Cultural Tourism Leads the Growth of Travel Industry

With the tourism industry growing steadily, we became curious to see if cultural tourism is a key contributor. Over the past couple of weeks, we have found that an expanding number of travelers are more interested in cultural heritage and cultural activities when planning a trip now than ever before. Their search for cultural exposure  brings them to off the beaten path destinations in search of authentic experiences. Today, more and more people seek to learn something new during their travels.

Significant Statistics

Numbers often tell stories by themselves, so let’s see how cultural tourism stacks up in the industry:

International tourist arrivals reached 1.138 billion in 2014 – 4,000% higher than the 25 million annual tourists in the 1950s and 4.7% increased compares to 2013

The travel industry contributed $7.6 trillion of world GDP in 2014, which equates to 9.8% of the total world GDP

The tourism industry employed nearly 277 million people in 2014 and projected to increase to 356 million by 2025

81% of the U.S. tourists are considered as ‘cultural tourists’

Over one-third of U.S. tourists agree that specific arts, cultural or heritage events will influence their choice of destination

Many travelers extend their stay in a destination because of cultural activities

These positive statistics indicate huge potential for cultural tourism to continue to thrive in the industry. Its upward tendency makes it a force, driving the industry forward.

Benefits of Cultural Tourism

Many destinations are famous for their cultural elements: Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom. However, the benefit of cultural tourism is more recognizable in developing countries.

One of the examples is China, which is becoming a mecca for cultural tourism with its long and profound history. There are numerous historical encounters and human moments that should not be missed. And its long distance from source markets like North America and Europe is not a hindrance. In 2014, China received 3,846 million tourists. They brought in a total revenue of about ¥3,380 billion, a 14.7% increase compared with 2013. Travel industry contributes over 4% to the growth of the China’s GDP and greatly enhances employment and economic development.

The concern is how to promote cultural tourism sustainably, so it brings positive benefits to a destination instead of harm.The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations and travel trade addresses this and, replete with its own set of project indicators, offers destinations in development a measureable way to protect cultural heritage in parallel with the rising success of tourism.

Solimar & Cultural Tourism

Solimar deeply understands the value of cultural tourism. For more than a decade, we have been devoted to supporting small, developing and amazingly beautiful countries, exploring, enhancing and promoting their sometimes-overlooked cultural treasures. Our mission is to tell their stories and link them to curious & conscious visitors.

The power of cultural tourism is unlimited. We appreciate the fascinating plethora of cultures around the globe and believe it is possible to promote cultural tourism without exploiting local populations via sustainable tourism practices.

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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