There are many reasons why people enjoy holiday travels – for relaxation, knowledge, events, exciting adventures, and more.

The connection between culture and tourism in the travel industry can be more explicitly explained as the consumption of a specific form – ‘Cultural Tourism’.

P.S. This is part one of our focus on cultural tourism. In part two, we showcase specific examples of the effect of cultural tourism for specific countries!

A Major Force in International Tourism Consumption

‘Cultural Tourism’ refers to “visits by travellers from outside the host community, who are motivated entirely or partially by (their) interest in the historical developments or the heritage essence pertaining to the ethnicity, artistic, scientific, habitat lifestyles, traditions and believes of the host community, or the region”.

Cultural Tourism takes its form in tourists visiting the urban appeal of large cities, to immerse in local museums, galleries, religious sanctuaries or theatres of performing arts.

Now, it has extended to tourists visiting rural areas or local heartlands to see and experience history, traditions and the culture of its indigenous communities, their values, lifestyle and aspirations.

In recent years, Cultural Tourism has been reaffirmed as a major element of international tourism consumption – accounting for 40% of outbound travellers’ intentions. Cultural Tourism is one of the most desired development options for travel destinations the world over.

Cultural-related tourists have also been shown to spend more than standard tourists.

With the abundance of culturally-interested travellers who have both spending power and the time to travel, they are tremendous potentials as a unique form of revenue generator for travel destinations.

Local Partnerships For Cultural Tourism

There are various ways destinations can implement policies or develop practices to take advantage of cultural tourism groups. These strategies below will be considered even more successful when local businesses’ needs are met with tangible or intangible benefits.

Firstly, to envisage partnership that generates all-round economic benefits, it may require a rethink by destination’s Tourism Authorities, cultural groups and heritage institutions.

It would also involve equipping local establishments such as, hoteliers, inbound tour and travel service operators to work in sync.

For example:

  • Museums working with tour operators, airlines or hoteliers in implementing promotional tourist packages during their low-visitor periods.
  • Inbound tour agencies tying-up with destination’s MICE Planners, with activities specially curated for accompanying spouses or families of conference delegates.
  • Hotels collaborating with airlines, associations or federations to promote inbound tours specially for the relatives or friends of business professionals who happen to be on periodical stay at the destination.
  • Tourism or Cultural Boards introducing ‘Walking Trails’ for visitations to enclaves, allowing tourists to mingle with host communities, shopping at local stores, sampling common cuisine, typical dining experience, or just for a refreshment break during organised tours.

Secondly, various partnerships could also be formed between the government and academic institutions, or collaborations with Visitors Bureau, Convention Centres, etc.

There are boundless possibilities to create win-win benefits, with each party playing pivotal roles in adding greater attractions to their destination!

One key consideration here: when facilities and features are convenient and easily accessible for, there’s a higher chance of attracting culturally-interested global tourists across all age-groups.

The availability of reader-friendly reference materials and educational information in the preferred language of these foreign visitors also helps to expand visitor attraction.

In creating promotional or marketing content specially localised into any languages, the most reliable approach is ‘transcreation’ (translations infused with creative editing), or commonly known as CREATIVE TRANSLATION.

Read Part Two: Examples of how two countries focused on Cultural Tourism!