Lifestyle Fashion

Cultural Tourism – Be the Tourist that Makes the Difference

I define cultural tourism as a form of active tourism that seeks to enrich people while strengthening the cultural heritage of local communities. As a consultant in cultural development and promotion, I often meet key officials in the field of tourism. I have understood through time and personal experiences that the quality of tourism and its offers does not simply depend on the resources of a country. It also depends on the current tourist demand.

I decided to write this article to help you find better activities as a tourist. Here I propose cultural activities as the main axis of your trips and discoveries.

It is quite unfortunate that certain Mediterranean countries have acquired a reputation for offering, as we might delicately say, ‘amorous’ tourist attractions. This is also the case in many Asian countries. I recognize that this form of tourism exists and is largely linked to poverty beyond ‘local cultural practices’. These same countries, on the other hand, are paradises on earth for quality tourism.

For a cultural vision of a country, I recommend the following 5 activities:

1. Visit local landscapes. These can be sacred places, often linked to ritual practices. It gives you an insight into the local people and local customs. One of my favorites is Mount Agung in Bali. You will feel such a strong local emptiness and new spiritual horizons.

2. Take the opportunity to stroll through the artisan neighborhoods of the old quarters. My all time favorite is the soap making workshops in Nablus, Palestine. It produces the best soap ever, related to Damascus soap making. You will learn how to make soap and acquire some treasures for the home, while strengthening a local craft that has been practiced for 1,000 years.

3. Each country has gastronomic specialties. I love Turkish ice cream, also known as salep ‘dondurma’ flavor. Try these varieties and admire them. Soon you will receive free samples. This ice cream is cut with a knife!

4. Visit a local music event. I suggest you stay away from the tourist oriented concerts, they can get cheesy. My most intense musical experience was outside a traditional Greek coffee shop. Some locals had gathered and played improvisations on the bouzouki instrument. I danced all night long! I even learned something myself!

5. Participate in a local sport. I made a fool of myself trying to play rugby in India and laughed at myself like never before. The locals appreciated it so much that they treated me to curry dinner every night.

As in all my articles, I encourage you to make a difference in the way you approach tourism for yourself and for others. Get out of the ordinary to spend an extraordinary vacation.


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