CULTURAL HERITAGE VISITOR PROFILE
growing number of visitors are becoming special-interest travelers
who rank the arts, heritage and/or other cultural activities
as one of the top five reasons for traveling. These visitors
are known as cultural tourists. Since 1998, the Travel Industry
Association of America (TIA) and Partners
in Tourism have collaborated
on research that illuminates the scope of this demographic
trend in travel. The fact sheet below summarizes key findings
in the latest report by TIA and Smithsonian Magazine, The
Historic/Cultural Traveler, 2003 Edition.
How many cultural tourists are there?
Nearly 118.1 million American adults
say they included at least one of fifteen arts, humanities, historic
or heritage activities
or events while traveling in 2002. This equates to more than
half of the U.S. adult population (56%). One quarter of these
cultural travelers take three or more of these trips per
year. In fact, historic/cultural travel volume is up 13 percent
1996, increasing from 192.4 million person-trips to 216.8
million person-trips in 2002.
What do we mean by cultural heritage tourism?
Cultural heritage tourism is based on
the mosaic of places, traditions, art forms, celebrations and experiences
portray this nation
and its people, reflecting the diversity and character
of the United States. Travelers who engage in cultural tourism
visit the following:
- art galleries, theater and museums
- historic sites, communities
- cultural events, festivals and fairs
- ethnic communities and
- architectural and archaeological treasures
Thirty percent or 35.3 million adults say
that a specific arts, cultural or heritage event or activity
choice of destination. In fact, many travelers will extend their
stay because of an arts, cultural or heritage event or activity.
Who are the cultural travelers?
Most cultural travelers want to enrich their lives with new
travel experiences. This is particularly true among
those aged 18-34,
75 percent of whom agreed that trips where they can
learn something new are more memorable to them.
- The demographic
profile of the cultural heritage travel segment today is
younger, wealthier, more educated and more
technologically savvy when compared to those surveyed in 1996.
- Generation X
and Y'ers (ages 18-34), are more apt than Matures aged 55+
to agree that trips where they can learn
something new are more memorable to them (75% vs. 63%).
- Households headed by
Baby Boomers (ages 35-54) are most likely (41%) to participate
in these activities.
How do cultural travelers compare to all U.S. travelers?
Eighty-one percent of the 146.4 million
U.S. adults who took a trip of 50 miles or more away from home
can be considered cultural tourists. Given this large
volume of travelers,
cultural/heritage tourism generates millions of dollars
for destination communities in spending on shopping,
expenses. This can be attributed in part to the fact
that cultural/heritage trips are likely to last seven
or longer. In a nutshell,
cultural tourists compared to the average U.S. traveler
more: $623 vs. $457
- Are older: 49 vs. 47
- Are more likely to be retired -- 20
percent vs. 16 percent
- Are more likely to have a graduate
degree: 21 percent vs. 19 percent
- Use a hotel, motel or B&B
-- 62 percent vs. 55 percent
- Are more likely to spend $1,000+/-:
19 percent vs. 12 percent
- Travel longer: 5.2 nights vs. 3.4
- Travel by air: 19 percent vs. 16 percent
Top Ten States Visited by Cultural/Historic
Travelers in 2002:
3) New York
5) Pennsylvania 6) Virginia
9) North Carolina
Sources: Travel Industry Association of America TravelScope survey 2003; The
Historic/Cultural Traveler, 2003 Edition, TIA and Smithsonian
NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS
LEVERAGE SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTMENT
As of November 2003, Congress has designated
24 National Heritage Areas, which are defined as places where "natural,
cultural, historic and recreational resources combine to form a
nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human
activity shaped by geography." These heritage areas represent
a significant component in the cultural heritage tourism infrastructure.
Each area creates a thematic story out of its natural, cultural
and historic resources, which are managed and interpreted by
the National Park Service through strategic public-private
partnerships. Anecdotal evidence has always indicated these
are effective in leveraging additional resources and investment.
A 2003 survey by the National Park Service Heritage Areas Program
shows that heritage areas have leveraged an impressive 8.7-to-1
match. The study's findings also reveal an impressive diversity
of sources, which includes federal Transportation Enhancement
funding, state and local government dollars and the private
sector (foundations, corporate and individuals) support.
Source: National Park Service Heritage Areas Program,
Park Service Heritage Areas Program, 2003 Transportation Enhancement
funds in particular have been a very flexible source
of funding for cultural and heritage tourism projects. Enhancement
funds not only provide support for the restoration of historic
properties and scenic byways, but also for interpretive materials
in the development of historic driving tours such Virginia's
Civil War Trails. For more information on Transportation Enhancements
and how they been used by the arts and heritage organizations
on the Past: Traveling to the Future, published
by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National
Assembly of State Arts
Agency’s Arts and Transportation:
Connecting People and Culture.
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