Opportunities in the European cultural tourism market

Cultural tourism is an important market segment in Europe. Tourists in this market segment stay longer. This results in more economic benefits for you and your community. Within cultural tourism, creative tourism has become an important niche. This niche offers many opportunities.

Creative tourism increasing

The type of tourist attracted to creative tourism is diverse. Their cultural interest is often associated with hobbies that involve ceramics, textiles, cooking and dancing, for example. In this niche, local businesses are mostly involved as small inbound tour operators. Many offer cultural tours and take tourists to the countryside to show them:

  • A local farm;
  • Agricultural techniques;
  • A local dwelling;
  • Customs and traditions;
  • Clothing;
  • How to make cosmetics; or
  • How to make curry authentically.

In this niche, governmental authorities and local businesses often develop programmes. These offer tourists the opportunity to learn how to make or craft something. Example of countries with well-established programmes include:

  • Thailand;
  • Brazil;
  • Indonesia; and
  • Colombia

The programmes allow tourists to find out more about local people and experience local culture and daily community life. The programmes also benefit local businesses. These businesses learn more about Europeans and their habits, while earning some income.

Need for authentic experiences

To be successful in the cultural tourism market, it is important to offer authentic cultural experiences. You will need to understand what authenticity means to European tourists, and what their values and interests are. One way you can do this is by taking a course. You can then put what you have learned into practice with a teacher supervising you. The State University and the Kawa Training Centre in Stonetown, Zanzibar offer these types of courses.

Business network

You could also work with other businesses to create a platform showing all the cultural activities on offer in your community. An example of this is 5Bogota. Being part of a network of businesses helps you to make decisions together about what parts of your culture you want to showcase, and how to reach tourists. Once you have European visitors, you can use their feedback to help you improve your services and create new products.

Your network should have at least one person with European market experience, a network within Europe and a network in the local community. That person can link these groups. They can also help other businesses within the network with European customs and expectations. They can also translate your product into words and images that appeal to European tourists.

Recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic

Like other market segments in tourism, cultural tourism has been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In Zanzibar, for example, tourism companies have lowered the prices of their offers. Although travel from Europe has declined, the decrease in prices has boosted regional cultural tourism. We expect the cultural tourism segment to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic within 2 to 3 years. We also expect the younger generation market segment to recover first.

For more information and tips on how to take advantage of opportunities in this market, read our recently updated study on cultural tourism.

Molgo and ETFI wrote this news article for CBI.

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