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McKercher, Bob and Hilary du Cros. Cultural Tourism: The Partnership Between Tourism and Cultural Heritage Management. New York: Hayworth Hospitality Press, 2002 (262 pp.). This is one of the most recent and thorough overviews of cultural tourism, although it falls short of following through with some of its early promises. Most notably, the authors write a great deal about forging partnerships between the tourism and cultural industries, but they seldom provide specific examples of how that happens, other than to say it should. A few more case studies about how cultural and tourism communities have worked together would be a welcome addition. The authors, who both come out of the tourism industry, argue that the cultural and tourism sectors have similar goals with respect to cultural tourism (promoting heritage sites), but that they operate along parallel tracks rather than together. They intend the book as a primer for both industries – so cultural managers will understand how the tourism industry thinks and operates, while tourism officials will appreciate the values and limitations of cultural resource managers. In this, the book does an admiral job. It provides an extensive and understandable history and overview of cultural tourism, although the focus is primarily on the heritage end of the cultural continuum, rather than the arts (there’s very little about dance, opera, theater, for example, as tourism attractions). For history museum directors, in particular, the text contains valuable step-by-step processes for determining whether a cultural site has tourism appeal and, if so, whether and/or how the site should be interpreted and marketed to capitalize on that appeal. The authors’ tourism bias shows through occasionally; for instance, since its inception the tourism industry has tended to measure success by the number of travelers to an attraction, as opposed to their impact (economic, social, environmental). For the most part, that is the focus here: a historical site is deemed successful if it attracts more people this season, rather than taking into consideration the time or money spent by the tourists. That small criticism aside, the book offers practical insights into the management, interpretation, and marketing of cultural products, and should probably be read by any tourism or cultural agency that wants to step into the business of cultural and/or cultural heritage tourism.


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