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cultural tourism

Cultural Tourism Market to Witness 37% of the Growth from Europe

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, cultural tourism is “movements of persons for essentially cultural motivations such as study tours, performing arts and cultural tours, travel to festivals and other cultural events, visits to sites and monuments, travel to study nature, folklore or art, and pilgrimages.”

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The cultural tourism market is poised to grow by USD 3.77 billion during 2021-2025, progressing at a CAGR of almost 16.41% during the forecast period,  Technavio reports.

Domestic cultural tourism was the largest revenue-generating type segment in 2020 and is likely to dominate the growth during the forecast period. In terms of geography, 37% of the market’s growth will originate from Europe with Italy and Germany being the key markets for cultural tourism in the region.

Contribution of the top 4 countries to the total market (%):

Germany – 10.50-11.25%

France – 5.20-5.56%

India – 4.21-4.79%

China – 3.10-3.50%

Dominant Market Players

  • ACE Cultural Tours
  • Classic Journeys
  • Envoy Tours
  • Exodus Travels Ltd.
  • Indigenous Tourism BC
  • Kudu Travel Ltd.
  • Martin Randall Travel Ltd.
  • Nature Quest New Zealand Ltd.
  • Odyssey World
  • Responsible Travel
  • Splitrock Environmental

What is the importance of cultural tourism?

Cultural tourism is important for many reasons. Perhaps the most prominent reason is the social impact that it brings. CuItural tourism can help reinforce identities, enhance cross cultural understanding and preserve the heritage and culture of an area.



Cultural travel is almost a guaranteed way to enrich your experience as a tourist. But it’s worth noting that this type of travel has both benefits and downsides for host communities.

CuItural tourism helps to encourage the preservation of culture and heritage by keeping endangered traditions alive. There might be little demand for heritage handicraft skills, for example, but outside interest (and an opportunity to earn an income) could be enough to safeguard a tradition that might otherwise have been lost.

By the same token, cultural tourism can incentivise better protections for physical heritage sites, ensuring that monuments and the like remain accessible for future generations. Cultural tourism can have far-reaching social impacts and environmental benefits when it gives rise to new social enterprises, local businesses and women-led ventures geared towards giving tourists an immersive experience.

On the other hand, there’s always a question mark around authenticity when it comes to cultural travel. If a ritual is performed for the benefit of outsiders, does it lose its meaning?

Commodification of culture for tourism is a serious issue that impacts many communities and can be damaging to social and economic development more broadly.

CuItural tourism often involves travelling to more remote areas, which introduces a whole host of other pros and cons. A road constructed for the benefit of tourists is also new infrastructure for the community – but it might speed up globalisation and cultural erosion, while the very presence of tourists can worsen environmental pollution or cause rifts between different social groups.

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