How should Historians be involved with Tourism

History is a vital companion to tourism. Tourists want to see ‘old things’, places where their ancestors lived, learn about things their ancestors did. The study of history can help to identify places and objects of interest to tourists…Loreley Morling University of Western Australia.

Cultural heritage tourism is largely untapped in Australia. Tourist authorities stress natural heritage (coral, kangaroos and wildflowers) or the larrikin ocker (Paul Hogan, Steve Irwin).

Heritage tourism showcases Australia’s history and, as the experience of other new world societies like the United States and Canada, has great potential to attract travellers with education, money to spend, and high expectations…Assoc Prof Jenny Gregory University of Western Australia.

There can be a judicious mix of history and tourism provided that tourism ventures provide the correct history and not a jumbled version. And that is where the role of professional historians can come in, as they are the people who should be providing the information to tourism operators…Dr Christine Wright (Braidwood)

Professional historians already have a central role in heritage tourism, primarily through the preparation of thematic histories for local government heritage studies and historical research of individual heritage items.

As history is principally the activity of telling stories about the past heritage tourism needs to tell engaging stories that are based on the work of professional historians and local researchers. History is therefore vital in reclaiming tourism from the dry recitation of facts that too often passes for the interpretation of heritage places.

Stories connecting places with people from the past are the key to a more involving tourism experience…Murray Brown Heritage Office NSW.

History does not need to be sacrificed for tourism development. The general public are more than interested in history, it is the ways and means through which historians choose to communicate history which need to be sacrificed. Historians need to work collaboratively and have an understanding of the needs of tourism development…Megan Sheehy University of Melbourne

Whether natural, cultural or Indigenous heritage, or a combination of all three, Australia’s regional heritage tourism importance cannot be underestimated. Heritage tourism has enormous potential for growth in regional communities…Australian Heritage Commission

There must be building of relationship between tourism and heritage. Development and promotion of Heritage tourism products and services to be completed by professionals not hobby groups…Cathy Dunn Program Director of www.heritagetourism.com.au

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