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Cultural Heritage Tourism

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Step 3 Handouts


1. Tour Product Options -- A list of 21 different "tour products" ranging from all-inclusive tours to walking tours.
-- download this handout

2. Tour Product Definitions -- A glossary of terms that includes the definitions of the 21 products in the "Tour Product Options" chart.
-- download this handout


3. Who Is Your Audience? -- A chart that describes 12 different audiences from African American travelers to weekend travelers.
-- download this handout

4. Developing a Theme Tour Itinerary -- Worksheet to help you develop a themed itinerary.
-- download this handout


5. Handout: Developing Theme Tours -- Includes an example of a best practice and a list of the top ten do's and don'ts for tour development.
-- download this handout


6. Exercise: Developing Theme Tours -- This activity has participants work in four small groups to develop tours geared for different kinds of travel buyers.
-- download this exercise

7. Six P's of Perfect Party Planning -- Six basic "P's" to help you plan the perfect event. Pondering the possibilities, planning ahead, preparing, promoting, presenting the event and pausing and reflecting.
-- download this handout

8. Measuring Success Self Assessment: Choosing Indicators for Cultural Heritage Tourism -- This quick self-assessment will help determine how the stakeholders working on your cultural heritage tourism program define "success" by tabulating responses that indicate how strongly stakeholders value economic development, quality of life, building local support and marketing.
-- download this handout


9. Cultural Heritage Tourism Performance Indicators -- 35 indicators used to measure success broken out in categories of economic impact, increased visitation and length of stay, increased inquiries or responses, visitor satisfaction, quality of life, organization capacity and recognition.
-- download this handout









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Prepare, Protect and Manage

As you take this step, look to the future as well as the present. When you prepare for visitors, be sure that the choices you make also improve your community for the long term. Plan to win the war, not just the battle.

Preparing for visitors means readying your historic resources by preserving their historical integrity, constructing new museums, and generally cleaning up your community—but it is also the time to figure out how you are going to tell your story and make your community hospitable to visitors.

Remember that good interpretation is vital. What exactly does interpretation mean? It means making your community’s history, culture, or scenery emotionally accessible to visitors. To engage visitors in experiences they understand, learn from and respond to emotionally use these materials to interpret your resources:

  • Signs
  • Brochures
  • Maps
  • Videotapes
  • Guidebooks
  • Guides
  • Living history
  • Exhibits

As you make your heritage resources emotionally accessible, make them physically accessible, too.

  • Keep attractions open at convenient times. Remember tourists travel seven days a week, not just on weekdays. Hours of operation need to reflect the times visitors are in your community.
  • Use entryways, signs, maps and information centers to help visitors find their way around your region.
  • Make sure sites meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements.

Remember that visitors take home memories. Much of the pleasure of a trip comes from how well visitors are treated. A short-tempered ticket agent, an uninformed guide, a rude bus driver—most travelers have had an unfortunate experience with someone like this, and it can be the experience they remember longest. The travel industry depends on many different people doing different jobs, so the challenge is to build community pride and understanding of the visitor’s needs.

To build a strong tourism employee base, try an approach that has produced good results elsewhere: hospitality training. The goal of hospitality training is to teach participants how to welcome visitors and to encourage a better understanding of the area and cultural heritage tourism. Visitors are likely to meet front line staff, and often these entry level positions turn over quickly—so it’s important to schedule hospitality training on a regular basis.

To ensure that your cultural heritage tourism resources have a long and productive life, you need to protect them. How? Developing a comprehensive preservation plan can provide overall guidance to help protect your historic structures. Other regulatory and planning mechanisms include:

  • Seeking the designation of historic resources (be sure to determine which designations bring restrictions and which do not)
  • Using zoning to specify land uses and restrictions on the density of development near sensitive historic sites
  • Establishing design review ordinances that establish design guidelines so that renovations and new buildings will be compatible with neighboring historic structures and a design review board to administer the guidelines.
  • Providing design assistance to people interested in rehabilitating their property
  • Requiring demolition review so that property owners cannot abruptly tear down buildings that have historic significance.
  • Developing a sign ordinance that regulates such matters as size, materials, illumination and placement of signs.

Be sure that your museum collections are stored or exhibited in protected environments. Remember that collection items can be fragile. Sunlight, temperature changes, humidity and even just handling the items can have a negative impact over time.

Some of your contemporary cultural resources can be protected as well. For example, if you are promoting an artists district, consider what you can to keep the district affordable and appealing for the artists you have—and artists who may become part of the district in the future.

Preparing, protecting and managing heritage resources is a big job, one that involves not only producing tangible improvements to places and structures but also coordinating multiple activities and maintaining momentum on numerous projects simultaneously. To keep the job reasonable and feasible, develop a management plan.

If your assessment of visitor services has revealed major omissions or difficulties, include remedies in the management plan. Plan to improve roads, public facilities, police and fire protection, and other aspects of the infrastructure that affect—and are affected by—tourism.

A well-managed cultural heritage tourism program is one that balances competing considerations. Balancing the “carrying capacity” of your area—its ability to host visitors without compromising service or overstraining resources—with the demands visitors make on it is one particularly important consideration. Why? Runaway “success” can destroy the very resources on which heritage tourism depends.

Say a summer festival begins to draw so many visitors to your revitalized “Main Street” that the roads into town clog with traffic, overwhelmed vendors start importing mass-produced quilts from China, and the city council paves a huge new parking lot for 3,000 cars at the expense of green space or a historic building. Danger! You’re on the verge of killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Organizational management includes monitoring change and adjusting your program—or your personnel—to meet your objectives. Incorporate ways to monitor and measure progress into your plan. Build in systems of measurement from the beginning—ways to count numbers of visitors, for example, or to measure the economic impact of the money they spend—so you’ll know where you have made progress (and where problems may be brewing). You’ll also be able to demonstrate accomplishments to hard-working committee members and interested donors.

Ways to Improve Community Appearance

  • Protect entryways and roads that have outstanding scenic or historic importance.
  • Protect scenic vistas: bury utility wires, screen unsightly intrusions.\
  • Protect trees and landscape character: plant street trees, landscape parking lots.
  • Prohibit billboards.
  • Limit the size, height, and number of other outdoor signs.
  • Encourage tourist support facilities—hotels, motels, restaurants and shops—to locate in historic buildings or to build new structures that are architecturally compatible with the community but not imitative of your town’s authentic historic buildings.

    (From “Community Appearance and Tourism: What’s the Link” by Ed McMahon)

National Trust for Historic Preservation ®

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