What is Heritage Travel and How Can It Benefit You?
Frequently Asked Questions about Heritage Travel
What is the concept of heritage tourism?
Heritage tourism is described as "traveling to experience locations, artifacts, and activities that authentically reflect the stories and people of the past and present," according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Political, historical, and natural resources are all included." To put it another way, Heritage Tourism is a form of travel where you pursue an authentic understanding of how something or a community of people used to be.
Natural, cultural, and built heritage tourism sites are the three primary categories. Landforms and rural scenery are examples of natural heritage sites; cultural heritage tourism involves attending festivals or visiting a shop that sells traditional goods and built heritage tourism includes monuments and historic homes. There are many different ways to engage with additional historical travel and heritage tourism forms through researching, volunteering, interning, or teaching abroad.
- Studying in another country. Studying abroad offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring what you're learning into practice. Suppose you study abroad in Europe, for example, instead of sitting in class reading about the Holocaust. In that case, your classroom becomes your surroundings, and you can visit locations from a textbook firsthand. You can walk on the natural grounds where your forefathers once lived and visit historic synagogues and other worship places that are still standing. Studying abroad is an ideal opportunity to learn more about cultural heritage tourism.
- Volunteer Abroad. Humanity benefits from the preservation of unique locations. If you want to volunteer abroad, consider helping to conserve a heritage site for future generations of travelers by working on a conservation project anywhere in the world. This form of volunteer work is advantageous because it means that heritage travel can provide meaningful opportunities for others.
- Work as an intern in another country. During my internship in Warsaw, I participated in a cemetery clean-up at the Warsaw Jewish cemetery, a day of memorial ceremonies in Jedwabne, Poland, at seven separate memorials cycle ride from the Auschwitz-Birkenau gates to the Jewish Community Center in Krakow with the office I worked for. Internships in other countries can, of course, offer similar opportunities to visit heritage sites as part of your work hours. You can also use your temporary backyard to spend weekends visiting heritage sites and learning as much as possible about the people who live or have lived in the country where you are working. A full-dimension view of the country would be beneficial to you.
- Teach in a foreign country. By completely integrating into the local culture, you can learn about your heritage! When teaching English abroad, you can tailor your own experience by enrolling in a program that places you with indigenous people at a heritage site. You can learn about their culture and contribute to preserving their environment while also learning about your family history through cultural heritage tourism.
Heritage travel attracts a wide variety of people.
Heritage travel is open to those with interest in learning new things. People of all ages and backgrounds can experience heritage tourism during short school holidays, gap years, or family vacations.
Religious travel or pilgrimages are famous examples of heritage tourism. For example, many Catholic students studying abroad in Italy might enjoy visiting the Vatican, and some Muslim volunteers volunteering in the Middle East might add a hajj to their itinerary. Suppose you're a first-generation immigrant from Latin America or East Asia. In that case, you might use your internship abroad to learn your family's native language or to gain a new perspective on your family's culture or background. I was eager to learn more about Jewish heritage as a Jewish student studying abroad, visiting pre-war synagogues, and hearing Jewish families' stories from the past.
The essential advantages of heritage travel
- Recall ability
When you return from a holiday, you will almost certainly be asked, "So, what did you do on your trip?" People generally want more than a generic response; they want an example of something unique you've done and why you liked it. Heritage travel will give you an immediate and ongoing response! Heritage events, according to travelers, make trips more enjoyable than trips without them because they experience something concrete and different.
- It helps to improve local economies.
According to a report conducted by the Travel Industry Association, heritage travelers spend more time and money at their destinations than other types of travelers. This leads to the growth of sustainable local economies, which are often ignored in favor of larger tourist attractions. Visiting heritage sites generates employment in local businesses while also instilling pride in the city by allowing residents to collaborate on cultural growth.
- Offers a more dynamic tourism experience
Relaxing at the beach is good, but imagine how many more stories can be shared when a trip has material and substance. Heritage travel helps you to widen your horizons and extend the places you visit beyond a few cities, in addition to the typical ocean and sand holiday.
- Promotes awareness and reinforces the identity
Heritage tourism adds a whole new dimension to travel and can be both entertaining and educational. You will learn more about yourself, your ancestors, and members of your race, religion, or society, as well as cultures and backgrounds that are different from your own. What we learn in school can be challenging to comprehend, but you can really understand what a particular identity entails when connecting with sites in person.
- Enhances your learning capacity—especially when coupled with a study abroad program
The best thing about formal programs abroad is that you have the right container for doing deep thinking and reflecting on what you're learning. It's not that your itinerary is taken care of (although being free of such logistics IS pretty awesome! ); it's that you have the right container for doing deep thinking and reflecting on what you're learning. Rather than just seeing and experiencing cultural heritage tourism, a program abroad might be able to provide you with a better context for participating in the culture. With the aid of a reliable mentor or dedicated time for contemplation, turning experiences into hard-won lessons is much more comfortable.
That's why combining heritage tourism with an international program can be a win-win situation for everybody!
Follow in your ancestors' footsteps.
Heritage travel allows you to get to know yourself—and your family—on a whole new level.
I began searching for mezuzah traces everywhere I went in Europe soon after. I didn't want to walk past a house with so many secrets—a place that might have been my relatives' or a friend's grandparents' house. Each mezuzah trace revealed a tale that was brought to life by the Jewish object.
Finding mezuzah traces across Europe was one way to communicate with the Jewish people's roots and learn about Jewish life in countries before World War II. Heritage travel will enrich your time on programs abroad in several ways, even if it is just for a short trip, and it will affect how you remember a place once you return home.