Himalayan Heritage Foundation

Center for policy research on Himalayan Region

Cultural Tourism

Culture leads to heritage and in the same way cultural tourism leads to heritage tourism.

Written by: Dr. Mahesh Kaul || Posted in category: Heritage Tourism || Dated: 2013-02-06

Shiv Lingam in the Pandava cave at the Akhnoor Fort in Jammu

Tourism has evolved over the years not only as an economic activity that has inherent in it all the elements of multiplier effect that boost the economic well being of the destination area but it has emerged as the comprehensive mechanism that encompasses all the aspects of the human society that make it vibrant. It affects every sphere of the human life ranging from the environmental to political, cultural to religious and many more. It has evolved a dynamics and system of its own that can cater to the multiple multiple problems offering multiple solutions.Of all the areas where tourism has an access, culture holds unique significance. As it is the culture of a particular place and destination that defines it essence different from others and helps tourism marketers to segmentise and market the destination with life long utility in the tourism market. Diversity of culture gives differentiability to the tourism product and prolongs its life in the market parlance. With the knowledge boom and the level of exposure faced by the working class the curiosity and desire to discover and explore the lesser known ethnic groups and cultures has increased immensely.

Gone are the days of mass tourism and outdated modes of analyzing understanding tourism. Today tourism means different things to different people. For a common man or woman it may be a source of recreation and rejuvenation to release him/her from routine. For a motivated or ethnically oriented and internally displaced person it may have sociological, psychological and political intent to understand the particular culture alien or native. But the core belief in terms of understanding the culture remains same with different degree of understanding and conceptual clarity.

The theme for this years World Tourism Day given by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO)-“Linking Cultures” was quite apt and timely keeping in view the predominant role played by the culture to give definite outline and blueprint in shaping the contemporary discourse in tourism industry and the intelligentsia. Linking Cultures does not only means the exchange of tourists but it means to experience the diverse cultural landscapes that shape the geographical and social canvas of this world inhabited by the ethnic and cultural communities in their habitat and natural homeland where they have shaped there customs ,folk lore and traditions. It will definitely help to reduce the fanatic interpretations and one sided interpretations of a given cultural landscape and will give the explorers the first hand understanding of the cultural moorings of the ethnic groups and their cultural dynamic.The theme will help to evolve the comprehensive understanding of the tourism as a whole.

The theme for this years World Tourism Day given by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO)-“Linking Cultures” was quite apt and timely keeping in view the predominant role played by the culture to give definite outline and blueprint in shaping the contemporary discourse in tourism industry and the intelligentsia. Linking Cultures does not only means the exchange of tourists but it means to experience the diverse cultural landscapes that shape the geographical and social canvas of this world inhabited by the ethnic and cultural communities in their habitat and natural homeland where they have shaped there customs ,folk lore and traditions. It will definitely help to reduce the fanatic interpretations and one sided interpretations of a given cultural landscape and will give the explorers the first hand understanding of the cultural moorings of the ethnic groups and their cultural dynamic.The theme will help to evolve the comprehensive understanding of the tourism as a whole.

The theme can reach its logical conclusion of harmonizing and projecting cultural tourism as the key resource for the human development world over by focusing on the following aspects:* To understand that the cultural tourism is a form of tourism and not a form of cultural heritage management. In other words it means that the decision making on cultural tourism should take into consideration the market aspects first and then seek to address its cultural heritage management aspect.* To understand the use of cultural heritage assets in terms of community involvement with the emphasis on its national value. There is an urgent need to comprehend heritage in tangible and intangible forms.* To understand the importance of the consumption of experiences and products. The need is to transform cultural heritage assets into cultural tourism products. It helps to create tourist gaze in a sustainable manner.* To make “linking cultures” a workable theme there is utmost need to keep the tourist as the area of focus of all the market planning of the cultural tourism product.It becomes clear that this year’s theme “linking cultures” is not an isolated theme; it is a theme of global importance. The need to is work on the above mentioned aspects to evolve a workable cultural heritage tourism policy that caters to the global tourism needs.

Keywords: heritage,culture,tourism,Jammu,Conservation,Management


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