Thursday, March 11, 2010

When Big Never Seems Big Enough

There are a lot of reports that seemingly exaggerate cultural-heritage as tourism activities, usually by not using all traveler as the base so the percentages look higher.

If it is on purpose, it is understandable in a way.  It takes a lot to get through the thick skulls of many tourism officials who are stuck back in 1896 and obsess with conventions and meetings to the exclusion of the bigger picture.



Thus I’m anticipating some questions about the chart above (click to enlarge) during a national joint task force I’m chairing of destination marketing and cultural-heritage officials. 

But when you click to enlarge the next chart of all visitor activities regardless of “main” purpose for the trip, you’ll see that cultural-heritage activities taken collectively are every bit as significant as conventions and meetings and individually hold their own with spectator sports/Olympics.

The issue isn’t bragging rights nor to enable a sense of entitlement.  Destination marketing organizations must shape each individual community’s story to appeal to its strengths and to optimize spending and visitation while balancing special interests. 

visitor activities

1 comment:

Barbara from Portland said...

As the cultural tourism director in Portland starting 13 years ago, it is refreshing to hear a CVB president promote the value of cultural tourism. Today I'm the VP of tourism integrating cultural tourism into overall sales. We still find that the hospitality community focuses on convention business and can't see the value of cultural tourism--it is harder to show on quarterly reports. The Cultural & Heritage Tourism Alliance (past chair and founder of this group) has been working on this for 10 years!

I'm interested in the national group you are chairing on cultural tourism.

Barbara Steinfeld
VP Tourism
Travel Portland
Past Chair- C&HTA