Tourism across the world is getting an impetus because there is so much that people want to see and experience. In fact, visiting another country is one of the best ways to learn about the culture and language of that country. However, of late, people are indulging in cultural tourism that has given tourism a whole new meaning.
What is Cultural Tourism?
Cultural tourism is a type of tourism that allows the tourist to participate in local cultural activities, like festivals and rituals. As a result, the tourist can enjoy a genuine cultural exchange with the locals.
It also enables local communities to accept their culture as cultural tourism is a major driver for growth. So, communities go out of their way to celebrate and promote their culture as it makes them different from other communities. A good example is the carnival celebrated in Rio de Janeiro and Goa before Lent begins. While in Rio it is a raucous celebration where locals and tourists party and indulge in everything under the sky, in Goa, the mainstay of the event is a parade followed by dances and feasts.
Why Should Countries Focus on Cultural Tourism?
Cultural tourism benefits local communities. Some of the benefits of cultural tourism that government and local tourism bodies should be aware of include the following:
- Cultural tourism has a positive economic impact on the destination and can help underserved communities to thrive and flourish
- The money that this form of tourism bring in can be used within local communities for social good
- It helps preserve the local culture while allowing communities to emphasize the uniqueness of their culture to differentiate it from other locations
- It helps destinations market themselves and compete with more competitive locales on an even footing
Popular Countries for Cultural Tourism
As countries realize the importance of cultural tourism and how it can drive local economies, they are focusing on building cities and towns that can attract overseas visitors to experience and savor culture like never before.
No doubt France leads the field of cultural tourism, with Paris being the hub of European culture. People from across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas visit Paris for retail therapy at the Champs Elysees. With the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral burned down, Paris still is home to gastronomy and art. People usually come to visit the Eiffel Tower, spend time at the Louvre and enjoy Arc de Triomphe. Of course, if you are in France during the Cannes Film Festival, you will be able to enjoy a unique experience.
China too is steeped in history and traditions that are fascinating and appealing. Many overseas visitors, particularly from the US, the UK, Europe, and Australasia throng Shanghai. It is a global financial hub and is the largest city in the country. It is the best place to experience the history and culture of this nation. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll at the Bund, learn about the local history at the Shanghai Museum, and enjoy peace at the Yu Garden. There are numerous art galleries and restaurants that can fill the time in between these cultural attractions.
Turkey has always been at the forefront of cultural tourism, in particular Istanbul, which straddles Asia and Europe. Some of the best places to enjoy a cultural experience include Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, and the Bosphorus. Even shopping and browsing through the Grand Bazaar can be a cultural experience. Istanbul fascinates cultural lovers from Asia, the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the USA. People come here to check out the architecture and learn about the Ottoman Empire.
Cultural tourism is incomplete without a visit to India, the land of the Ganges, Taj Mahal, Varanasi, and Qutub Minar. Every city in India offers a unique cultural experience to visitors. Whether you want to experience the religious culture or historical culture, India has a lot to offer. It is one of the primary reasons that people from across the globe flock to India. You can visit Varanasi to experience Hinduism or spend time in Bodh Gaya, the tiny hamlet in Bihar where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The art of weaving in Rajasthan and saree weaving in Andhra Pradesh also offer insights into the local culture.
Culture tourism is a win-win experience. The visitors enjoy the rich heritage and learn about the local cultures and traditions while local communities enjoy development without forsaking their cultural values and beliefs.
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