This introductory chapter outlines the development of cultural tourism as a social practice, charting the transition from an educational sojourn for the elite to a democratized means of mass edification and the more recent emergence of cultural tourism niches in the network society. The drivers of changes in the cultural tourism practice are reviewed, including the cultural, mobilities, performative, creative and curatorial turns. The shift in attention from social structures to actor-centred explanations is outlined, along with the growing complexity of the field stemming from the growth of the network society. An argument is developed for a practice approach which involves three main strategies for rethinking creative tourism: a view that encompasses actors and structures; an emphasis on interaction and relationality; and a focus on the context as well as the content of cultural tourism. The resulting practice model of cultural tourism draws on the work of Shove, Spaargaren, Collins and others to argue for a more integrated approach to the subject. This also provides the structure of the following chapters of the volume, dealing with the role of actors, contexts and consequences of cultural tourism. A more dynamic conceptualization is proposed in which actors can shape, as well as being shaped by, the structures of cultural tourism.