Cultural Heritage Tourism: A Sustainable Strategy . October 27, 2010 – Sustainable Tourism Laboratory Blackstone River Valley Tourism Council, Rhode Island . Background.
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Cultural Heritage Tourism: A Sustainable Strategy October 27, 2010 – Sustainable Tourism Laboratory Blackstone River Valley Tourism Council, Rhode Island
Background • Culture & heritage was not recognized as U.S. “travel activities” until 1995, although destinations have focused on these assets for centuries • New definitions, principles and efforts to integrate and distinguish cultural, heritage and natural assets launched 20 years ago as an alternative to mass-market, manufactured tourism
Cultural Heritage Tourism Definitions Partners in Tourism National Trust • Based on the mosaic of places, traditions, art forms, celebrations and experiences that define this nation and its people, reflecting the diversity and character of the U.S. • Traveling to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It includes historic, cultural and natural attractions.
The Power of “Place” ASSETS
The Cultural Heritage Traveler • Older • More Affluent • Educated • Often Married • Frequent traveler – 5.01 leisure trips vs. 3.98 • Spend more – $994 vs. $611 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers = 118.3 million adults annually Source: Mandala Research 2009
The New Cultural Heritage Traveler • Prefer leisure travel that is educational • Spend more money on cultural and heritage activities • Want to engage with locals; “do” something • Will travel farther to get the experience • On-line important for: • Trip planning • Community engagement • Consumer content generation
Top activities • Visiting historic sites (66%) • Participating in historical re-enactments (64%) • Visiting art museums/galleries (54%) • Attending an art/craft fair or festival (45%) • Attending a professional dance performance (44%) • Visiting state/national parks (41%) • Shopping in museum stores (32%) • Exploring urban neighborhoods (30%) Source: Mandala Research 2009 Museum Store Statistics: Average Visitation - 85,000 visitors Annual Sales - $200,000 + Up 16.5% since 2006 Source: 2009 Museum Store Association Retail Industry Report
The Global Appeal • 1/3 of all international visitors to the U.S. engage in an historic activity • the international cultural traveler’s length of state is just over 3 nights longer than general international visitors to the U.S. Source: Americans for the Arts 2007; Tourism Industries, US Dept of Commerce
Non-local Audiences Spend 2x More • Survey of 95,000 visitors to arts and cultural events shows appeal, interest and impact Source: Americans for the Arts
Destination Immersion & Impact • Engage in all types of activities: • Place to eat • Place to shop • Place to tour • Place to sleep • Visitor services • Transportation Source: Americans for the Arts
General Trends in Tourism • Increased competition, increased demand • Different types of destination, different return on investment • Homogenization of product forcing destinations to define “unique selling proposition” • Pressure to balance visitor needs with resident desires, environmental impact
Trend 1: Survival = Store, Door, More • Creative solutions to increase visitation, cut costs, enhance service • More interactive programming, experiences for all ages • Focus on local, regional residents, VFR • New Survival Kit profiles creative Cultural Heritage Tourism strategies: www.preservationnation.org/survival-toolkit
Trend 2: Regional Partnerships • Thematic trails to increase capacity, critical mass to encourage “linger longer” • Multi-day, multi-destination itineraries – no boundaries, no borders = seamless travel experiences • Non-traditional partners, cross-marketing strategies
Trend 3: Designation Branding • Heritage Areas • Scenic Byways • Distinctive Destinations • Preserve America Communities • Capitals/ European Cities of Culture • World Heritage Sites • Geoparks
Trend 4: Immersive Storytelling • Focus on major events, commemorations as “hook” • Rotate exhibits, profile different programs to attract repeat visitors • Integration into whole experience • Viral, social media
Sustainable Cultural Heritage Tourism • Competitive advantage for destinations • Increases local benefit • Focuses on long-term ROI • Opportunity for collaboration and to leverage partnerships • Demand for authentic experiences rising among high-valued visitors
Sustainable Cultural Heritage Tourism Development Balance of Benefits: Resident, Resource, Visitor
Five Guiding Principles • Collaborate • Preserve & Protect Resources • Make Sites & Programs Come Alive • Find the Fit between Community & Tourism • Focus on Authenticity and Quality Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation
Managing Cultural Heritage Tourism Programs An Integrated Approach • Tourism DMOs • Planning Offices, Architects • Transportation Agencies • Marketing Departments • Preservation & Conservation Agencies • Interpretation Programs (Arts & Humanities) • Recreation & Parks • Business & Finance • Government/ Elected Officials
For more information: Cheryl Hargrove cheryl@HargroveInternational.com www.HargroveInternational.com