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Cultural Heritage Tourism

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Tourism is big business.  In 2010, travel and tourism directly contributed $759 billion to the U.S. economy.  Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest employers, directly employing more than 7.4 million people and creating a payroll income of $188 billion, and $118 billion in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments.  (Source: U. S. Travel Association, 2011)

In addition to creating new jobs, new business and higher property values, well-managed tourism improves the quality of life and builds community pride.  According to a 2009 national research study on U.S. Cultural and Heritage Travel by Mandela Research, 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling translating to 118.3 million adults each year.  Cultural and heritage visitors spend, on average, $994 per trip compared to $611 for all U.S. travelers.  Perhaps the biggest benefits of cultural heritage tourism, though, are diversification of local economies and preservation of a community’s unique character. (Source: Cultural & Heritage Traveler Study, Mandela Research, LLC)

This research section includes information about a number of cultural heritage tourism research projects in different parts of the U.S.  Click on the links in the left-hand margin to find out more about the research that others have done to demonstrate the economic impact of cultural heritage tourism in their area, or research to find out more about cultural heritage travelers.


2011 Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation

Advisory Council for Historic Preservation


2010 Cultural Heritage Traveler Report

U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries


2010 Cultural Heritage Traveler Profile (TI News)


2009 U.S. Cultural & Heritage Travel Study (Press Release)


Studies on the Economic Impacts of Heritage Tourism (by state)


Measuring Economic Impact in National Heritage Areas using the Revised Money Generation Model (MGM2)


Cultural Heritage Visitor Profile


Spending by Arts Audiences


Economic Impact of the Arts


The Creative Industries in Denver


NPS Report:

Trends in Demographics and Information Technology Affecting Visitor Center Use


Study of 2005 Hurricane Season Impacts on Tourism


Vermont Study on Cultural Heritage Tourism


Charting a Future for National Heritage Areas:

A Report by the National Park System Advisory Board


The Arts Work in North Carolina


The Artful Traveler Cultural Tourism in North Carolina

Heritage Tourism Video
(Video courtesy of Georgia Council for the Arts and its partners, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Southern
Arts Federation. Copyright 2005)


Click here to link to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies links to each state's most recent study on the Economic Impact of the Arts and Culture(This listing is updated when each new study becomes available.)


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