In recent years, Cultural Tourism has become a major element of international tourism consumption – accounting for 40% of outbound travellers’ intentions. It is one of the most desired development options for travel destinations the world over.
What is Cultural Tourism?
‘Cultural Tourism’ refers to “visits by travelers 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-related tourists have been shown to spend more than standard tourists. This creates an opportunity for destinations and hotels; by collaborating with cultural spots and highlighting cultural areas that are nearby, they can attract cultural tourists to their location.
Example One: Kenya’s Cultural Manyattas
Manyatta is a settlement in Kenya’s Eastern Province where the Maasai people inhabit the African Great Lakes region. They are cattle farmers, and have also been creating beaded jewellery which is an important part of their culture.
The African Conservation Centre, a stakeholder of the Amboseli Ecosystem Plan, has thus implemented activities to improve the income of the Maasai people accrued from tourism.
Its “Cultural Manyatta” is a co-operative where each group has a central market to sell their handicrafts.
Tourists pay a fee and are welcomed with song and dance by Maasai women. A resident guide will then show visitors around the Manyattas to witness Maasai life. Towards the end of a visit, their warriors stage a dance, where visitors are welcome to join in.
Example Two: Barcelona’s Cultural Exploration Card
21% of all foreign tourists come to Barcelona for the purpose of exploring culture, the second largest after leisure holidaymakers.
A few years ago, Barcelona Tourism Board introduced the “Barcelona Card” – offering tourists unlimited free travel on city transport, airport trains, free entry to museums, exclusive deals and discounts, etc.
Each year, Turisme de Barcelona stages 400 promotional activities, selected and launch according to respective target market segmentation and classifications of tourists coming from major source countries. There are ‘Walking Tours’, ‘Gourmet Routes’, and more for cultural tourists to explore!
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