Friday, June 22, 2007

Promoting cultural & heritage tourism

Departments and agencies of the federal government and a number of travel-related organizations in the private sector are working together and separately to persuade Americans and visitors from abroad to visit the nation's cultural and historic treasures. There have been successes and disappointments along the way, but the effort has encouraged cultural and heritage initiatives across the country. Cultural and heritage travel differs from other mass-market tourism, noted a position paper released at the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Summit in Washington, D.C., last October. The document defines the segment as unique, authentic and a one of a kind, non-cookie-cutter experience. "Consumers "don't want it (cultural and heritage travel) packaged, noted another summit paper by New York University's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality. "They are after experiences" such as sampling local food, learning about ethnic groups and visiting museums, according to a study released at the summit. "They don't want 'generica.'" Earlier studies by the Travel Industry Association noted that cultural and heritage tourists say longer and spend more than other travelers.