What is Cultural Tourism?

Whether you prefer the beach or the mountains to visit a museum, you’ll agree with me that the Cultural Heritage has always had a great impact on tourism. Have you had that bad feeling when you’ve visited a city and haven’t been through its museum? Don’t whip yourself. We have all felt it.

It is clear that the main tourism that exists in Spain is beach tourism. Lots of tourists from northern countries rushing into the sand for a square meter of space to plant the umbrella and sunbathe. This is a completely real testimony of a person who lives a few meters from the beach of Alicante. The beach is therefore Spain’s main tourist attraction. But it is not the only one.

In reality, and leaving the institutional paraphrase aside, this type of tourism consists mainly of visiting the different Heritage of Cultural Interest of the destination city in order to learn about History, learn about culture, enjoy its Heritage and landscape. Therefore, we can say that cultural tourism seeks pleasure and knowledge during our leisure time.

For this reason, almost every activity carried out during the holidays can be considered cultural tourism. Are you going to tell me that tapas, paella, fabada asturiana, etc. are not cultural heritage? Or the fallas, the bonfires, the Seville fair, etc… Even the beach. All of this is part of the tradition and social culture and tourists don’t want to exclude any of these aspects from their holiday plan. I assure you.

Nevertheless, cultural tourism is usually understood as tourism, as I have pointed out before, that which has as its object to know the Goods of Cultural Interest of a place.

The problems of cultural tourism

One of the difficulties presented by cultural tourism is that of its negative impact on heritage. It is clear that visits to certain archaeological sites, caves with cave paintings or emblematic buildings have an impact on their conservation. This aspect is in continuous debate because it does not consist in eliminating or prohibiting visits but in guaranteeing their sustainability. An extremely complicated task.

It is obvious that we cannot pretend to mobilize the millions of tourists who come in search of sun and beach and focus them on cultural tourism. This, apart from being impossible, would be tragic for our heritage because it could not be sustainable. It is not a matter of starting a stupid battle against the beach but of offering sustainable cultural alternatives as a tourist attraction.

The over exploitation of cultural tourism can lead to the degradation of the heritage visited. In addition, in some cases it can offer a vision of cultural tourism as something negative for residents if it causes traffic jams, crowds, robberies, etc..

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