The ATLAS Cultural Tourism Project: Summary of Research Results

In order to try and find out more about the phenomenon of cultural tourism the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS) developed its Cultural Tourism Research Programme in 1991. Since then, the programme has undertaken more than 40,000 interviews with visitors to cultural attractions, with the express aim of understanding more about the motivations, profile, behaviour and attitudes of cultural tourists. The programme started with studies in Europe, but in recent years has included other areas of the world as well.  

The latest research was conducted in 2013. This section presents a summary of the results for 2007. A report on the period 2008-2013 will be available soon.

For the 2007 research programme, a number of important changes were made in the basic survey questionnaire, including the introduction of a more flexible modular format. The same basic questionnaire will now be maintained until at least 2010, allowing survey partners the opportunity to build up a significant series of comparable data. 

The research programme in 2007 included participants from six European countries, Mexico and Vietnam. This is the first time that data has been collected in Mexico or Vietnam, and the national survey of cultural visitors in Italy organised by IRAT was the first time that data has been collected there since the ATLAS surveys began in 1992.

 2007 research programme participants

Researchers

Institution

Country

Dr. Birgit Pikkemaat

Irina Kapavik

 

University of Innsbruck

Austria

Clara Petrillo

Immacolata Vellecco

Anna Maffia

 

IRAT - Istituto di Ricerche sulle Attività Terziarie

Italy

Giovanni Ruggieri

 

University of Palermo

Italy

Andrea Macchiavelli

 

University of Bergamo

Italy

Luciana Lazzeretti

Francesco Capone

 

University of Florence

Italy

Jānis Kalnačs

 

 

Vidzeme University College

Latvia

Patricia Dominguez Silva

 

 

Observatorio Turistico de la Ciudad de Puebla

Mexico

Carlos Fernandes

 

 

Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo

Portugal

Ilie Rotariu

 

 

Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu

Romania

Tijana Rakic

 

Napier University

UK

Lee Joliffe

 

Huong Bui

Hanoi University and University of New Brunswick

Vietnam/Canada

 The 2007 surveys were carried out at a total of 20 sites or locations. These sites yielded a total of over 4600 completed surveys. In all locations a minimum of 200 completed surveys were collected, but Mexico, Italy and Vietnam generated the largest samples of visitors.

 Surveys by location

 

number

%

Mexico

1244

26,7

Athens

200

4,3

Latvia

349

7,5

Italy

1209

25,9

Austria

220

4,7

Romania

280

6,0

Portugal

204

4,4

Vietnam

960

20,6

Total

4666

100,0

 A large proportion of the surveys conducted in 2007 were undertaken across a city as a whole rather than at a specific site. The advantage of this approach is to identify more closely the proportion of cultural tourists in the general stream of visitors to a city. In terms of specific cultural sites surveyed, historic sites, archaeological sites and museums were most strongly represented.

Type of survey location 

Type of site

Number

%

Museum

737

26,7

Religious site

400

4,3

Historic site

805

7,5

Festival

280

25,9

Gallery/exhibition

91

4,7

Whole city

1668

6,0

Heritage/tourism centre

83

4,4

Archaeological site

602

20,6

Total

4666

100,0

 The surveys completed in 2007 bring the total number of cultural tourism interviews to over 40,000 between 1992 and 2007. From 2007 onwards, the results of the different survey years will be amalgamated to facilitate longitudinal analysis and to provide project participants with richer data.

Key results

The results of the 2007 surveys indicate a further growth in the proportion of tourists taking cultural holidays, up from 17% in 1997 to 31% in 2007. This indicates that cultural tourism may be growing in importance in the market mix of destinations worldwide.

Proportion of tourists surveyed who were on a cultural holiday 1997-2007

In terms of the favourite destinations for cultural tourists, Paris and Rome consolidated their position in 2007, with Paris being ranked among the top five cultural cities by over 60% of respondents and Rome being mentioned by just under 60%. Sibiu in Romania saw a marked increase in awareness as a cultural destination thanks to its staging of the European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Cities ranked among the top five cultural holiday destinations by ATLAS respondents 2007

 Download a copy of the 2007 summary report here

Other ATLAS Cultural Tourism Studies

Richards, G. (1996) Cultural Tourism in Europe. CAB International, Wallingford, 352pp.

Richards, G. (1999, ed) Developing and Marketing Crafts Tourism. ATLAS, Arnhem.

Richards, G. (2001, ed.) Cultural Attractions and European Tourism. CAB International, Wallingford. 259pp.

Richards, G. (2001) El desarollo del turismo cultural en Europa. Estudios Turísticos no. 150.

Hjalager, A-M. and Richards, G. (2002, eds) Tourism and Gastronomy. Routledge, London.

Richards, G., Hitters, E. and Fernandes, C. (2002) Rotterdam and Porto Cultural Capitals of Europe 2001: Visitor surveys. ATLAS, Arnhem.

Fernandes C. McGettigan F. and Edwards J. ed (2003) Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage. ATLAS.

Richards, G. (2004) New directions for cultural tourism? Tourism Market Trends, World Tourism Organisation, pp. 137-148.

Van der Ark, L.A. and Richards, G. (2006) Attractiveness of cultural activities in European cities: A latent class approach. Tourism Management 27, 1408-1413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2005.12.014

Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2006) Developing Creativity in Tourist Experiences: A Solution to the Serial Reproduction of Culture? Tourism Management 27, 1209-1223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2005.06.002

Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2006) The Creative Turn in Regeneration: Creative Spaces, Spectacles and Tourism in Cities. In Smith, M. (ed.) Tourism, Culture and Regeneration, pp. 12-24.

Richards, G. (2007, ed.) Cultural Tourism: Global and local perspectives. New York: Haworth Press.

Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2007) Tourism, Creativity and Development. London: Routledge.

Richards, G. and Pereiro, X. (2007) Cultural Tourism: Negotiating identities. Vila Real: UTAD.

Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2008) Changing experiences: The development of creative tourism. Arnhem: ATLAS.

 Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2008) The Changing Context of Cultural Tourism.  Arnhem: ATLAS.

 Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2008) Changing Structures of Collaboration in Cultural Tourism.  Arnhem: ATLAS.

 Richards, G. and Wilson, J. (2008) Changing Places – The spatial challenge of creativity.  Arnhem: ATLAS.

Richards, G. and Rotariu, I. (2008) Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007: Evaluation report. Arnhem: ATLAS.

Richards, G. (2008) Un nuovo turismo culturale per una nuova Europa. (A new cultural tourism for a new Europe) L’Annuario del Turismo e Della Cultura 2008. Milan: Touring Club Italiano, pp. 418-422.

Richards, G. (In press) Turismo Cultural: Padrões e implicações. In de Camargo, P. and da Cruz, G. (ed.) Turismo Cultural.  Salvador: Bahia University Press.