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Communities should be allowed to decide for themselves how far tourism is a potentially positive development option.
Melanie K. Smith

Our Programs: Heritage Tourism


An approach to long-term visioning that folds museums, parks, and cultural agencies into the overall plan,


or an approach that disenfranchises these institutions and ignores a proven economic development strategy.

Integrate Tourism & Planning

  • Increasingly, when tourism officials categorize travelers, they group heritage tourists (those looking to learn the history of a place) with others who also seek experiential opportunities.

  • For example, people who travel to historic sites often enjoy outdoor activities, which is usually labeled "Ecotourism" – everything from sightseeing to more rugged pursuits like hiking or mountain biking. Communities also develop "Cultural Tourism" programs around live theater and concerts, art museums and galleries, opera and ballet, and other forms of artistic expression.

  • These types of educational or experiential tourism can complement one another. They generally appeal to the same traveler, and collectively they help build a more extensive, diverse, and attractive product base. CHG refers to this fusion of tourism types as "Organic Tourism."

  • Working together creates a more integrated approach to planning. It’s no longer "city planning" here and a handful of different "place-based" products there. Place is city planning, not an adjunct to it! People come to see what CHG means by a unified "sense of place," and focusing on appropriate tourism helps build that place. Your town is not just a collection of separate attractions, but a connected ("organic") fabric of resource opportunities.