The Benefits And Disadvantage Of Heritage Tourism

Performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii.

A new way of travel is for people to travel with a purpose, either for heritage or culture travel, and to be able to learn something new along the way. We are grateful for traveling to discover the world or live as global citizens.

There are many benefits and disadvantages to heritage tourism. If done correctly, heritage tourism can be a fantastic way to discover another culture, location, or history. But if it is done incorrectly, it can be a disaster not just for the culture but also for the society and may bring irreversible environmental issues.

Benefits Of Heritage Tourism

There are many benefits to heritage tourism and how this tourism can help a country, culture, and society.

Heritage Tourism Helps Others Discover A Culture

Dancing on Boat At Polynesian Cultural Center
Traditional Dancers At The Polynesian Cultural Center In Laie, Hawaii.

Whenever I visit Hawaii, one of my favorite places is the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii. The Polynesia Cultural Center is part of the BYU Hawaii campus and brings together cultures from the Polynesian Islands.

At the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can discover the food, dance, houses, and cultures of many people who live in Polynesia. The center is an excellent example of an organization that is seeking to help to preserve the culture of the Polynesian islands while at the same time allowing visitors to be able to explore and understand a bit more about this beautiful part of the world.

I have always been fascinated with the Polynesian culture and have loved watching many of the shows at the Polynesian Cultural Center, especially their night show that has some beautiful fire dances and other types of dances from the Polynesian area.

I have never been to many of these countries in Polynesia, but I have discovered and appreciated these cultures because I visited the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii.

At the core of what good heritage tourism does, is that it helps individuals to be able to understand a culture, location, or even another place or time. We can be transported to a place we would usually not experience through heritage tourism.

Heritage Tourism Can Give An Economic Boost

Face it, without heritage tourism, there would be many cultures that cannot survive or sustain themselves. The culture and the people may remain in such poverty that their culture can essentially disappear.

Most notable would be when people realize that they can no longer find any sustainable work in their own culture or country, so they try to go to another location to find work. Eventually, that culture may disappear or become extinct.

Heritage travel may give an area a much-needed economic boost and allow individuals to remain in their culture while at the same time earning a fair wage and a decent income.

Hmong tour guide
Hmong Guides in Sapa Vietnam,  by Culture Trip

In Sapa, Vietnam, many Hmong tour guides have a better life because they can participate in tourism. It allows these Hmong guides to keep their culture alive and work in their home location while showing others a bit about their Hmong culture.

Many of these Hmong tour guides are far better off financially than some of the other Hmong counterparts that live in other parts of Vietnam, where there is not a lot of tourism. The tourism industry can support their families, and they learn to speak another language such as English; this helps ensure that their children can remain in school and be educated.

Helps Preserve Cultures And History

Heritage tourism can help a country, location, or preserve its culture and history. Without tourism, there would not be an economical or another benefit to investing in all of the things that are invested in that need to be invested in to ensure that culture or an aspect of history remains alive.

A street at Colonial Williamsburg
A street at Colonial Williamsburg

A great example of a location that has been able to do this is Colonial Williamsburg in the United States. When you visit Colonial Williamsburg is fascinating to see all of the old buildings and the way of life that many of our colonial ancestors lived during that time.

Historic Yorktown
Historic Yorktown is the famous site of the Revolutionary War Siege of Yorktown. This place is located at Colonial Williamsburg by Renee Hahnel

Without the operation of Colonial Williamsburg, this part of the United States history could almost be lost entirely. But because of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, we can still learn about life in Colonial Williamsburg during this period.

Disadvantage Of Heritage Tourism

There are advantages of heritage tourism there can lead to other issues in a culture or country. The problem is that if heritage tour tourism is not done correctly, it can turn into a social or a cultural problem.

Heritage Tourism Can Turn A Culture Into A Circus Act

If heritage tourism is not done correctly, it can almost turn the culture into a circus act. This means that the culture will be lost and hurt by heritage tourism.

The truth is that there are very few places now that are still off the beaten track. Today airplanes, trains, or busses can reach most parts of the world, everything from an Eskimo Village to an Amazon tribe.

People can go on a tour to infringe upon individuals and communities like never before, and instead of trying to protect and understand these places of the world, they may instead treat them as a circus act.

The danger of Heritage tourism is that for a place to lure in tourism dollars, they may destroy their culture and way of life and make it seem cheap or unimportant.

Listen To Our Podcast About The Good, Bad, And Ugly of Heritage Tourism below or by clicking here.

Heritage Tourism Can Destroy The Culture Or Location

When many early explorers traveled worldwide on their large sailing ships, they also brought many diseases. Today, with global pandemics and other aspects of life, heritage tourism can cause many social, political, and even cultural issues that a location may have never seen before.

I have seen in some areas where suddenly there can be an influx of certain types of foreigners or foreign influences that brothels, prostitution, and other things like this start to spring up in locations that once never thought of having these establishments.

The locals began to see that they could earn income and get foreign dollars by providing these services. But instead, what happens a lot of times is an increase in diseases, unwed mothers, and the society and family unit starts to disintegrate.

I have seen this happen throughout the world, especially in many parts of Asia. Even under the disguise of Heritage tourism, tourism can also bring social and other problems if not handled correctly.

Tribe
Heritage Tourism Can Destroy the Culture or Location

Heritage tourism can cause social problems to a society or culture where the tourism is taking place.

Heritage Tourism Can Hurt The Environment

Heritage tourism can hurt the environment, especially where the tours occur. This is because suddenly there can be many people coming to a location that is not used to having so many visitors.

A street sweeper cleaning a park that full of trash left by visitors

Things such as pollution, waste, and just the use of single-use plastics thrown on the ground or in the waterways can hurt the environment. The pollutions may affect many small farmers trying to grow crops to survive and support their families.

One of the most significant drawbacks of heritage tourism, when not handled correctly, is environmental issues. Environmental issues can become irreversible in some cases as pollution has gotten so far out of hand.

We believe that anyone looking to live their life as a global citizen should also be responsible for all types of tourism that they may do. Any time you visit another culture, location, or place, you should always try to live to leave it better than it was when you got there.

At A Bus On A Dusty Road, we talk about all things to do with travel, life, and ex-pat living. We are all about “Living Life As A Global Citizen.” We explore social, cultural, and economic issues and travel.

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What is Heritage Travel? Helping You Get The Most Out of Heritage Travel

Heritage travel is about traveling to immerse yourself in another culture, time, or place. It is about seeking to reconnect to your past, present, and future. The correct way to travel with heritage travel is to make sure you take the time to research and plan your journey.

By clicking here, you can discover What is Heritage Travel? Helping You Get The Most Out of Heritage Travel.

Is Vietnam Safe For Tourists? Tips To Stay Safe In Vietnam

Vietnam is a safe place for tourists to travel. But like any country in the world, there are precautions that you need to take to ensure your safety. Most Vietnam crimes are considered crimes of opportunity; someone may see your backpack is not secure so they will grab it. To stay safe in Vietnam, remain vigilant and use your common sense.

To learn more, you can read our blog on Is Vietnam Safe For Tourists? Tips To Stay Safe In Vietnam by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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