News & events > New UNWTO Report on Tourism and Culture Synergies
19 Mar 2018

New UNWTO Report on Tourism and Culture Synergies

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently published a report entitled Tourism and Culture Synergies, which highlights the symbiotic relationship existing between tourism and culture and the interdependency of the two sectors. The report, undertaken through a survey of UNWTO member states and expert opinion, affirms that cultural tourism plays a major role in global tourism today. It also reveals that the sub-sector, in keeping with the changes to tourism as a whole, has been transformed by changing lifestyles, new forms of culture and creativity, and evolution and innovation in technology. Analysing the results of the survey conducted to prepare the report, lead expert Dr. Greg Richards concluded that "The dynamic relationship between tourism and culture means that the nature of the cultural tourist and the culture that they consume is changing rapidly. In particular models of cultural tourism based on tangible heritage are being augmented by growth in intangible heritage and creativity." As a result, 'cultural tourism' now needs to be considered as a much broader field than 20-30 years ago: "More stakeholders are involved, and the role of local communities as part of the cultural tourism experience has expanded dramatically. The tourists themselves have also become co-creators of their own experiences." The report concludes that "Cultural tourism is set to remain one of the key tourism markets in the future. The expanded range of cultural phenomena consumed by tourists will also increase the range of stakeholders involved in this market, with local communities becoming one of the keys to the sustainable development of cultural experiences. In order to make effective policies, however, more information is needed on the profile, motivations and needs of cultural tourists. This in turn requires better research, linked more closely to policy objectives." Specific recommendations include the need to:
  • Create a vision for cultural tourism to link and energize stakeholders;
  • Generate better information;
  • Develop more specific cultural tourism policy;
  • Create more targeted cultural tourism marketing activity;
  • Ensure cultural protection;
  • Make effective use of new technologies; and
  • Foster stakeholder collaboration
The UNWTO report on Tourism and Culture Synergies can be downloaded for free at