What is Heritage Tourism?

The National Trust defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.  It includes cultural, historic and natural resources” (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2008).

More and more people are seeking unique travel experiences that combine history, education, entertainment and authenticity.  A cultural heritage tourism survey conducted in 2009 revealed that 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling.  These cultural and heritage travelers  stay longer, spend more, and travel more often.  They also tend to be older, better educated, more sophisticated, and often more affluent than other tourists. Overseas cultural heritage travelers visiting the United States  tend to be more first-time travelers, stay longer in the United States, and visit more destinations than the average traveler.