Cultural tourism – the universal fix?
Pam Jarvis investigates how culture is looked at as a fix for many things – health, social capital, community cohesion, economic growth, education, regeneration …
Destination managers and local authority tourism units have realised for some time the potential contribution culture can make to their visitor economy, to animate their streets and public spaces and to enhance their destination brand by providing something that will differentiate them above their competitors. Places have, for centuries, been commodities to be consumed, branded and packaged like any other.
London 2012 and the Cultural Olympiad were seen (by some) as a huge boost to the UK’s international and domestic tourism economy. As local authorities face major funding challenges many are downsizing their tourism infrastructure – despite the fact that tourism is a UK growth sector and a buoyant visitor economy is integral to the sustainability of many places.