What is Heritage Tourism?

As defined by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Cultural heritage tourism is 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.”

Colorado is blessed with an abundance of breathtaking scenery and a multitude of historic environments for visitors to enjoy. A trip on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a visit to Enos Mills Cabin during a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, a ride on the Kit Carson Carousel in Burlington, an overnight stay at the historic Jerome Hotel in Aspen are all ways in which visitors enjoy and experience Colorado’s unique and dramatic history.

Heritage tourism is a growing industry. “According to a 2003 study by the Travel Industry Association of America, 81% of U.S. Adult travelers in 2002 incorporated a heritage or cultural activity into their trip. Heritage and cultural travelers consistently stay longer and spend more money than other types of U.S. traveler, averaging $623 per trip versus $475 per trip for other U.S. travelers. They have a greater respect for the places they visit and are less likely to have a negative impact on heritage resources. Heritage tourism is a powerful tool to bring preservation and economic development together.”
Source: Opportunities in Heritage Tourism. Amy Jordan Webb, National Trust heritage tourism program director. Colorado Preservationist, vol.17, no.3, Autumn 2003.

Cultural heritage tourism contributes to Colorado’s economy by generating revenue, creating new jobs, and proving opportunities for small business. Revitalized historic main street areas throughout Colorado draw shoppers who enjoy the ambience of historic settings over cookie-cutter malls. Heritage tourism provides both a stimulus and a reward for historic preservation.

To learn more, see:

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Heritage Tourism
www.nationaltrust.org/heritage_tourism

on Rural Heritage Tourism, go to:
www.ruralheritage.org/heriatgetourism/