Cultural Tourism was all the “rage” in the mid to late 1980′s and it all began with the 1st International Cultural Tourism Conference in Washington, DC. (I attended).
Now the “buzz” is all about Economic Development and these folks are strategizing in their respective regions, towns, cities, and world capitals grappling with what “it” and how “it”, being Cultural Tourism, becomes an integral strategy in their Economic Development planning process.
There needs to be, in my opinion, an energized dialogue that moves beyond just talking about the numbers, (and, yes the numbers do drive votes and “politicians” all over the world), because, unless a meaningful change is made in the lives of the people in regions, towns, cities, and world capitals, we are not “doing” anything.
At the 1st International Cultural Tourism Conference in the mid ‘80’s the opening “salvo” was – “Tourism – we put “body’s in beds” – “Culture – we put “bottoms” in seats”…and WOW everyone at this conference was amazed at “our” common mission of what “it” is coming from both the Tourism and Culture industries. Both sectors have a lot in common!
This has not changed in 25 years.
Time to think “outside” the box – A G A I N !
I am a “Cultural Tourism” pioneer, and, a successful one too.
I also really, really, understand the “Economic Development” picture.
The Premier, of Britsh Columbia, Canada, has publically stated that by 2015 BC will double, yes, double its tourism footprint in BC with tourists visiting from “abroad”.
What do the projections look like on paper? Is it doable?
On paper the projections might look dubious and perhaps daunting, but, I believe doable.
Right now, this requires strategic planning.
Another beginning, but I say this with great presence of mind – this re-energizing needs to make a meaningful change in the lives of the people – afterall, they are the stakeholders.