An art lover comes to Baltimore to see our world-class art museums. A sports fan comes to watch the home team take on the Orioles or Ravens. Some come to attend a convention or to visit family. The reasons for coming to Baltimore are as varied as the people who come to visit. The city is home to a large modern convention facility, sports teams, and cultural and historic sites. Visitors to Baltimore City arrive by air, train, bus, and personal automobile. Those who arrive by car are free to explore the city at will, limited only by willingness to deal with traffic and parking. How then do the others get the most from their Baltimore visit?
The question for the City has to be how can we make them comfortable and benefit from their presence in our city. In this series of articles, Sustainworx will look at how the city is prepared to meet the needs of visitors. In particular we will explore the city’s readiness to attract a growing segment of the traveling public; the cultural and heritage tourist.
What exactly is “heritage tourism”? The answer is at first glance fairly straightforward. Sarah Nichols, Ph.D defines it as, “travel to sites that in some way represent or celebrate an area, community, or people’s history, identity or inheritance.” She suggests that “Heritage attractions are typically divided into three categories: natural, cultural, and built.” (Salazar; Nicholls, Vogt and Jun)
Closely related is the idea of cultural tourism. Janet Green, New Mexico’s Tourism secretary see’s it like this,” “Cultural tourism is a buzz word in the industry… It means that instead of going to Disney World people are seeking to get enlightenment and enjoyment from learning about another culture on their vacations — Native American dances, listening to a story teller, and visiting tribal lands that are considered sacred are all part of it.”(Shepherd)
This is important because along with the tourists, come their dollars. On the Whitehouse blog, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar writes “visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010.”(Salazar) Closer to home, the Living Classrooms Foundation reports that the National Historic Seaport of Baltimore generated $104 million and 1,760 jobs in Baltimore City.
Linda A. Carlissle explains the importance of cultural tourism. North Carolina and other southern states search for meaningful ways to explain the commemoration of the Civil War and its relationship to people and the nation.
Elements of Baltimore’s Heritage
(Source: Greg Cundiff)
Nicholls, Sarah, Christine Vogt, and Soo Hyun Jun. “Heeding the Call for Heritage Tourism.” Parks & Recreation 39.9 (2004): 38-47. Print.
Salazar, Ken. “Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy”. Washington, DC, 2012. White House Blog. Whitehouse.gov. 3/4/2012 2012. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/02/growing-america-s-outdoor-heritage-and-economy%3E.
Shepherd, Shawn. “Capitalizing on Culture (and Gaming).” New Mexico Business Journal 25.3 (2001): 16. Print.