Cultural tourism is playing a key role in driving economic growth for many countries. According to Yahoo Finance, the cultural tourism market in Europe is “poised to grow by USD 3.77 billion during 2021-2025, progressing at a CAGR of almost 16.41% during the forecast period”. Cultural tourists are utilizing technology designed specifically for their cultural journeys with a host of new travel planning apps like Mappo that cater to this burgeoning market. 

What is ‘Cultural Tourism’ at Its Core? 

In layman’s terms, cultural tourism is the act of visiting particular destinations in order to experience them from a cultural perspective. Whether intentional or not, tourism provides endless opportunities to learn about the way other people live. This can mean that while you attend festivals, explore cities and their surroundings, and sample local food you will inevitably brush up against the local culture and traditions. So, as you join in the Holi festivities in Delhi, peruse the Great Wall of China, or chow down on some oysters on a Caribbean island, just know you are engaging in a form of cultural tourism.

So Who is a Cultural Tourist? 

As a cultural tourist, you may actually be a ‘consumer of cultural goods’ such as: ancient sites, historical buildings, or famous monuments. However, the term also pertains to travellers that are exposed to the history, heritage, and contemporary ways of a local people simply by the act of being in that locale. 

To define these types of travelers, it is important to understand their motivations when traveling. ‘Culturally interested tourists’ or ‘incidental cultural tourists’ visit cultural attractions as part of a vacation rather than consciously planning to do so. For example, they may go and visit a local fair, simply because it was in the town they stopped in to have lunch. ‘Culturally motivated tourists’ or ‘occasional cultural tourists’ focus on culture as a major part of their trip, but do not choose their destination on the basis of specific cultural experiences. This would be equivalent to planning to stop at the same fair, but doing so only because it’s on the way to your next AirBnB. ‘Culturally inspired tourists’ or ‘purposeful cultural tourists’ top the rest as they consider culture to be the main goal of their vacation. Following the fair example, they would plan to visit it and stay in the town for several days to reap the full cultural experience of the fair.

How Can You Cater to These Types of Tourists?

With tourists visiting destinations often just to see their local heritage, it is important to understand how to provide engaging, unique travel options. That’s why cultural tourism often comes in the form of a number of travel offerings that create a connected tourist experience. For example, heritage ‘goods’ such as historic buildings, literature, and art can often comprise sites or events on cultural thematic routes, cultural city tours, religious visits, and other types of trips. Whether a tourist is seeking a deep cultural experience or not, there are a wide range of activities that can be classified as cultural tourism and it is important for your destination to decide how best to maximize its cultural appeal. 

Sharon Epshtein is the Chief Marketing Officer at Mappo. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, advertising and PR in organizations and private companies, and CEO of her own digital marketing agency, Sharon joined Mappo as a co-founder and CMO in its early days. an award-winning culture-inspired travel application, Mappo is the world’s first user-generated cultural map, weaving journeys from local history, literature, art, architecture, iconic heroes, authors, heritage, pop culture, and any tangible and intangible culture. Mappo is a great way for Culture and Tourism professionals to promote their destination to millions of potential visitors – for free! To learn more about how Mappo can help promote your destination contact Sharon@mappo.world 

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