Introduction to Heritage Tourism

“Listen up: You already have a theme park! It’s called your streetscape, your lands, your cultures, and no other community possesses those same gifts.”

-Dan Shilling, Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place


Communities turn to their cultural heritage to develop local tourism for a variety of reasons:

Infographics regarding Gen Z and Millennial Travelers

Economic Impact: It's no secret that heritage travelers stay longer and spend more, which is why they're highly coveted.

Sustainability: Create visitor experiences out of assets that already exist rather than ones you must build. 

Preservation: The relationship between tourism and preservation is cyclical. A growing tourism market stimulates the restoration of historic sites, attracting more visitors who fund more preservation.

Placemaking: Preserving local culture and memory helps solidify a community's identity, ties the individual to the collective, and cultivates a more authentic experience of place.

Distinction: Heritage tourism can be a small town's secret superpower. Let local history and traditions inspire you to create singular experiences that stand apart from the usual offerings found in any metropolitan area.

In addition, recent travel studies have illuminated an increasing desire among younger generations to travel with purpose. We think heritage tourism allows communities to meet young travelers where they are and help them find what they're looking for. 


Next: Meet the Heritage Tourism team and learn about the values that guide our work.