It seems like I am continually asked – Are you sure Heritage tourism works? Are you sure people would be interested in this area’s Heritage? Are you sure people with visit? Well, yes I am. I’d like to believe that there are quite a large number of people like me who are interested in a wide range of activities taking place in a community they are visiting. Music, Arts, Culture, Buildings, Local Foods, Ethnics, Architecture, the whole works.
My beliefs are back up by plenty of research and comments from people who are in the know:
1. Eric Thompson, director of the Nebraska Bureau of Business Research estimated that heritage tourism as 10 to 15 percent of the state’s total tourism take, and he attributed 70 percent of the $196 million to out-of-state visitors. (journalstar.com)
2. – A recent research study reveals that 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling, translating to 118.3 million adults each year. With cultural and heritage travelers spending an average of $994 per trip, they contribute more than $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy. (George Wright Society)
3. Irish heritage sites are worth about €700m ($917m) as tourist attractions, a study has found. Research revealed that major historical sites and ancient monuments are also sustaining tens of thousands of jobs and worth about a total of €1.5bn in total to the economy. (Independent.ie national news)
4. Using accepted industry formulas, the researchers estimate that the $3.72 billion in heritage tourism translates into 107,607 Florida jobs, including 51,794 in the retail sector and 30,068 in the services sector. (Research at the University of Florida)
5. Elliston ( Newfoundland) calls itself the root cellar capital of the world with 150 of them. Natalie Springuel (Univ. Maine) found exhibits based on an ill-fated seal hunting expedition and successful tours to outlying ports that were abandoned, ghost-town style, when the government closed entire communities in a cost-saving effort to centralize services. “Newfoundlanders figured out how to turn hardship into a compelling thing that the public wants to learn about,” she says. (University of Maine Today)
The thing to keep in mind about promoting tourism to this area is this: “Just because it is not something that you don’t want to do does not mean it is something no one wants to do.” We need to take advantage of out heritage. The Erie Canal legacy. The Buffalo Harbor legacy. The Steel, Grain Milling and Railroad Legacy. Our late 19th Century homes and buildings, etc. We have enough to interest people and more than enough to put quite a number of people to work in tourism. We just have to be positive about it.