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Edited by Ruth Towse
Chapter 24: Cultural Tourism
24 Cultural tourism Lluís Bonet Introduction The phenomenon of cultural tourism, despite not having attained any special recognition from the tourism industry itself or from the field of cultural promotion as a whole, existed long before tourism was even structured into a particular sector of the economy. A large number of the travellers who for various reasons moved throughout Italy, Greece, Egypt and the Holy Land centuries ago can be seen as pioneers of the present-day concept of cultural tourism. Beyond excitement and adventure, these intellectuals and artists, who often left a trail of texts, drawings and music behind them, were propelled onward by a curiosity about different cultures and a desire to be inspired by the classic landmarks of history and art. Not until the second half of the twentieth century, as increased income and free time became widespread among developed countries, would these journeys begin to acquire a significant following. The main destinations of these travels would be those grand monuments and cities with an established richness in cultural heritage and, to a lesser degree, exotic places made fashionable by great discoveries or by alternative movements (many hippies, for example, made pilgrimages to India during the 1960s). Nevertheless, the current reality of cultural tourism, while sharing a curiosity and awakened longing for exploring diverse cultures, has little to do with either romantic notions of adventure or with scientific interest. It has ceased to be an unusual request by a minority of travellers who had to resolve their...
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