Studies & Degrees in Cultural Tourism
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Cultural Tourism is basically travelling to places with the aim of experiencing the place’s culture, arts, and heritage. It includes paying close attention to every form of art present in the place, such as paintings, sculpture, architecture of houses and buildings, dance, music, poetry, drama, etc. It also includes experiencing the cultural activities of people in the place, such as feasts and rituals. Observing the place’s physical heritage, such as its rich natural resources and seeing its people’s lifestyle are also parts of Cultural Tourism.
There are millions of tourists visiting popular and unsung tourist spots in the world every year. Not only does this provide income to airlines, it also creates livelihood to the people in the places being visited, by staying in hotels and cottages, by hiring tourist guides, and by buying products in the locality among others. These tourists visit one place after the other to attend musical concerts; watch certain groups perform art programs; visit precious art museums to have a glimpse of the place’s indigenous crafts and mirror of history; and attend cultural affairs, such as feasts and rituals. Tourists can be either domestic (from the same country, different locality) or international (from different country).
The interest of mankind to experience the distinct and authentic sense of a certain place is what makes Cultural Tourism a business – a good business. According to UNESCO, the industry grows by 15% every year. There are reasons why people engage in Cultural Tourism – some are doing it as part of requirements in the class; some do it as part of the job; but most do it to personally experience the diversity of the world. Experiencing a culture far away from what a person got exposed to makes the person wonder how this world handles the complex differences of its people; and seeing the physical beauty of one place gives a person a hiatus from the problems of his real, day-to-day world.
Cultural Tourism is offered as a degree program in many universities around the world. It aims to produce graduates who will soon assume the responsibility of enriching Cultural Tourism itself by (1) promoting tourism in professional manners while keeping high level of customer satisfaction; (2) being an agent of improvement in the general tourism industry; (3) educating tourists of the culture, heritage, and richness of a place; and (4) effectively promoting people’s appreciation of other people’s culture and heritage. To be able to deliver these objectives of Cultural Tourism, professionals in this field are expected to possess high level of social and interpersonal skills to connect with people from literally different walks of life. They must also possess strong understanding of different cultures to effectively and constructively compare one culture with another. High level of planning skill is also paramount important. Cultural Tourism professionals who are employed by tourism organizations (commercial or government) are expected to make travel plans or itinerary for the customers to ensure worthwhile stay in place.
Cultural Tourism can be a means as to how this world can find unity in diversity. They say that for one person to better understand another, he must know where the other person is coming from – what influences him to be who he is and what makes him do what he does. Every visit in a place leaves visitors not just an added knowledge of the place itself (that can also be seen in books, television, and the Internet), but a deeper understanding of its people.