A recent study by the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism revealed that nearly 15.4 million of the overseas travelers to the U.S. were cultural heritage travelers. Growth of cultural heritage visitors outpaced average growth of all overseas arrivals to the United States (14% and 11%, respectively). Since 2004, the number of CHV travelers increased from 10.6 million (68.7% of the market) to the current 15.4 million or 71.2 percent of all overseas visitors.
The rapid expansion of travelers seeking cultural experiences has helped heritage tourism become one of the leading motivations for people to travel. Cities and towns across America are discovering how well the preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources combines with tourism to sustain local economies. Heritage tourism creates jobs, provides new business opportunities, helps protect natural resources, and improves the quality of life for residents.
As one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry, heritage tourism can be an effective tool to generate jobs, income, tax revenues, diversify local economies, and improve the local quality of life.