"As an original participant of the Heritage Tourism Initiative, I continue to marvel
at the impact this program has had on the travel industry. Communities that felt
they could not be a part of the travel industry because they didn't have
traditional "tourist" attractions began to realize that they could draw upon their
history and culture to bring visitors, and their economic impact, into their
- Rene Campbell, Executive Director, Columbus Visitors Center, Columbus, Indiana
Whether you are beginning a new program or enhancing an existing one, the Heritage Tourism Program knows what it takes to
make a program succeed. The National Trust pioneered the process for heritage tourism programs in 1990 with a three-year
initiative working with 16 pilot areas in four states-Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. This intensive effort resulted in
the time-tested five guiding principles and four basic steps for getting started.
5 Principles for Cultural Heritage Tourism
While cultural heritage tourism programs are all unique, successful and sustainable programs embody these five principles
Cultural heritage tourism brings together many different perspectives-preservation, tourism, economic development, the arts,
museums, main street, humanities, elected officials, public land managers and more. By working together, you can accomplish
much more than by working alone.
Find the fit between the community and tourism
A good cultural heritage tourism program balances the needs of visitors and residents alike. Every community has a different
capacity for tourism, and it is important to involve the community in shaping your tourism efforts.
Make sites and programs come alive
Find creative ways to engage visitors and provide them with a memorable experience. Provide interactive experiences that
engage as many of the visitor's five senses as possible.
Focus on authenticity and quality
Today's travelers are more sophisticated and well traveled than the previous generation, and they expect both quality and
authenticity in their heritage travel experiences.
Preserve and protect resources
Be sure that the historic, cultural and natural resources which make up your cultural heritage tourism program are adequately
protected for future generations to enjoy as well. If these irreplaceable resources are lost, you can never get them back
4 Steps for Cultural Heritage Tourism
Cultural heritage tourism programs develop in stages, and these four steps should be repeated with each new phase
Assess the potential
Evaluate what your community has to offer in attractions, visitor services, organizational capabilities, ability to protect resources
Plan and organize
Make good use of human and financial resources. They are keys that open the doors to sustainable heritage tourism. Set
priorities and measurable goals.
Prepare for visitors; protect and manage resources
Look to the future as well as the present. Be sure that the choices you make now improve your community for the long term.
Market for success
Develop a multi-year, many tiered marketing plan that targets your market. Look for partners in local, regional, state or national
Hertage tourism is one of the largest growth industries in the world. The National Trust
defines Cultural Heritage Tourism as "traveling to experience the places and
activities that authentically represent the stories and people of
the past and present. It includes historic, cultural and natural
resources." Darby, with its strategic location and wealth of historic and natural,
resources, can benefit as do countries and people all around the world.