Arts, Tourism, & Cultural Diplomacy
This essay looks at the changing face of tourism in America, as well as the role that the arts may play in positively impacting those changes over the next 10–15 years. In particular, this essay proposes the following trends and associated arts interventions:
- Increasingly, tourists will seek deeply authentic experiences and will sidestep kitsch or other more manufactured representations. Tourism will emphasize cultural experiences to respond to this increased desire to discover and explore new truths through historical and cultural resources and arts-based interpretation.
- Tourists will seek active experience as much as simply wanting to be in a physical destination as an observer. History, sensory experiences, and engaging activities that will leave a lasting memory will be paramount. A community’s arts, crafts, and cultural traditions will be increasingly engaged to provide this deep level of experience, historical access, and memory.
- A general increased awareness of, and interest in, cultural differences will bring about a time when much tourism is centered around both domestic and international tourists being interested in learning about other cultural traditions. This soft diplomacy will be carried forward through the showcasing of local artistic and cultural experiences, interpretive activities, and the participatory arts.
Excerpted from Arts & America: Arts, Culture, and the Future of America’s Communities. This essay looks at the changing face of tourism in America, as well as the role that the arts may play in positively impacting those changes over the next 10–15 years. The full book of essays can be purchased in Americans for the Arts online store.