How To Get Started
Success Stories
About Us
Cultural Heritage Tourism

Made possible by the American Express Company.

Step 2 Handouts


1. CHT-The Big Questions -- This checklist outlines key questions to ask stakeholders.
-- download this handout


2. SWOT Self-Analysis Survey -- 10 questions designed to help evaluate strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
-- download this handout


3. Brainstorming the Dream -- Top 10 do's and don'ts to keep in mind when you are brainstorming your cultural heritage tourism dreams.
-- download this handout


4. Planning Session Taboos -- Ten "taboo" statements such as "we tried that before and it didn't work" or "we can't afford it."
-- download this handout


5. Creating a Vision -- Four different exercises to help a group set a common vision, ranging from traditional vision setting to creating a "vision ball" to using video.
-- download this exercise


6. Creating a Cultural Heritage Experience -- Questions and suggestions to turn your collection of resources into a CHT experience that will appeal to potential visitors.
-- download this handout


7. Handout:  Turning Information into Action -- Basics for strategic planning.
-- download this handout


8. Exercise:  Turning Information into Action -- Instructions to help you complete the sample action plan worksheet.
-- download this exercise


9. Sample Action Plan -- A fill-in-the-blank action planning worksheet.
-- download this handout


10. Best Practices: Kentucky Cultural Tourism Strategic Plan -- A case study about Kentucky's CHT strategic plan.
-- download this handout


11. Leadership -- 12 qualities for effective leadership.
-- download this handout


12. 10 Tips for Bottom Line Thinking -- Tips to help any organization adopt an entrepreneurial approach.
-- download this handout


13. Turning information into Action Kentucky -- instructions to help a group understand the CHT planning process by comparing it to preparing to win the Kentucky Derby.
-- download this exercise


This section supported by:


Plan and Organize

Make good use of human and financial resources. They are the keys that open the doors to sustainable cultural heritage tourism.

Human Resources
A community united can accomplish a lot; a community divided is not ready for cultural heritage tourism. So, begin to organize by building a local consensus that supports cultural heritage tourism.

  • Gain the support of local business people—of bankers, people in the travel industry, owners of restaurants and stores, operators of hotels and motels, for example. You need their expertise and enthusiasm. In fact, bring in all the movers and shakers you can—prominent families involved in the community, religious leaders, and other individuals who have influence and credibility.
  • Unite local government behind your efforts. From local government can come leadership, the establishment of arts and entertainment districts, preservation ordinances, design review boards, landmarks commissions and so forth.
  • Seek the backing of service organizations with strong membership bases and good track records on community projects.

Once you have solid community support, it’s time to organize. There are nearly as many ways to organize as there are organizations. Also, as your cultural heritage tourism program grows, you’ll need to reorganize, maybe more than once.

As you organize locally, reach out to organizations and people elsewhere who can supply additional expertise and resources. Make recruiting and developing leaders a key part of organizational management. Whether your heritage tourism program has paid staff or depends on volunteers, you need to bring along leaders who can stimulate the growth of the program and expand its opportunities.

When you reach out to tap new resources, consider:

  • Various state and national organizations, some public and some private, are good general sources of information about organizational development, tourism, preservation, the arts and other specialized topics. Many offer technical expertise in these areas and possible funding.
  • Regional sources offer different kinds of assistance. Regions can be as large as several states or as small as several counties within a state.

After you have established an organization—or committee of an existing organization— you can create a cultural heritage tourism mission, define goals and lay out specific objectives. Be sure to set reasonable timelines. The tendency is to underestimate how long it takes to organize a cultural heritage tourism effort, develop and enhance tourist attractions, achieve financial viability and reach new markets. Be realistic about time—and funding.

Financial Resources
The question of how to finance a cultural heritage tourism initiative has no easy answer, alas, and no single answer. Your goal is long-term, stable funding. Your chances of reaching it improve if you have built a strong local consensus, for then the problem of funding becomes one many people help solve.

Before you look for funding, draw up a financial plan. You need to know just how much money you’ll need for which projects, and when. Potential backers want to know exactly what they are supporting and how their contributions fit into your organization’s overall effort.

A good financial plan takes both hard and soft costs into account.

  • Hard costs, such as the cost of restoring a historic building, are the most obvious and easiest to estimate.
  • Just as important are the soft—but real—costs of staffing your organization, of interpreting and maintaining local sites, and of marketing.

Where can you look for funding? Here are some possibilities to explore: public funds, both grants and loans, available from federal, state and local governments; private establishments including corporations, foundations and nonprofit organizations, individuals for memberships, specific grants and endowments.

Hold fundraising drives, assess membership dues, or arrange house tours, art fairs or other special activities.

Your state may have funds for tourism, the arts, preservation, or economic development for which your organization could qualify.

Foundations and corporations fund activities in their area of interest. Listings can be found on the Internet or in your local library.

Ways to Build Support

  • Hold a town meeting
  • Write guest editorials for local newspapers
  • Send out surveys asking residents their opinions about tourism, culture and heritage goals and report the results to community leaders.
  • Set up focus groups or a task force with representatives from tourism, preservation, business, and other appropriate groups to study services needed and to brainstorm heritage tourism strategies.
  • Bring national experts to speak to local organizers about trends in cultural heritage tourism and economic opportunities.
  • Organize visits to OTHER towns or regions where local leaders can see firsthand results.
  • Bring speakers from other successful cultural heritage tourism efforts who can explain how to get results
  • Sit down one-on-one with community leaders to educate them and gain their support for cultural heritage tourism.
  • Develop an audiovisual or PowerPoint presentation about your area’s goals for cultural heritage tourism and set up a speakers’ bureau.


National Trust for Historic Preservation ®

Next: Step 3 >>

Return to the Four Steps