"Viewed in this light, Vermont's historic structures, its charming downtown business districts, its strong sense of place, are not simply precious assets; their importance to tourism is so great that they become public utilities whose preservation is necessary to safeguard a chief source of its citizen's income."
Arthur Frommer, Testimony before State of Vermont Environmental Board
Photo courtesy of Tom Visser
In a 1989 symposium at the University of Calgary, Robert McNulty defined "heritage tourism" at the community level:
"The challenge for communities and heritage [resources managers] is to provide a unique, special and participatory tourist experience that will bring with it jobs and economic development in terms of investment in a range of initiatives. The challenge is further complicated by the need to preserve the character of the community, and its heritage resources, offer an authentic experience, respect the social and cultural way of life of the host community - all the while ensuring the sustainability and authenticity of the tourist product." (Quote courtesy of Utah Division of State History, Preserving our Past Through Heritage Tourism, 1995)
As the United States' third largest industry, tourism contributed $417 billion to the U.S. economy in 1994. In addition, tourism generated $6.3 million direct jobs, making tourism the nation's second largest employer. In a Vermont survey, 77% of the polled individuals said that they came to Vermont to visit historic sites. (The Longwoods International Vermont Travel Year 1994 Survey.)
There has been increased efforts by the Federal government to promote cultural tourism. In 1995, the White House Conference on Travel Tourism held a symposium on cultural tourism. The conference's conclusions were that America's cultural resources were valuable assets to the nation. In addition to the 1995 conference, The Presidents Committee on the Arts and Humanities produced Exploring America Through its Culture ,which came to the following conclusions:
" Cultural tourism offers genuine opportunities for both the cultural and tourism industries to work together and, over time, to build business, stimulate economic growth, showcase our country's resources and encourage international and domestic visitors to explore America by experiencing the richness of its culture.
To be successful in cultural tourism both industries should work toward a common goal and see their issues and concerns in a larger context. The days of going it alone or advocating for a cause in isolation are past. Culture and tourism can be partners to encourage a positive business climate for their industries, as well as to increase support for preservation, product development, infrastructure improvements, research, marketing and visitor service."
Quote courtesy of: Moskin, Bill and Sandy Guettler. Exploring America Through its Culture. (Washington, DC: President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 1994.)
In the publication , Getting Started: How to Succeed in Heritage Tourism, The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed five principles that help create a sustainable heritage tourism industry in communities.
By following these basic principles, a town can introduce outside money into the community as well as effectively preserve a historic resource.
Themes in Vermont History
Vermont's State Owned Sites
Vermont's Heritage Museums,Historic Sites and Resources
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Burlington, VT 05405
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