Cultural tourism: A review of recent research and trends (2022)

Table of Contents
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management Abstract Introduction Section snippets Major themes in the literature Emerging trends and future directions in cultural tourism research Conclusions Conflict of interest Funding References (120) Annals of Tourism Research Tourism Management Annals of Tourism Research Annals of Tourism Research Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management Annals of Tourism Research Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management Annals of Tourism Research Journal of Cultural Heritage Tourism Management Tourism Management Tourism Management Annals of Tourism Research Annals of Tourism Research Tourism Management Annals of Tourism Research Maintaining authenticity and integrity at cultural world heritage sites Geographical Review Cultural tourism Artists, tourists, and the state: Cultural tourism and the flamenco industry in Andalusia, Spain International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Olive oil tourism: Promoting rural development in Andalusia (Spain) Tourism Management Perspectives Tourism, cultural activities and sustainability in the Spanish mediterranean regions: A probit approach Tourism & Management Studies The effect of Hallyu on tourism in Korea Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity Moving to meet and Make: Rethinking creativity in making things take place Motivation, satisfaction and loyalty in the case of a film festival: Differences between local and non-local participants Journal of Cultural Economics Cultural tourism behaviour and preferences among the live-performing arts audience: An application of the univorous–omnivorous framework International Journal of Tourism Research Mouthful Hungary–overview of Hungarian cuisine and culinary tourism Geography and Tourism Tourism and identity-related motivations: why am I here (and not there)? International Journal of Tourism Research Managing quality cultural tourism Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste Synergies between Australian indigenous tourism and ecotourism: Possibilities and problems for future development Journal of Sustainable Tourism The market for cultural tourism in Europe Travel and Tourism Analyst Práticas de visitação nas vinícolas da Serra Gaúcha: Unindo vitivinicultura e turismo no sul do Brasil Revista Turismo Em Análise Creative tourism: A preliminary examination of creative tourists' motivation, experience, perceived value and revisit intention International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research Cultural tourism as tourist segment for reducing seasonality in a coastal area: The case study of Andalusia Current Issues in Tourism Interaction ritual chains From tourist motivations to tourist satisfaction International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research Cultural tourism and temporary art exhibitions in Italy: A panel data analysis Statistical Methods & Applications Tourism and intangible cultural heritage Cultural tourism Ordering, materiality, and multiplicity: Enacting actor–network theory in tourism Tourist Studies Transmodernity and interculturality: An interpretation from the perspective of philosophy of liberation Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World Tourists at the Taj: Performance and meaning at a symbolic site Tracking the urban visitor: Methods for examining tourists' spatial behaviour and visual representations Creative economy policy in developing countries: The case of Indonesia Urban Studies Contextualizing Falk's identity-related visitor motivation model Visitor Studies Cultural planning and creative tourism in an emerging tourist destination International Journal of Management Cases Cited by (254) Traveler Pro-social Behaviors at Heritage Tourism Sites Recommended articles (6) FAQs Videos
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Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Volume 36,

September 2018

, Pages 12-21

Abstract

This review article traces the development of cultural tourism as a field of research over the past decade, identifying major trends and research areas. Cultural tourism has recently been re-affirmed by the UNWTO as a major element of international tourism consumption, accounting for over 39% of tourism arrivals. Cultural tourism research has also grown rapidly, particularly in fields such as cultural consumption, cultural motivations, heritage conservation, cultural tourism economics, anthropology and the relationship with the creative economy. Major research trends include the shift from tangible to intangible heritage, more attention for indigenous and other minority groups and a geographical expansion in the coverage of cultural tourism research. The field also reflects a number of ‘turns’ in social science, including the mobilities turn, the performance turn and the creative turn. The paper concludes with a number of suggestions for future research directions, such as the development of trans-modern cultures and the impacts of new technologies.

Introduction

Culture and tourism have always been inextricably linked. Cultural sights, attractions and events provide an important motivation for travel, and travel in itself generates culture. But it is only in recent decades that the link between culture and tourism has been more explicitly identified as a specific form of consumption: cultural tourism.

The emergence of cultural tourism as a social phenomenon and as an object of academic study can be traced back to the surge in post-World War 2 leisure travel. In Europe, travel helped to increase cultural understanding as well as rebuild shattered economies. As incomes and consumption continued to rise in the 1960s and 1970s, so did international travel, and the consumption of culture. By the 1980s the flow of international tourists to major sites and attractions began to attract enough attention for the label ‘cultural tourism’ to be attached to an emerging niche market. Early academic studies of cultural tourism also surfaced at this time, and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO, as it was then) produced its first definition of the phenomenon. In the early 1990s the first estimate of the size of this ‘new’ marketalso emerged (at 37% of all international tourism) and were attributed to the WTO, even though Bywater (1993) comments that it was not clear how this estimate was derived.

Interest in cultural tourism continued to grow throughout the 1980s and 1990s, driven by the ‘heritage boom’ (Hewison, 1987), the growth of international and domestic travel and the identification of cultural tourism as a ‘good’ form of tourism that would stimulate the economy and help conserve culture (Richards, 2001). The beginning of the 1990s indicates a period of transformation of cultural tourism which, unlike the original orientation towards elite clientele, found a new opportunity for development in the orientation towards the mass market. Cultural tourism became a well-established phenomenon in many tourism destinations, and was increasingly the target of academic research. The first textbooks on cultural tourism began to emerge (Ivanovic, 2008; Smith, 2003) and a growing range of research papers appeared, linked to many different theoretical and methodological approaches (Richards & Munsters, 2010, Smith & Richards, 2013).

Growth in cultural tourism was also marked by fragmentation into a number of emerging niches, such as heritage tourism, arts tourism, gastronomic tourism, film tourism and creative tourism. Just as an expanding notion of culture had helped to stimulate the growth of cultural tourism in the 1990s, so the fragmentation of the cultural tourism concept itself helped to produce a surge in the proportion of publications dedicated to the field. Growth also brought its own challenges, and by 2013 Boniface was already signalling problems with the overcrowding of World Heritage Sites, a phenomenon that is now being linked with the idea of ‘overtourism’. The problems being encountered with the conservation of tangible heritage and the growing desire of tourists for new experiences also helped to focus attention on the role of intangible heritage in tourism (Du Cros, 2012).

The changing nature of cultural tourism was recently brought into focus by a UNWTO Report on Tourism and Culture Synergies (2018), which included online surveys covering 43% of UNWTO Member States as well as 61 international experts and academics in the field. This study confirmed the importance of the cultural tourism, with 89% of national tourism administrations indicating that cultural tourism was part of their tourism policy. The respondents also indicated that they expected further growth in cultural tourism in the following five years. The research also for the first time provided empirical support for the original estimates of the size of the cultural tourism market. This was estimated to account for over 39% of all international tourism arrivals, or the equivalent of around 516 million international trips in 2017. This provides an apparent vindication of the long quoted, but largely unsubstantiated estimate that cultural tourism accounts for 40% of global tourism (Bywater, 1993). The crucial point, however, is how cultural tourism is defined – a debate that has raged for a long time (Allen etal., 2015; Du Cros & McKercher, 2014; Richards, 1996).

Cultural tourism was also one of the types of tourism that received a new operational definition from the UNWTO at the 22nd Session of the General Assembly held in Chengdu, China (UNWTO, 2017: 18):

Cultural tourism is a type of tourism activity in which the visitor's essential motivation is to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions/products in a tourism destination.

These attractions/products relate to a set of distinctive material, intellectual, spiritual and emotional features of a society that encompasses arts and architecture, historical and cultural heritage, culinary heritage, literature, music, creative industries and the living cultures with their lifestyles, value systems, beliefs and traditions.

This new definition confirms the much broader nature of contemporary cultural tourism, which relates not just to sites and monuments, but to ways of life, creativity and ‘everyday culture’. As the UNWTO (2018) report emphasises, the field of cultural tourism has moved away from the previous emphasis on classic western tangible heritage towards a much broader and inclusive field of diverse cultural practices in all corners of the world. In this sense the new definition mirrors the development of the production and consumption of cultural tourism, as well as the development of academic research on cultural tourism. It is impossible in such a brief review to do justice to the increasing breadth and diversity of cultural tourism research, but it is hoped that at least some of the main themes can be traced.

Section snippets

Major themes in the literature

The growing body of cultural tourism scholarship is confirmed by a literature search on the term “cultural tourism” on Google Scholar. As Fig.1 indicates, cultural tourism sources have risen from less than 100 in 1990 to over 6000 in 2016. Growth was particularly sharp between 2005 and 2015, and cultural tourism publications have risen as a proportion of all tourism publications, to reach nearly 5% by 2017. This growth has also been supported by a number of flourishing sub-themes in the field.

Emerging trends and future directions in cultural tourism research

This necessarily limited review of cultural tourism research over the past decade or so reflects many of the trends that are outlined in the UNWTO Report on Tourism and Culture Synergies (2018). The many academics who responded to the UNWTO survey not only underlined the growth of cultural tourism over the five years previous to the survey, but almost overwhelmingly concluded that cultural tourism would continue to grow in future.

In some ways this is perhaps not surprising, since the growth of

Conclusions

This brief review has underlined the rapid growth in cultural tourism scholarship, which has developed into a well-defined field encompassing multi-disciplinary perspectives. The optimism expressed in the future growth of cultural tourism demand in the UNWTO report (2018) makes it almost certain that this field will continue to expand. In some senses, this growth may undermine the coherence of cultural tourism as an object of study, as lines of enquiry continue to diverge, tracing the

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest in the research in this manuscript.

Funding

No funding was obtained for this research.

Greg Richards is Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda University and Professor of Leisure Studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He has published widely in the fields of cultural and creative tourism, and his recent books include the SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies (2017) and Small Cities with Big Dreams: Creative Placemaking and Branding Strategies (2018).

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    FAQs

    How does tourism affect culture? ›

    Culture is increasingly an important element of the tourism product, which creates distinctiveness in a crowded global marketplace. At the same time, tourism provides an important means of enhancing culture and creating income which can support and strengthen cultural heritage, cultural production and creativity.

    What is cultural tourism article? ›

    Cultural tourism is the idea that a place's cultural perception has enough value to make it a destination for travel. Communities characterized by a high level of cultural development are usually associated with a high level of satisfaction about living conditions and wealth.

    What is the meaning of cultural tourism? ›

    According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, cultural tourism is “movements of persons for essentially cultural motivations such as study tours, performing arts and cultural tours, travel to festivals and other cultural events, visits to sites and monuments, travel to study nature, folklore or art, and ...

    What is cultural tourism PDF? ›

    tourism which includes "movements of persons for essentially cultural motivations such. as study tours, performing arts and cultural tours, travel to festivals and other cultural. events, visits to sites and monuments, travel to study nature, folklore or art, and. pilgrimages".

    Why is cultural tourism important? ›

    Cultural tourism is important for many reasons. Perhaps the most prominent reason is the social impact that it brings. Cultural tourism can help reinforce identities, enhance cross cultural understanding and preserve the heritage and culture of an area.

    What is cultural tourism essay? ›

    Cultural tourism is defined as the enhancement of interaction between different cultures. The travellers can share values on the same platform through visiting natural and cultural resources, historically preserved places, museums and other history values.

    What is the history of cultural tourism? ›

    Cultural tourism began to be recognized as a distinct product category in the late 1970s when tourism marketers and tourism researchers realized that some people traveled specifically to gain a deeper understanding of the culture or heritage of a destination (Tighe, 1986).

    How does cultural tourism benefit the community? ›

    It helps promote tolerance between people as they learn and better understand each other's cultures. Preserving heritage. Tourism can help protect and finance the preservation of historic and cultural sites, and even prompt the creation of new community initiatives.

    How can we develop cultural tourism? ›

    The basic precondition for successful cultural tourism is to produce a meaningful and relevant strategy to valorise the cultural heritage. An acceptable marketing strategy aimed at such a goal could bring about the revival and long-term development and competitive advantages of a whole region.

    How does tourism preserve culture? ›

    Tourism brings together people from different backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. Tourists share their experiences and memories about places they visited and people they met, which helps promote peace and tolerance.

    What is social and cultural impacts of tourism? ›

    Social and cultural impacts of tourism are the ways in which tourism is contributing to changes in value systems, individual behaviour, family relationships, collective life styles, moral conduct, creative e expressions, traditional ceremonies and community organization.

    What are the impacts of culture? ›

    In addition to its intrinsic value, culture provides important social and economic benefits. With improved learning and health, increased tolerance, and opportunities to come together with others, culture enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities.

    Does culture affect tourism demand? ›

    The results show that while there is a negative relationship between cultural distance and tourism demand, tourism demand is less sensitive to change in cultural distance; the popularity of a travel route moderates the effect of cultural distance on tourism demand; and the influence of cultural distance is different ...

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    Phone: +9958384818317

    Job: IT Representative

    Hobby: Scrapbooking, Hiking, Hunting, Kite flying, Blacksmithing, Video gaming, Foraging

    Introduction: My name is Jamar Nader, I am a fine, shiny, colorful, bright, nice, perfect, curious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.