Cultural Tourism Benefits from Comprehensive Planning

As instructor for the University of British Columbia’s Cultural Tourism Course offered as part of the certificate program in cultural planning, I recognize the importance – and value – of comprehensive place-based planning. Not only does a holistic approach cast a wide net to the definition of culture, where the community can decide its parameters or inclusiveness, but also serves as a platform to address several issues impacting the development, marketing and sustainability of cultural tourism. How cultural tourism planning is unique for destinations is the focus on customer needs (the visitor or tourist) as well outlining the desired benefits to cultural institutions and value to residents. This three-legged stool of stakeholders – visitors, cultural institutions, residents – complements the sustainable tourism strategy often considered as the “triple bottom line” or people, place, planet. As cultural tourism grows as a value proposition for destinations, comprehensive planning is vital to ensuring fully integrated and balanced implementation strategies realize the desired, measurable benefits articulated in community goals and vision.

– Cheryl Hargrove, August 2013