Can Sustainable Development and Cultural Tourism Go Hand in Hand?

Global Cultural Tourism Market 2017-2021

From being an exotic recreational activity, to metamorphosing into a full-fledged global industry, the tourism business has come full circle. Adventure tourism, medical tourism, luxury tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, are subsets which have successfully garnered a lot of popularity and witness great turn overs across the globe. In this piece, our focus will be on how cultural tourism has evolved and if it is really possible to push sustainable development along with tourism business.

Cultural tourism: Much more than just a glimpse into a different culture

The basic premise of cultural tourism is to increase people to people contact, provide exposure to varied cultures, and improve the overall understanding and bonding between people from different social classes. But gradually, world governments could sense that this subset of tourism had immense potential when it came to creating job opportunities and triggering economic growth. The various declarations and conventions of UNESCO too has played a vital role in adding up to the ‘cultural value’ of various tourist destinations – encouraging people to visit and experience a part of history that is so different from their own. Thus, the stage for cultural tourism as a recreational activity as well as enabler of economic opportunities was set.

Especially in the case of developing economies, recognition from UNESCO led to an increased exposure of that particular region to the western world. And, this is how the marriage between culture and economy came into being.

Can travel and tourism lead to sustainable development?

From the point of view of policy makers, economic growth which converts into development is what can bring in upliftment of the local population. To tailor tourism in a fashion which improves the overall image of the country, along with creating job opportunities for the home population, has been the common line of thinking for a long time. Think tanks, on the other hand, pitched for not just economic growth, but sustainable development which will benefit the citizens and bring in long term profits to the entire community of that particular region.

Market experts at Technavio hold the view that the market for cultural tourism is all set to record a double-digit growth in the next five years. One major reason behind this amazing growth trend is that the governments throughout the globe have come up with several schemes and programs which support and create job opportunities for those involved in literary, visual, and performing arts. By coming up with full-fledged provisions and legal identification for this industry, the process of sustainable development has gotten a major push.

Big names in the cultural tourism industry are already working towards gaining the right service profile, get government licensing, as well as adhere to safety measures, in order to beat the competition and make a lasting impact on the global landscape. Major names like Odyssey World, ACE Cultural Tours, and Martin Randall Travels, have diligently seen to it that every program launched by them is backed by a full-proof plan which will support the local population and provide better living standards to them.

Sustainable development through tourism in general, and cultural tourism in particular is thus not only a doable thing, but rather one of the smartest ways in which the economic condition of a country can be improved significantly. As the developed world gets more invested in the culture and lifestyle of the developing countries, the path of development for the latter is all set to emerge and grow profitably.