Cultural Travel Statistics

Cultural travel statistics are an interesting way to see why people are traveling to different cultures, as well as where they are traveling in the world.  One of the problems of the movement of cultural tourism as a phenomena is the question of what it is. What is Cultural travel? The problem of defining cultural travel for the purposes of definition is that cultural travel has many definitions. Here a few definitions from the Australian government.

  • Cultural tourism may be defined as that movement which involves people in the exploration or the experience of the diverse ways of life of other people, reflecting all the social customs, religious traditions, or intellectual ideas of their cultural heritage (IOCOMOS Charter for Cultural Tourism, Draft April 1997).


  • Cultural tourism is an entertainment and educational experience that combines the arts with natural and social heritage and history (Cultural Tourism Industry Group – Website).


  • Cultural tourism defines the phenomenon of people travelling specifically for the sake of either experiencing another culture or the cultural attractions of a place (Arts Industry Tourism Council, ‘Cultural Tourism Development in Victoria’, June 1997).


The Texas commission for the arts states that cultural tourism’s primary benefit is economic impact. The definition that Texas gives for Cultural Tourism is:

Cultural Tourism is the subset of tourism that is defined as travel directed toward experiencing the traditional and contemporary culture, arts, and special character of a place. This includes the performing, visual and literary arts, language, museums, heritage, crafts, architecture, design, film and broadcasting.

This definition does not even include people meeting people. You can read more of the Texas definition here. One of my favorite reads in the cultural realm of statistics is “Cultural Realm.”  Rossitza Ohridska says,

……when comparing the top 10 countries in authenticity with the top 10 countries in travel and tourism competitiveness. Authenticity by itself, is not enough to produce appealing travel experiences. Rich cultural landscape, well preserved nature and cultural heritage, combined creatively designed niche travel products is the key to success, not only for cultural tourism, but for great country tourism branding.


These three are but a few examples of the attempt to define the term, cultural tourism. The conclusion is that cultural tourism is a concept rather than a specific thing. So bear in mind when I share statistics with you, the statistics reflect a broad “idea” of what cultural travel and cultural tourism mean. The statistics reflect the larger “story” of what compels a person to want to travel to another culture. Is it the food, or the geography, or the museums, or the people that attract a cultural traveler to a particular place?

If you are an avid cultural traveler, and you would like to know HOW to travel to other cultures through grants and projects that you would like to develop, then let me share a great resource with you. Go to this site for grants available.


You can read more about Australia’s cultural statistics here.


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