The Changing Face of Tourism: Cultural Tourism
Cultural Tourism is defined by Wikipeda as " the subset of tourism oncerned with a country or region's culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those peoples, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life.
Sounds remarkably like the explanation in the 2006 Western Australia "What is Cultural Tourism?" paper which says:
Cultural tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole, including its:
• history and archaeology
• people and their lifestyle (including the ways in which they earn a living and enjoy their leisure)
• cultural diversity
• arts and architecture
• food, wine and other local produce
• social, economic and political structures
Not surprising really that the concept of Cutural Tourism has been around for a while as it puts emphasis on the content of what people do when they’re travelling, rather than how they actually get there and where they stay while they are there.
In recent times the short City break has been a popular means of participating is a spot of Cultural Tourism: cheap flight, cheap hotel, quick weekend spend zooming round museums, art galleries, parks and other attractions followed by 'dinner and a show', then back home to normality charged up by your 'cultural fix'.
But it is changing ..........
Greg Richards in his Tourism Research and Marketing repory from Barcelona says that Cutural Tourism has become one of the most desirable development options for countries around the world.
In order to understand the origins of creative tourism, we first have to look at the rise of culture as a form of tourism consumption. In the past, culture was not something strongly associated with tourism, which was viewed mainly as a leisure activity. In Europe, only small numbers of relatively wealthy people used to undertake cultural tours with specific educational goals – the vast majority saw holidays as time for rest and relaxation. This situation gradually changed during the 20th Century, as tourists became more experienced and started seeking new experiences on holiday and more places began to recognise the value of culture as a potential means of generating tourism.
What has changed in recent years though has been the approach to Cultural Tourism, with people now spending longer on their cultural vacation, which means that more and more cultural tourists are looking for holiday rental property accomodation, as they opt to make the cultural vacation their main annual holiday rather than a second, short break.
According to two surveys of tourists to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and on the Danish Island of Bornholm, hotels tend to be chosen by couples, visiting an area for the first time and staying a shorter period of 4-7 nights. They are also popular with foreigners. Holiday cottages and camping, on the other hand tend to be for larger groups, mainly families, probably on repeat visits and staying a longer period of 8-10 nights. (Sustainable Tourism Report ec.europa.eu)
- 50% expect small accommodation businesses run by locals;
- 45.6% want to go hiking by themselves and want to be furnished with good information;
- 41.2% expect local cuisine with local ingredients;
- 41.2% expect strong local hospitality; they want to feel welcome.
As our recent Market Trends Report showed, people are still prepared to spend money on a holiday, but they want to feel that they are getting good value, not wasting their time sitting around 'doing nothing', learning something, and above all relaxing and enjoying their surroundings, which is why so many people are now considering rental holiday homes as the base for their cultural vacation.