Cultural Heritage Tourism Creative Survival Tactics in Dire Economic TimesCultural Heritage Tourism Creative Survival Tactics in Dire Economic Times

The economic downturn has affected many organizations and entrepreneurs in the cultural and heritage tourism industry—historic sites and museums closing, state and local programs eliminated, drastically reduced tourism budgets, and programs and organizations cutting back their operations.

Cultural Heritage Tourism Creative Survival Tactics in Dire Economic TimesResponding creatively to dire economic times, Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville used Groupon and Living Social online discounts coupled with wine tastings to attract new visitors.  This is one of almost 100 survival tactics in the online Cultural Heritage Tourism Survival Toolkit. Photo courtesy of Belle Meade Plantation
Despite the economic losses in revenue and budget cuts, many cultural and heritage organizations have found creative ways to  meet their mission and create new opportunities. These success stories in dire times have been captured in a new online resource developed by the Heritage Tourism Program of National Trust for Historic Preservation’s with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Cultural Heritage Tourism Survival Toolkit brings together almost 100 examples of organizations finding ways to do more with less, leveraging technology to serve and  attract audiences and make their case. These are three of the eleven different strategies in a searchable database of case studies.

Among examples in the toolkit is the use of Flickr to support a visual marketing campaign for Baker County Oregon. A new research study commissioned by the Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites program to demonstrate the economic impact of Wyoming’s state parks. A conference convened by Virginia's Stratford Hall of game designers, storytellers and cultural critics, who did some out-of-the box thinking on how to re-fashion historic sites and house museums like Stratford Hall to attract and engage new audiences.

In addition to this online resource, the Heritage Tourism Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation is compiled a list of similar survival toolkit resources for  museums, arts organizations, historic sites, communities, heritage areas, scenic byways and others. The program also offers organizations a Survival Bootcamp program.