Cultural Heritage Visitor Profiles
The Global Picture
Although the global cultural heritage market is a very significant segment of the tourism market, to a large extent it is focused on icon built heritage, such as the Great Pyramids in Egypt or the Great Wall of China. In 2009 the OECD reported that cultural heritage tourism accounted for around 40% of all tourism trips worldwide during 2007, or an estimated 360 million trips. However, the market is also dominated by the domestic tourists visiting attractions either close to home or within their home country.
Cultural heritage in the South Pacific is predominantly focused on the people and their way of life which, while an important element within the sector, is a much smaller niche in the wider cultural heritage segment.
What sort of person goes on Cultural Heritage holidays?
Generally, the cultural heritage tourist is a prized commodity – they are high-spending, discerning and well-educated individuals who like to stimulate cultural activity at their chosen destination. The split between male and female cultural heritage tourists is broadly even, with slightly more men than women (54%); ‘baby boomers’, i.e. those born between 1946 and 1964, are key consumers. They are avid planners, take longer to decide where to go and what to see, but are more likely to book further in advance than other groups. They are also more likely to visit several destinations during one trip, and stay for longer periods.
Cultural heritage tourists can be further segmented into two dedicated groups:
- Motivated cultural tourists: seek self-development and learning about new cultures and histories is the primary purpose of the trip.
- Incidental cultural tourists: take part in cultural heritage activities as one part of a wider trip.
The largest demographic segment is the 55+,year olds, who are cash and time rich; the ‘grey market’. As the population ages in Western countries, this segment is increasing in size.
Where do they come from?
The top source markets for cultural heritage tourism are the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, France, Brazil and Australia.
- Americans are key cultural heritage tourists and in 2009 it was estimated that some 118.3 million adults participated in some form of cultural heritage tourism, or 78% of the US leisure tourist population. They were also reported to spend more than other groups of travellers, spending an average of US$994 per trip, compared with US$611.
- The European cultural heritage market is also highly developed and there are sites of international importance throughout the continent which attract millions of cultural heritage tourists annually. In the UK, the total value of inbound tourism to the cultural heritage market is estimated to be US$3.86 billion.
- The Japanese have a keen interest in historical and cultural factors when selecting overseas travel destinations and are interested in learning about different cultures and languages. 60% of Japanese tourists would include history and culture as the most important factor for selecting an overseas destination.
- Although a key source for cultural heritage tourism and the closest market to the South Pacific, Australians and New Zealanders generally choose to travel to Europe or Asia for cultural heritage reasons, driven largely by ease of access and value for money (Asia) and historical connections (Europe).
What types of groups enjoy a CH holiday?
- The honeymoon and wedding market are important to the cultural heritage segment in the South Pacific, even though the primary reason for visiting the region is not cultural heritage; day trips to visit local villages, markets and festivals are often highlights.
- The Visiting Family and Relatives market from Europe en route to Australia and New Zealand play an important role in the cultural heritage market in the South Pacific. These visitors encompass a range of groups and ages including backpackers and gap year travellers, and post-family groups visiting relatives, children and/or grandchildren. With time and money at their disposal albeit at varying levels, they may take stopovers in other countries while travelling.
- General leisure holidaymakers from the US and Europe are more likely to pre-book one or two-day cultural tours during their stay compared with Australians and New Zealanders who are more inclined to book locally.