Cultural travel is the act of immersively experiencing a culture different from your own with the desire and willingness to transform your viewpoints and accepted norms. Cultural travel builds an evolving and collaborative relationship with the peoples and communities of a destination, being mindful of the historical and social context of said people and their geographic space. Cuisine, festivals, museums and other activities that are a manifestation and celebration of culture do not themselves constitute cultural travel but do serve as entry points into cultural immersion.
Who is a cultural traveler?
Cultural travel is popular among travelers from variety of national, ethnic and generational demographics, all sharing a proclivity toward more diverse, experiential and responsible travel opportunities.
Global travelers are embracing a more intentional perspective on travel and how it interacts with communities.
58% of people say that is it important that their trip benefits the local community
71% of global travelers say that eating locally sourced produce is important to them when on vacation
54% want to play a part in reducing over-tourism
GenZ - Your current and future traveler, thought to be the most racially and ethnically diverse generation.
67% want to learn about the urban culture of a destination
62% want to do cultural activities
56% want to learn about local traditions, heritage, stories and craft
43% want to discover their own cultural background
The US Black travel market alone spent 129.6B on global leisure travel in 2019
Cultural Activities are the #1 Interest: US 72%, Canada 63%, France 60%, Germany 53%, UK 68%
Top Influences to Travel:
Experience Different Cultures: US 65%, Canada 72%, France 63%, Germany 49%, UK 68%
Expand My Worldview: US 66%, Canada 72%, France 61%, Germany 38%, UK 68%
US Hispanic travel market spent 113.9Bjust on domestic travel in 2019
72% want to experience different cultures
69% experience their own culture in a deeper way
68% travel to get a cultural experience that broadens perspective and worldview
70% want to experience food that is completely different from their own
Cultural Travel Impact
Cultural travelers embrace exciting, authentic experiences, exploring a host of new activities, viewpoints and ways of life. In turn, these experiences may lead the travelers to be more open-minded and empathetic to the world around them. Conscious and intentional cultural travel produces economic opportunities for communities that are at the heart of destinations and assists in the preservation of cultural heritage assets.
The UNWTO recognizes the $1+ trillion a year tourism sector as a “vital contributor to job and wealth creation, economic growth, environmental protection and poverty alleviation”, calling on the need for sustainable tourism or “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities” when crafting their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
About the Author, John Marshall:
A native New Yorker and Bronxite, John A. Marshall has proudly spent his 17 year career representing the icons of New York City. A veteran sales and marketing professional specializing in leisure tourism and hospitality, John most recently worked at NYC & Company where his creativity, passion for storytelling and strong sense of collaboration enabled him to develop new initiatives and unlock opportunities to benefit NYC suppliers throughout the City. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.