).
Scientific : it is a tourist offer for researchers’ conventions or to attend large events that bring together scientists worldwide or conduct research.
Cultural : organized trips to visit museums or the so-called archaeological parks , such as Pompeii and Herculaneum , etc …
Gastronomic : linked to the traditional food of the tourist destination.
Oenological : linked to the wines of an area (also called Wine Tourism).
Ecotourism . It is the purpose of knowing the natural wonders of mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, caves, volcanoes, hot springs and so on. It is usually done in natural parks .
Rural tourism : an old house is rented in the countryside in a natural environment of mountain or forest, or rural.
Hunting : tourists move to hunt exotic animals on photographic safaris or in preserves of other countries; Related to this is that of fishermen who move to foreign rivers or lakes in search of new species to fish. Expeditions are also organized for the hunting of the fox or for the bullfighting fairs .
Industrial : motivated by the visit to factories and industrial centers.
Sports : people come to see sports competitions such as the Olympics , the Winter Games , World Cups or matches of their teams in other countries. Either they go to prestigious equestrian competitions or to winter sports to ski resorts. ” Rodeo and bullfights also have their place here.
Religious . Pilgrimages for religious festivities, or sacred cities such as Rome , Jerusalem or Santiago de Compostela . Visits to sanctuaries like the one of or
Backpacker or espadrille . Associated with hiking and hiking , is tourism povera or essentialist that makes a grand tour in the most economical conditions possible and in absolute freedom outdoors, shunning travel agencies; the tourist is provided with a good backpack and good shoes and goes everywhere walking, sleeping in the open, on beaches, in campsites , in shelters or in sleeping bags, stocking on the ground ( bivouac ) and traveling in the extreme by hitchhiking , by bus, by van or by train, usually as a group.
Playful , dedicated to visiting amusement parks like Disneyland and others or casinos like those of Monaco or Las Vegas . Trips are also organized to attend large rock music concerts.
Health . Tourists visit shrines such as the Virgin of Fatima or the Virgin of Lourdes for health reasons, or spas across Europe for health reasons. It is usually cultivated by elderly tourists.

Many tour operators specialize in cultural tourism. This form of tourism is being increasingly developed to and within European countries and for destinations outside Europe. Mostly smaller, specialized travel companies offer professionally planned and guided by trained tour guides for those interested. In small groups, foreign countries or previously unexplored regions are explored. So there are study trips for almost every topic. The price is usually higher than with package tours , as the traveler is more cared for and advised. Increasingly important are hiking trips . An essential goal for this is ecologically sustainable tourism .

Strategic planning is of particular importance in the elaboration of a cultural tourism offer. For example, an orientation on the supply side or on the authentic, cultural, endogenous resources of a destination promotes gentle and sustainable cultural tourism, which promises higher returns, especially in the long term, while orientation on the demand side and on the staged cultural offer to a larger one Visitor layer and thus aims at short-term high profitability. Local adult education centers offer educational and study trips in cooperation with travel agencies. Their quality should be secured by the quality guidelines of the umbrella organization of the German adult education centers.

The importance of cultural tourism in Europe can be seen from the share of 23.5% of all tourist arrivals. 31 million tourist arrivals are classified as ‘general cultural tourists’, the remaining 3.5 million are considered specific cultural tourists .
A special case is the search of churches, monasteries and the like. a. religious buildings and the use of pilgrimages by local strangers. This behavior can (and should) by forming the ” spiritual tourism marketed”.

Source from Wikipedia