(Final up to date on: 19/10/2020)

Cultural tourism is massive enterprise. Some folks search to embark on their travels with the only real intention of getting a ‘cultural’ expertise, whereas others might expertise tradition as a byproduct of their journey. We are able to argue that there’s some type of cultural tourism in most holidays (even when taking an all-inclusive vacation you would possibly attempt to native beer, for instance).

However what will we imply by the time period ‘cultural tourism’? What’s all of it about? On this publish I’ll clarify what is supposed by the time period cultural tourism, offering a variety of educational definitions. I may even clarify what the several types of cultural vacationers are, give examples of cultural tourism actions and talk about the impacts of cultural tourism. Lastly, I’ll present a quick abstract of some common cultural tourism locations.

What’s cultural tourism?

Cultural tourism is the act of travellers visiting explicit locations with a view to expertise and find out about a specific tradition. This could embody many actions comparable to; attending occasions and festivals, visiting museums and tasting the native meals and drinks.

Cultural tourism may also be an unintentional a part of the tourism expertise, whereby cultural immersion (with the native folks, their language, customs, delicacies and so forth) is an inevitable a part of an individual’s vacation.

Cultural tourism definitions

It has been urged that tourism is the perfect enviornment during which to research the character of cultural manufacturing (MacCannell, 1976). Tourism supplies countless alternatives to find out about the way in which different folks dwell, about their society and their traditions. Whether or not you’re attending the Operating of the Bulls Pageant in Pamplona, visiting the pyramids in historic Egypt, taking a tour of the tea plantations in China or having fun with the domestically brewed Ouzo in your all-inclusive vacation to Greece, you’ll inevitably encounter some type of cultural tourism as a part of your vacation expertise.

The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) (1985) broadly outline cultural tourism because the actions of individuals who fulfill the human want for range, tending to lift the cultural stage of the person and giving rise to new information, expertise and encounters. Cultural tourism is often related to schooling on this means, some describing it extra narrowly as instructional cultural tourism (e.g. Bualis and Costa, 2006; Harner and Swarbrooke, 2007; Richards, 2005).

Though a typical, extra particular definition has not been agreed amongst lecturers because of the complexity and subjectivity of the time period, there do look like two distinct viewpoints. The primary focusses upon the consumption of cultural merchandise comparable to websites or monuments (Bonink, 1992; Munsters, 1994), and the second contains all facets of journey, the place travellers study concerning the historical past and heritage of others or about their up to date methods of life or thought (MacIntosh and Goeldner, 1986).

Learn additionally: Authenticity in tourism- A easy rationalization

Csapo (2012) pertains that the umbrella time period of cultural tourism can embody a variety of tourism types together with heritage (materials e.g. historic buildings and non-material e.g. literature, arts), cultural thematic routes (e.g. non secular, gastronomic, linguistic), cultural metropolis tourism, traditions/ethnic tourism, occasions and festivals, non secular tourism and artistic tradition (e.g. performing arts, crafts).

Forms of cultural vacationers

In try to grasp the scope of cultural tourism lecturers have developed a variety of typologies, often primarily based upon the vacationer’s stage of motivation.

Bywater (1993) differentiated vacationers in accordance with whether or not they had been culturally , motivated or impressed.

Culturally vacationers show a basic curiosity in tradition and eat cultural sights casually as half of a vacation quite than consciously planning to take action.

Culturally motivated vacationers eat tradition as a significant a part of their journey, however don’t select their vacation spot on the premise of particular cultural experiences, whereas for culturally impressed vacationers tradition is the principle purpose of their vacation. 

A extra advanced typology was proposed by McKercher and Du Cros (2002), who outlined vacationers primarily based upon the depth of the cultural expertise sought, distinguishing them in to one among 5 hierarchical classes. 

The primary is the purposeful cultural vacationer for whom cultural tourism is their main motive for journey. These vacationers have a very deep cultural expertise. 

The second class is the sightseeing cultural vacationer for whom cultural tourism is a main purpose for visiting a vacation spot, however the expertise is extra shallow in nature.

The serendipitous cultural vacationer doesn’t journey for cultural causes, however who, after collaborating, finally ends up having a deep cultural tourism expertise, while the informal cultural vacationer is weakly motivated by tradition and subsequently has a shallow expertise. 

Lastly, the incidental cultural vacationer is one who does not journey for cultural tourism causes however nonetheless participates in some actions and has shallow experiences. 

Adapting this concept, Petroman et al (2013) segments vacationers primarily based upon their most popular cultural actions.

The purposeful cultural vacationer, described as in accordance with Mckercher and Du Cros (2002), enjoys studying experiences that problem them intellectually and visits historical past museums, artwork galleries, temples and heritage websites which are much less recognized.

The tour-amateur cultural vacationer is akin with the sightseeing cultural vacationer above and so they usually journey lengthy distances, go to distant areas, take pleasure in excursions and wandering by the streets.

The occasional cultural vacationer performs a average function within the determination of travelling and enjoys an insignificant cultural expertise, their most popular actions being to go to sights and temples which are simple to succeed in and to discover, though to not the extent that the tour-amateur cultural vacationer does.

The incidental cultural vacationer performs a small or no function within the determination to journey and enjoys an insignificant cultural expertise, while visiting sights that space inside simple attain and heritage theme parks.

The final phase is the unintended cultural vacationer, who performs a small or no function within the determination to journey however enjoys a deep cultural expertise. This vacationer sort is numerous and as such has no most popular actions attributed to it. 

Significance of cultural tourism

Cultural tourism is necessary for a lot of causes. Maybe probably the most distinguished purpose is the social affect that it brings.

Cultural tourism may help reinforce identities, improve cross cultural understanding and protect the heritage and tradition of an space. I’ve mentioned these benefits at size in my publish The Social Impacts of Tourism, so you could need to head over there for extra element.

Cultural tourism may also have constructive financial impacts. Vacationers who go to an space to study extra a couple of tradition or who go to cultural tourism attraction, comparable to museums or exhibits, throughout their journey assist to contribute to the financial system of the realm. Sights have to be staffed, bringing with it employment prospects and tertiary companies may also profit, comparable to eating places, taxi companies and inns.

Moreover, for these looking for a deep cultural expertise, choices comparable to homestays can have constructive financial advantages to the members of the neighborhood who host the vacationers.

Learn additionally: Overtourism defined: What, why and the place

Personally, I believe that one of the vital necessary advantages of cultural tourism is the academic facet. Vacationers and hosts alike can study extra about alternative ways of life. This may help to broaden one’s thoughts, it will probably assist one to suppose otherwise and to be extra goal. These are qualities that may have many constructive results on an individual and which may contribute to creating them extra employable sooner or later.

Cultural tourism actions

Whether or not a vacationer is looking for a deep cultural expertise or in any other case, there are a variety of actions that may be categorized as cultural tourism. Listed here are a number of examples:

  • Staying with an area household in a homestay
  • Having a tour round a village or city
  • Studying about native employment, for instance by a tour of a tea plantation or manufacturing unit
  • Enterprise volunteer work in the area people
  • Taking a course comparable to cooking, artwork, embroidery and so forth
  • Visiting a museum
  • Visiting a spiritual constructing, comparable to a Mosque
  • Socialising with members of the area people
  • Visiting an area market or purchasing space
  • Making an attempt the native foods and drinks
  • Going to a cultural present or efficiency
  • Visiting historic monuments


That is an fascinating video exhibiting among the wonderful cultural traditions you’ll be able to expertise in your travels!

Impacts of cultural tourism

There are a number of impacts ensuing from cultural tourism actions, each good and unhealthy. Listed here are among the commonest examples:

Constructive impacts of cultural tourism

Revitalisation of Tradition and Artwork

Some locations will encourage native cultures and humanities to be revitalised. This can be within the type of museum exhibitions, in the way in which that eating places and outlets are adorned and within the leisure on provide, for instance.

This may occasionally assist promote traditions which will have turn into distant.

Preservation of Heritage

Many vacationers will go to the vacation spot particularly to see its native heritage. It is for that reason that many locations will make each effort to protect its heritage.

This might embody placing restrictions in place or limiting vacationer numbers, if crucial. That is usually an instance of cautious tourism planning and sustainable tourism administration.

This textual content by Hyung You Park explains the rules of heritage tourism in additional element.

Damaging impacts of cultural tourism

Social Change

Social change is principally referring to adjustments in the way in which that society acts or behaves. Sadly, there are a lot of adjustments that come about because of tourism that aren’t fascinating.

There are a lot of examples all through the world the place native populations have modified due to tourism. Maybe they’ve modified the way in which that they communicate or the way in which that they costume. Maybe they’ve been launched to alcohol by the tourism business or they’ve turn into resentful of wealthy vacationers and turned to crime. These are only a few examples of the unfavourable social impacts of tourism.

Learn additionally: Enterprise tourism defined: What, why and the place

Globalisation and the Destruction of Preservation and Heritage

Globalisation is the way in which during which the world is turning into more and more related. We’re dropping our individuality and gaining a way of ‘world being’, whereby we an increasing number of alike than ever earlier than.

Globalisation is inevitable within the tourism business due to the interplay between vacationers and hosts, which usually come from completely different geographic and cultural backgrounds. It’s this interplay that encourage us to turn into extra alike.

A captivating dialogue concerning the moral duties of vacationers

Standardisation and Commercialisation

Equally, locations threat standardisation within the strategy of satisfying vacationers’ wishes for acquainted services and experiences.

Whereas panorama, lodging, meals and drinks, and so forth., should meet the vacationers’ need for the brand new and unfamiliar, they have to on the identical time not be too new or unusual as a result of few vacationers are literally in search of fully new issues (suppose once more about the bathroom instance I’ve beforehand).

Vacationers usually search for recognisable services in an unfamiliar surroundings, like well-known fast-food eating places and lodge chains. Vacationer like some issues to be standardised (the bathroom, their breakfast, their drinks, the language spoken and so forth), however others to be completely different (dinner choices, music, climate, vacationer sights and so forth).

Lack of Authenticity 

Alongside comparable traces to globalisation is the lack of authenticity that always outcomes from tourism.

Authenticity is basically one thing that’s unique or unchanged. It isn’t pretend or reproduced in any means.

The Western world consider {that a} vacationer vacation spot is now not genuine when their cultural values and traditions change. However I’d argue is that this not pure? Is tradition suppose to remain the identical or it suppose to evolve all through every era? 

Check out the likes of the lengthy neck tribe in Thailand or the Maasai Tribe in Africa. These are two examples of cultures which have remained ‘unchanged’ for the only real function of tourism. They seem to not have modified the way in which that they costume, they means that they communicate or the way in which that they act in generations, all for the aim of tourism.

You’ll be able to study extra about what’s authenticity in tourism right here or see some examples of staged authenticity on this publish.

Tradition clashes

As a result of tourism includes motion of individuals to completely different geographical areas cultural clashes can happen because of variations in cultures, ethnic and spiritual teams, values, life, languages and ranges of prosperity.

Learn additionally: Environmental impacts of tourism

The perspective of native residents in direction of tourism improvement might unfold by the phases of euphoria, the place guests are very welcome, by apathy, irritation and doubtlessly antagonism when anti-tourist attitudes start to develop amongst native folks. That is represented in Doxey’s Irritation Index, as proven under.

Doxey’s Irritation Index

Vacationer-host relationships

Tradition clashes may also be exasperated by the basic variations in tradition between the hosts and the vacationers.

There’s prone to be financial inequality between locals and vacationers who’re spending greater than they often do at residence. This could trigger resentment from the hosts in direction of the vacationers, notably after they see them sporting costly jewelry or utilizing plush cameras and so forth that they know they’ll’t afford themselves.

Additional to this, vacationers usually, out of ignorance or carelessness, fail to respect native customs and ethical values. 

There are a lot of examples of ways in which vacationers offend the native inhabitants, usually unintentionally. Do you know that it’s best to by no means put your again to a Buddha? Or present the only real of your toes to a Thai individual? Or present romantic affection in public within the Center East?

Cultural tourism locations

While many would argue that cultural tourism is ingrained to some extent in journey to any nation, there are some explicit locations which are well-known for his or her means to supply vacationers with a cultural expertise.

Cultural tourism in India

It’s unimaginable to not go to India and expertise the tradition. Even in case you are staying in a 5 star Western all-inclusive lodge in Goa, you’ll nonetheless take a look at Indian curries, be spoken to by Indian employees and see life exterior of the lodge in your switch to and from the airport.

For most individuals who journey to India, nevertheless, cultural tourism is excess of peeking exterior of the enclave tourism bubble of their all-inclusive lodge.

1000’s of worldwide vacationers go to the Taj Mahal annually. Many extra folks go to the varied Hindu and Buddhist temples scattered all through the nation in addition to the varied Mosques. Some go to the well-known Varanassi to find out about reincarnation.

Most vacationers who go to India will strive the native dal, eat the contemporary mutton and style chai.

All of those actions are common cultural tourism actions.

Cultural tourism in Thailand

Thailand is one other vacation spot that provides nice cultural tourism potential. From the Buddhist temples and monuments and the yoga retreats to homestays and village excursions, there are ample cultural tourism alternatives in Thailand.

Some cultural dos and don’ts in Thailand

Cultural tourism in Israel

Israel is common with non secular vacationers and those that are taking a spiritual pilgrimage, in addition to leisure vacationers. I visited Israel and beloved travelling round to see the varied sights, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. I’m not non secular in any means, however I beloved studying concerning the historical past, traditions and cultures.

Cultural tourism in New York

New York is a metropolis that’s bustling with tradition. It’s world well-known for its museums and you’ll find out about something from World Conflict Two to the Twin Towers right here.

Many would argue that purchasing is ingrained within the tradition of those that dwell in New York and lots of vacationers will make the most of the huge choice of merchandise on provide and bargains available on their travels to New York.

You can even deal with your self to watching a conventional West Finish present, attempting among the well-known New York Cheesecake and having fun with a cocktail in Instances Sq.!

Cultural tourism in Dubai

Dubai won’t be the primary vacation spot that involves thoughts if you consider cultural tourism, however it does, in truth, have an awesome providing.

What I discover explicit intriguing about Dubai is the combo of previous and new. One minute you might be exploring the glitz and glamour of the various high-end purchasing malls and skyscrapers and the subsequent you might be strolling by a conventional Arabian souk.

Cultural tourism: Conclusion

As you’ll be able to see, there may be massive enterprise in cultural tourism. With a variety of forms of cultural vacationers and forms of cultural tourism experiences, this can be a tourism sector that has exceptional potential. Nevertheless, as all the time, it’s crucial to make sure that sustainable tourism practices are utilised to mitigate any unfavourable impacts of cultural tourism.

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Additional studying

Wish to study extra about cultural tourism? See my really helpful studying listing under.

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