CULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM - Americans For The Arts

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CULTURALHERITAGETOURISMwww.livable.org

ABOUT PARTNERSFOR LIVABLECOMMUNITIESPartners for Livable Communities is a non-profitleadership organization working to improve thelivability of communities by promoting qualityof life, economic development, and social equity.Since its founding in 1977, Partners has helpedcommunities set a common vision for the future,discover and use new resources for communityand economic development, and build public/private coalitions to further their goals. For moreinformation visit www.livable.org2 Cultural Heritage Tourism

Table of ContentsINTRODUCTIONCULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM 51CULTURAL HERITAGE AS INTERPRETATION 102PARTNERS’ COMMUNITY BUILDING APPROACH TOCULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM 143CULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISM ABROAD 254Heritage Tourism for All 285How to Create a Local Cultural HeritageTourism Development Plan: Partners’Experience in Washington, DC 346Model Experiences in Cultural HeritageTourism from Across the United States 39Endnotes 62Copyright 2014Partners for Livable Communities1429 21st Street, NWWashington, DC 20036www.livable.orgCo-writersRobert McNultyRussell KoffPhoto CreditsCover: Stuart MonkInside Cover: Kim SeidlCultural Heritage Tourism 3

FORWARDOn our 35th year as an organization helping to empower communities with the tools to put them onthe map as leaders in livability, Partners for Livable Communities is pleased to present this updatedpublication on cultural heritage tourism.As the tourism industry has boomed in the decades since Partners for Livable Communities began itscultural heritage tourism initiatives, communities have become increasingly eager to find ways attracttourists and capture the dollars they bring with them. However, when hard times come, it can be achallenge to persuade those among us of the benefits of preserving culture, heritage, and their artifactsfrom the past.“Tourism is tooimportant a resourceto be left to the tourismprofessionals. Tourismneeds to be part of acommunity mobilizationstrategy that can reinventthe role of heritage sothat it serves the needs ofeveryone.”Bob McNultyPresident, Partners for Livable CommunitiesThis guide represents the culmination of our experience andknowledge on an issue that has such a great potential forcommunity development. More than three decades ago, someof the first initiatives in which Partners engaged focused onidentifying and leveraging local cultural assets as tourismdrivers. Our keystone program dating to the late 1970’s calledCulture Builds Communities, a collaborative effort with theNational Endowment for the Arts, the National League of Cities,the US Conference of Mayors and other groups, is an exampleof such an initiative. Partners continued to outline its approachto small-scale tourism development oriented around uniquecultural and natural assets in a 1990 article I wrote in the Journalof Tourism Management. The article laid forth Partners’ beliefthat small-scale tourism is often far more beneficial to localeconomies than the rapid expansion of massive resort enclavesthat dominate many tourism-dependent regions.With this publication, our hope is todemonstrate how cultural heritageis not just something to preservefor future generations, but is in factan asset that can be leveraged tobring real economic benefits to thecommunity.Sincerely,Little Italy in New York City. Little Italy and Chinatown were listed in a single historicdistrict on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo credit: SeanPavonePhoto.4 Cultural Heritage TourismBob McNulty

INTRODUCTION TOCULTURAL HERITAGE TOURISMTourism — A Big and Growing BusinessBefore delving into cultural heritage tourism, one must first understand how tourism in general can act asa driver for community revitalization.Tourism is a huge business both in the United States and the world over. In the US, tourists take morethan a billion trips each year, and the tourist industry is one of the top three industries by number of jobsin 29 states. The US Travel Association estimates that in 2011 foreign and domestic tourists spent 813billion on travel-related expenditures in the United States. According to the organization, this spendingdirectly supported 7.5 million jobs and generated 124 billion in tax revenue.Around the world, tourism is booming as well. The UN World Tourism Organization announced thearrival of the one billionth tourist in 2012. According to the organization, tourist arrivals have climbedremarkably from 674 million in 2000 to 980 million in 2011.2 The economic impact of this activityis likewise significant: tourism is directly responsible for five percent of the world’s GDP, and thesector employs one out of every 12 people in advanced and emergingeconomies alike.Tourism by the Numbers Tourism is directly responsiblefor 5% of the world’s GDP.The tourist sector employs 1 outof every 12 people around theworld, and 1 out of 8 in the US.In the US, tourists spend morethan 800 billion each year.2.7% of US GDP can beattributed to travel and tourism.Travel is among the top 10industries in 48 states and theDistrict of Columbia.1Importantly, in the last several decades, along with its scale, the natureof tourism has also changed. As social and technological changes madetourism more affordable and accessible for millions of people, theonce-traditional and long-awaited family summer vacation to the shorebecame just one option among many that beckon all year round.In the first version of this guide, Partners summed up the ongoingchanges in tourism by noting that tourism wasn’t simply tourismanymore. It had become: “a form of developmental, leisure, andfamily bonding that occurs around the framework of visiting placesthat are not in your normal neighborhood. [I]t is lifestyle, economicdevelopment, and family values. It is a discovery of self, both physicallyand intellectually.”This shift in tourism from relaxation to self-discovery is reflected in the explosion of niche marketdesignations within the tourism industry. The more widely known include adventure tourism, culinarytourism, religious tourism, ecotourism, sustainable tourism, and educational tourism. Cultural heritagetourism is one of the fastest growing specialty markets in the industry today.Cultural Heritage Tourism 5

Cultural Heritage TourismAs the term implies, cultural heritage tourism involves visiting places that are significant to the past orpresent cultural identity of a particular group of people. In the United States, America’s rich history hascreated a vibrant and complex patchwork of cultural heritages. Americans are accustomed to an array ofcompound identities—African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Irish Americans, ItalianAmericans, Native Americans—that jointly indicate the communities from which they come and thenation they now share.While this lively history has long been honored in festivals and parades, cultural heritage goes deeperthan merely an occasion for celebration. Cultural heritage encompasses what a particular group of peoplehas in common that makes them different from others. At a broad level, there is an American culture thathelps to define all Americans, but there are also a host of different traditions that shape a range of moredistinct cultural backgrounds. For newer immigrants, this heritage is rooted in the language, customs andpractices brought over from their respective countries of origin. But for Americans whose families havebeen here for generations, cultural heritage comesfrom the history and experiences these groups haveU.S. Cultural Heritage Tourism Destinationsshared over the years. Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CAThe Capitol Arts Center Theater, Bowling Green, KYWashington State’s Heritage ToursMuseum of African American History, Boston, MAItalian Heritage Parade, San Francisco, CAChaco Culture National Historical Park, New MexicoSavannah Historic District, Savannah, GAThe Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library – Indianapolis,IndianaSmithtown Historical Society, Long Island, NYScandinavian Festival, Junction City, ORDistrict of ColumbiaWhile music, movies and other media help tell someof the stories about different cultures and heritages,there is still much to be learned about the experiencesof the many communities that make up the UnitedStates.Cultural heritage tourism provides an opportunity forpeople to experience their culture in depth, whetherby visiting attractions, historical or culturally relevantplaces, or by taking part in cultural activities. Asit is strictly defined by the National Association ofState Arts Agencies, “cultural heritage tourism is based on the mosaic of places, traditions, art forms,celebrations and experiences that portray this nation and its people, reflecting the diversity and characterof the United States.”3 Put another way, the National Trust for Historic Preservation defines cultural heritage tourism as “travel toexperience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the pastand present, including cultural historic and natural resources.”6 Cultural Heritage Tourism

Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Photo credit: Sumikophoto.Travelers who are interested in cultural heritage tourism would visit or take part in any of the following: Historical attractions, monuments, or landmarksMuseums, art galleries, or theatersFestivals, concerts, or performancesCulturally significant neighborhoods or communitiesTourists who are interested in cultural heritage generally want to learn something about the beliefs andpractices—and the struggles and successes—that shaped the shared identity of a people. Some of thesetourists may share a degree of ancestry with the people whose history they are interested in.As far as its scale, there is no doubt that interest in cultural heritage tourism is already strong and growingstronger. Recent studies have shown that 78% of US tourists take part in a cultural heritage activity whiletraveling (more than the number that report visiting friends or family while traveling).4From a certain view, cultural heritage tourists might be thought of as amateur ethnographers. But whilethey are interested in learning about other cultures, they are first and foremost tourists. Cultural heritagetourists travel to experience other cultures and learn about the past, but they do so as tourists and not asspecialists. While some of their interests differ from those of more recreational tourists, cultural heritageCultural Heritage Tourism 7

“Partners’ definition ofcultural heritage tourism:The coordinated andmutually supportiveapplication of cultural,heritage and touristresources for theimprovement of the overallquality of community life.”tourists have the same need for amenities such as restaurantsand hotels that the tourist economy as a whole depends upon.Though this is good news for the communities that wish toreap the economic benefits of tourism, what is even betternews is that cultural heritage tourists are known to havehigher incomes and bring more resources to the communitiesthey visit than other types of tourists. Studies have shownthat cultural heritage tourists are more frequent travelers, are more likely to travel farther to get theexperiences they want, and spend more money than the average tourist.5 In addition to these findings,a report issued in 2003 by the Travel Industry Association of America on the characteristics of culturalheritage tourists also found that for the majority of cultural heritage tourists, a specific historic or culturalactivity or event was a main reason for at least one trip in the past year, and 40% of them added extra timeto their trip because of an historic or cultural activity.Cultural Heritage Tourism During Tough Economic TimesWell-planned and implemented culture heritage tourism development projects can have significanteconomic and social benefits, some of which are assessed in the next chapter. But how are these potentialreturns affected by an adverse economic climate? The effects of a deep recession on employment,discretionary income and consumer confidence cause tourists to reduce the number of trips they take andthe amount of money they spend. Similarly, tough economic times tend to dry up the financial resourcesavailable from government, private sector and nonprofit sources to support cultural heritage tourismprojects. While these factors make it difficult to develop and promote cultural heritage tourism, there arethings communities can do even in such circumstances.The decline in trips to destination magnets such as New York City or Disney World can createopportunities for lesser-known and less-expensive attractions. Many tourists “trade down” during arecession and take trips closer to where they live. Communities might benefit from this by doing more topromote their attributes to local regions that are within a day’s drive.Communities that are trying to develop new attractions instead of improving the marketing of existingones might be reassured by the fact that much of what needs to be done at the initial stages does not haveto be financially onerous. For example, before designing a project, the community should inventory itsexisting cultural assets and tourist infrastructure. Much of this activity can be done as a service project orby other groups of volunteers.Partners’ emphasis on community building as a central aspect of cultural heritage tourism takes on aparticular urgency during an economic downturn. In tough economic times, collaborative participation byeveryone in the community is especially necessary to make the most out of what resources exist. Whilethe argument is developed in greater detail in the next chapter, Partners believes that communities aremost successful in developing cultural heritage attractions as a way to improve their quality of life whenthey do so in a way that strengthens the community at the same time.8 Cultural Heritage Tourism

SummaryThe features, significance, and economic potential of cultural heritage tourists have been widelyrecognized, and they form a standard part of the thinking and approach of numerous municipal andstate development organizations across the country. At the national level, a coalition of agencies andorganizations called Partners in Tourism provides information on cultural heritage tourism. Morecommercially, members of the tourism industry formed the Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance topromote this type of travel.As the market for cultural heritage tourism activities expanded, differences in perspective emergedbetween some nonprofit and for-profit practitioners. Most often, tourism professionals tend to focuson developing tourism resources in ways that enhance the tourists’ experience. Given that the tourismindustry is in the business of selling tourism to tourists, this focus makes obvious sense. But fromPartners’ perspective, cultural heritage tourism is “too important to be left to tourism professionals.”Partners defines cultural heritage tourism as “the coordinated and mutually supportive application ofcultural, heritage and tourist resources for the improvement of the overall quality of community life.”This definition puts the interests of the community at the center of cultural heritage tourism. Partnersrecognizes the importance of high-quality tourist amenities, and it views cultural heritage tourism as animportant way to bring economic resources into the community. But unlike many other practitioners,Partners emphasizes the interplay between building community and developing resources to attractcultural heritage tourists.Cultural Heritage Tourism 9

1 CULTURAL HERITAGE AS INTERPRETATIONPartners for Livable Communities’ philosophy of cultural heritage tourism asks communities to take afresh look at their existing cultural assets and to find ways to re-imagine them as heritage resources thatcommunity members and visitors alike will embrace. The key takeaway of this approach is that relics ofthe past can find ways of being relevant today, and that communities need not spend millions of dollarscreating new landmarks when they can find ways to highlight the ones that they already have.All too often, when most tourism promoters think of “cultural” tourism, or “heritage” tourism, the imagesthat come to mind are of lonely historical museums, vacant of visitors or activity. Nondescript plaquesor small monuments to long-ago historical figures are also commonly thought of as the only instrumentsto highlight cultural heritage. If this is the case, then it’s no surprise that most local policymakerswould prefer to invest in a shiny new water park rather than in showcasing the cultural heritage of theircommunity!However, “cultural heritage” is not only highlighted at museums or through plaques on old buildings—infact, this is hardly the case. The Partners approach to cultural heritage tourism shows how communitiescan creatively interpret their heritage assets and thus move beyond the “historic signboards” written byhistorians and bespeaking solely historic value. Instead, communities can move toward contemporaryvalues—those meanings selected by lay citizens who value a given historic place. In this way, forwardthinking communities of today are finding ways to truly engage with their residents around the heritageassets that everyone shares.Interpreting the Past Creates Attachment to the PresentBefore discussing some examples of groundbreaking heritage tourism initiatives, it is important tounderstand the value that creative interpretation can bring to those communities that embrace it.What Partners believes, and what recent studies are showing, is that effectively highlighting the cultureand heritage of a place cultivates attachment to that place, and thus makes people want to settle inthat area and lay their roots down. As explained in the previous section, heritage assets can includea wide variety of community amenities including, parks, squares, plazas, and historically preservedneighborhoods. It is in these places that the renewal of American cities are taking place today, and cultureand heritage are at the heart of this renewal. More and more, residents want to preserve the communitygathering places that existed in the past, places that provide the nodes of community exchange and thatthus hold the most value to their cities.A recent report from the Knight Foundation makes a compelling argument for exactly the sort of valuethat this type of attachment can bring to communities that are able to cultivate it. In its 2010 report, TheKnight Soul of the Community, the foundation set out to measure, along with the Gallup Organization, thelevels of “community attachment” that exist in a wide network of cities across the United States.10 Cultural Heritage Tourism

Local Plaque Initiative. Godstow, UK. Photo credit: Partners for LivableCommunities.According to the report, “Communityattachment is an emotional connection to aplace that transcends satisfaction, loyalty, andeven passion. A community’s most attachedresidents have strong pride in it, a positiveoutlook on the community’s future, and asense that it is the perfect place for them. Theyare less likely to want to leave than residentswithout this emotional connection. They feel abond to their community that is stronger thanjust being happy about where they live.”In evaluating “attachment,” the report surveyed hundreds of residents in 20 communities, asking about thesorts of resources that make them want to put down roots and build a life. What they found was that thereare consistent elements that almost always led to strong attachment, such as an area’s physical beauty –itsnatural setting but also the attractiveness of its architecture and the preservation of its historic open spacesand buildings.Most significantly, the Knight Foundation report demonstrates that in communities where local“attachment” is higher, local GDP

compound identities—African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Native Americans—that jointly indicate the communities from which they come and the nation they now sh

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