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Cultural & Heritage Tourism Toolkit

Welcome to the exciting prospect of cultural heritage-based tourism in your community! Hundreds of millions of journeys are taken each year to appreciate the cultural heritage of places. These activities are becoming increasingly popular in Colorado and throughout the United States, and your community can become involved too!

Heritage tourism may occur anywhere, so why not include it in your region if you have the assets to promote? Whether your community has a long tradition of heritage-based tourism, or you are just now deciding to get involved. To start, it is important to understand the meanings of, and prospects for, cultural and heritage tourism, who its markets are, how you can begin to develop it, and what variables influence a destination’s success. This toolkit addresses these issues and provides insight into emerging trends and resources that you can use to learn more about this important form of tourism.

Note regarding using this toolkit: This toolkit consists of seven different components. While we recommend that you go through all of these documents in the listed order, you may also feel free to skip around and visit the materials that are most relevant to your needs.

1. Part 1: Getting Started – To prepare you for considering whether or not cultural heritage-based tourism is right for your community, this introduction looks at what cultural tourism and heritage tourism are and the types of activities, assets and products that are typically considered part of this form of tourism.

2. Part 2: The Heritage Tourism Market – It is important to know the current market and potential market(s) for heritage tourism. This section describes the broad market characteristics of heritage tourists and the current trends in this area of tourism.

3. Part 3: Preparing for Heritage Tourism in Your Community – Taking the information from Parts 1 and 2, this section provides an understanding of what it takes to become involved in heritage tourism and how to get started planning it.

4. Part 4: Factors of Success – This part looks at the actions and ideas that have been successful in many different cultural destinations and how they might apply to tourism in your community.

5. Case Studies - These three case studies illustrate a variety of heritage tourism issues from different parts of Colorado. As you read through them, think about how these issues (and others) might relate to your own community’s potential to develop or expand your heritage tourism offerings.

  • Georgetown Loop Railroad — Georgetown, Colorado – collaboration, providing experiences and products, authenticity, heritage routes, ordinary heritage, industrial heritage, hobby-focused tourism
  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site — La Junta, Colorado – preservation, interpretation, authenticity, Native American heritage, European settler heritage
  • Colorado’s Creative Districts — Various locations throughout the state – living culture, built heritage, trails, collaboration, clustering, sustainability, art, local development, community participation

6. Strategies for Colorado Heritage Tourism Booklet – This document, published by the Colorado Heritage Area Partnership, provides a helpful plan to assist communities and regions in the state in their heritage tourism development efforts.

7. Resource Guide - Want more information? See these additional resources and visit these links to delve even deeper into how you can initiate or continue to develop tourism based on heritage, culture and the arts in Colorado.