Perhaps, you prefer the beach or the mountains over visiting a museum. Regardless, you’ll agree with me that 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 beat yourself up. We have all felt it.
Cultural Heritage is Everywhere
It is clear that the main tourism that exists in Spain is beach tourism. Lots of tourists from northern countries rush into the sand for a square meter of space to plant their umbrella and sunbathe. This is a completely real testimony of a person who lives a few meters from the beach of Alicante. This beach is Spain’s main tourist attraction. But it is not the only one.
In reality, this type of tourism consists mainly of visiting the different cultural interests of the city in order to learn about its history, learn about its culture, and enjoy the landscape. Therefore, we can say that cultural tourism involves seeking both 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 a part of 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. 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’s why we should take the time to observe the cultural interest of a place when we tour there.
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 prohibit visits but guarantees their sustainability. This is 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 some cases, it can offer a vision of cultural tourism as something negative for residents if it causes traffic jams, crowds, robberies, etc.
What Can We Do to Improve Cultural Tourism?
Cultural tourism is a huge part of many a country’s economy. However, less tourist are aware of just how important it is than you may expect. Wherever you go, even if you’re simply moving from one state in a country to another, the cultural heritage is sure to be different. Obviously, locations within the same country will have things in common.
Still, the diversity of the world is such that no matter where you go, there will always be something unique to that place to look into.
Typically, when someone chooses to travel, they do so to hang out in expensive hotels and see the sites. This is fantastic and we all deserve a luxurious break once in a while. However, we should always take the time to experience the uniqueness of the culture wherever we go.
So what we can do is to spread the word and raise awareness of these things, as I’m doing right now. When you go on trips, take the time to look at museums, or grab some food that isn’t made anywhere else and throw it onto social media. The more people who express the joy they’ve had at doing these things, the more viral posts will be out there for people to see.
Cultural heritage isn’t just something we should take a look at once and then move on. It’s the essence of what makes each of us unique. We should all be proud of our own cultural heritage, just as we should appreciate that heritage of those we tour with!