Cultural tourism is referred to as a type of tourism activity that allows the visitors to learn, discover, experience and consume the tangible and intangible cultural attractions or products in a specific tourism destination. These attractions or products relate to a set of distinctive material, intellectual, spiritual and emotional features of a society that encompasses arts and architecture, historical and cultural heritage, culinary heritage, literature, music, creative industries and the living cultures with their lifestyles, value systems, beliefs and traditions.
Namibia is aptly referred to as a melting pot of cultures due to the different traditions and communities. Communities vary from Nama, Damara, Baster, Coloureds, Hereros, Himbas, Germans, Afrikaaners, San, Aawambo as well as others. These communities are sought after by locals as well as international visitors and this gradually leads to cultural tourism.
Culture is a unifier, and without its presence, tourism would not be able to flourish. Wherever people journey to, they have a yearning to unearth the way others live, preserve vital customs, and delight in gastronomic opportunities. More so, it presents a chance for local economic development in addition to merely a traveller's personal development throughout the journey.
The UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, emphasised at a conference that, “Culture is one of the drivers of tourism growth, so protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable development are part of the same equation.”
With the above mentioned, it is vital to express how cultural tourism can continuously be sustained:
Sustainability and legacy
It is important that cultural studies are incorporated within school curriculums in both primary and secondary stages. This informs children from a tender age about diversity and aids to develop open-minded individuals, whereby they are accepting of those that are unlike them. In essence, it develops a legacy overtime, as these children will eventually work within various industries, which would result in a leap to a multi-ethnic and unbiased community.
Creative industry and tourism diversification
Creative industries should be involved in the development of the cultural tourism, through which they are offered an opportunity to develop distinctive cultural offerings that would intrigue various visitors. Therefore, opportunities and financial support should be granted to local community members to enable them to continuously flourish. More so, with the ever-changing world due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-monetary collaborations amid industries are also quite helpful to the creative offerings and diversification of offerings.
When local community members are offered the assistance and opportunity to develop unique cultural tourism offerings, it allows them to freely create that which they are passionate about and instantaneously take ownership thereof. This then leads to a generation of income and assists communities to become financially sustainable, and allows them to furthermore uphold their culture into the next generation.
There are many other ways in which cultural tourism can be sustained through, however the hope is that the unification of the above and more measures can be accurately implemented in order to sustain this spectrum of tourism.
Check out other interesting blogs relating to culture here.
Author – I’m Ndinelao Shikemeni, from a small village called Ongha in Namibia. I am intrigued by research, writing and photography as it is an ideal way to gain knowledge about people and the world. And of course… to share it too!