The tourism sector and the travel industry are two of the most significant, important, and valuable areas of services and services. As a rule, the term “tourism” implies a specific individual or group of people’s journey and temporary departure to a certain territory for recreational, educational, professional, business, sports, religious, and other purposes. Accordingly, heritage attractions are the objects and items that reflect a specific culture, epoch, worldview, values, and traditions of a particular people and country. Attractions are part of tourism, and therefore, the uniqueness and originality of monuments, sights, paintings, sculptures, and architecture affect the well-being, reputation, and level of prosperity of a certain state. Consequently, heritage management is a practice of managing and controlling cultural heritage in the public interest.
This industry relies primarily on existing effective methods and strategies for preserving specific heritage, monuments, architecture, history, restoration, archeology, and much more. Modern tourism is especially based on world heritage sites, and therefore it is extremely important to determine ways to preserve various attractions, cultural monuments, structures. A discussion of the role of tourism and heritage attractions to destinations and technology in enhancing visitors’ engagement will be presented in this essay.
The Role of Tourism and Heritage Attractions to Destinations
Tourism as a sphere of economic activity is of great importance and has some characteristic features. Tourism serves the interests of the individual, society as a whole and is a source of income, both at the micro and macroeconomic levels. This sphere is a multifaceted branch of the economy, one of the main components of income in some countries, affecting the development of their economy and global cooperation. The “travel sector” can further identify several ways and directions of development, modernization, and reconstruction of many social phenomena and phenomena, both within the country and abroad. (Naseem, 2021, p. 117). For example, some industries are being formed, logistics services and vehicles are improving, as well as the agro-industrial complex is beginning to bear benefits.
The level of prosperity and success of the state in all respects and forms is often determined by tourist services and services, excursions and travel, attractions, and folk objects. Thus, a recent survey showed that about half of the respondents support the views and ideas that history and culture have a pronounced influence on the choice of a vacation destination (Childs). Some national monuments attract the attention and interest of people, forcing them to come to a certain place not only to relax but also to explore the heritage, feel the culture of another country. Indeed, fans of travel and new experiences will get many interesting ideas, be inspired and impressed by residents’ lifestyles, and get a lot of impressions.
In general, the role of tourism and cultural heritage attractions in travel destinations is outlined within several advantages. As a rule, they include social, economic, and environmental benefits (Childs). Tourism is the fundamental basis of the economy of many developed countries of the world. In addition, cultural heritage can inject new money into the economy, create new jobs and provide for existing ones, support businesses, and stimulate the development and maintenance of public amenities (Yehia, 2019). It also creates conditions for cultural exchange between foreigners and citizens (Yehia, 2019). Hence, foreigners comprehend the national property, while local residents can translate new products and services into reality.
As for social advantages, tourism and heritage increases social capital, contribute to the preservation of values and traditions, improve the image of the country and society, create some opportunities for the population. For instance, employment increases, and unemployment and poverty levels decrease (Morton, 2018). Additionally, tourism benefits the country within the framework of international cooperation between other states and regions (Goodman, 2021). Within the framework of ecological concepts, the tourism sector develops a love for the motherland, patriotism, and the desire to preserve the creations of ancestors (Why we all need to travel with purpose, 2019).
Nevertheless, for the active tourist use of natural territories in economically and politically developed countries, they calculate the potential of the nature protection territory and adhere to strict laws on environmental protection. This industry increases the level of knowledge about travel sites, encourages residents to realize their impact on the environment. Thus, tourist destinations and attractions should be kept safe and properly monitored. These aspects open up many opportunities, chances, and conditions that can be maximized as much as possible.
The following statistics and information illustrate some of the most popular countries regarding the number of visiting tourists. Thus, it would be more reasonable and logical to analyze the issue of the role and significance of tourism and cultural heritage on a concrete example. For example, one of the most popular, sought-after, and unforgettable places is, certainly, China, with its rich history, highly developed culture, and a strict reading of traditions, customs, and norms. The “Celestial Empire” almost always occupies a leading position in the ratings that determine countries by criteria of significance for tourists.
Hence, in 2017, the state took the 4th position, and as studies show, China did not intend to give its position to “competitors” (Rosen, 2018). As one can see, the country took first place in 2018 in terms of the number of tourists and the level of interest in local culture and attractions among foreign citizens, indigenous residents, and peoples (Buchholz, 2020). However, this may prompt a person to think and imagine that China is rather “aggressively” improving and accelerating the tourist service, not wanting to give up and lower the bar. In fact, there are those monuments and attractions that are of the greatest importance to foreigners. More than several million visitors have already visited the local palaces and seen the national heritage.
Meanwhile, China has a fairly developed economy, politics, culture, and business. The country regularly occupies the best places in the rankings for competitiveness in terms of attractiveness and interest for tourists (The travel and tourism competitiveness report 2019, 2019). The following data and knowledge briefly describe the region as one of the most significant for the world within the travel market, competitiveness, and the growing number of foreign citizens.
Today, China continues to develop and improve, including as a result of imposed tours, excursions, expeditions and the presence of important and special national sites. Moreover, the graph by “TravelChinaGuide” illustrates that inbound tourism in East Asia has been growing and flourishing rapidly over the years (China tourism, 2021). Additionally, in 2019, inbound tourism in the state amounted to about $128 billion in revenue (China, 2020). Below one can find out more about the data and facts about the incoming flow into the country and the growth rate:
Most likely, the Great Wall of China, the terracotta army, ancient palaces, and most other cultural monuments made the “name” of the area in which they are located. Approximately 90 percent of East Asian travelers stay in Beijing (Report: Choices of travelers to China in 2019, 2020). However, this is not surprising because the city is the main gateway to the heart of the country. The great wonders of the world and magnificent structures are located there – the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. According to the popularity criterion among tourists, the next major destinations are Shanghai, Xi’an, Guilin, Chengdu, and several other places. The following statistics demonstrate the popularity of specific places as a percentage:
Therefore, based on the example of China, it should be summarized that due to the cultural heritage of the ancestors and descendants of modern Chinese citizens, the country continues to succeed in the tourism sector. People from near and far abroad gather there, get acquainted with the local culture, and are inspired by its perfection. Despite this, China’s wealth and financial position are growing at the expense of foreign citizens and the indigenous inhabitants of the state. Some citizens come to major cities, plan, and book certain excursions, get to know the local cultural values and traditions of the past centuries better and firsthand. Using the example of China, it is possible to make a statement with clear confidence that the development of tourist destinations, the presence of cultural, national values plays a significant role in a country’s well-being.
The Role of Technology
The key role and importance of technologies and innovations in the process of attracting visitors to visit cultural places, museums, and heritage attractions are in the following aspects. Modern technologies not only introduce people to unique monuments, architecture, sculpture, paintings, and several other features of national culture. They also show places and phenomena that even indigenous representatives of a certain culture know little about them. Various virtual exhibitions and events contribute to the motivation and development of the tourist’s desire to visit the country where the exhibits and objects of interest represent a specific era, time, and level of culture.
Thus, today, special technologies and trends related to communication functions and interaction with various audiences are used to attract tourists. Communication with visitors is an important aspect of these concepts. This is a necessary and important condition for identifying people’s needs and requests. The information received during this stage and process determines the development direction of museums, cultural centers, excursions, and tours. In this case, high competition, the development of digital technologies, and the changing demands of visitors force various places with cultural exhibits to modernize and adapt to the new market. They actively introduce new forms of communication in digital technologies to remain relevant and in demand.
Many countries, states, cities, and regions have been implementing the virtualization of cultural heritage in the Internet space for a wide range of people. At any time and from anywhere in the world, a person can get acquainted with the exhibits based on desire and interest, even without leaving home. The network provides access to many significant excursions, and some of the services and sites do not charge a fee for viewing at all. For instance, some museums form their communities, create interactive projects, and develop a dialogue with visitors online. They interact with people visiting the museum in real life.
Consequently, new technologies are used in building communication in the exhibition space, significantly increasing the visitor’s interest in obtaining new information, the likelihood of re-visiting the museum, and researching cultural projects. Through the technology of introducing exhibits into the Internet space, objects with attractions benefit from ticket sales (Navarrete, 2019, p. 200). They also deserve worldwide recognition and respect for a certain country’s national values and traditions (Navarrete, 2019, p. 200).
Undoubtedly, the latest technologies, innovations, and progress of society create all those conditions that are extremely necessary and important for preserving the monuments (Nikonova and Biryukova, 2017, pp. 169-170). In case of loss of cultural values, the next generations will be able to get acquainted with the memorable sights. However, museums, galleries, and various repositories of exhibits are not limited to such innovations. In addition, they strive to introduce more improved forms of interaction with tourists, travelers, and people interested in the culture and customs of other countries, opening up new horizons and boundaries of technology.
Having a more accurate, visual and concrete example, there is an excellent opportunity to highlight and identify the following ideas about the world of art and attractions in the Internet space. For instance, in 2011, Google created a non-profit project Google Arts & Culture (Wani, Ali and Ganaie, 2019, pp. 112-113). This is an extensive multimedia encyclopedia in which people can find a lot of materials, including historical photographs, videos, and manuscripts (Udell, 2019, p.4). Initially, it was planned that the encyclopedia materials would cover the period from 1905 to this day. Nevertheless, the project has expanded significantly, and virtual museums have appeared in the service. Based on the experience from the previous chapter, then, for example, Chinese culture here has 42 collections and 94 stories – indeed, in the future, this collection of cultural attractions will be replenished and expanded:
The Virtual Gallery-Museum of Chinese History has more than 1000 exhibits. In addition, the gallery covers a period of 5,000 years. All exhibits have been scanned, photographed, and posted on the website with relevant reference materials. To do all this, the authors of the project spent a lot of time and effort. The virtual exhibits are collected from many different exhibitions and museums from around the world.
Hence, with the help of this service from Google, I was able to virtually “visit” the exhibition halls of the Chinese Museum “Long Museum West Bund” and get acquainted with more than 400 unique exhibits. In addition to viewing photos and images of exhibits, this Internet project also provides everyone with the opportunity to visit the outside and inside of the building. The service is supported by a convenient feature, Google Maps, and simultaneously broadcasts the “virtual visitor” wants to get (Wani, Ali and Ganaie, 2019, pp. 112-113). For example, this is how the Long Museum West Bound looks like inside:
Therefore, due to Google Art & Culture, I organized an excursion and got acquainted in more detail and in-depth with the origin of Chinese art and cultural values and traced their current trends and development. Moreover, it inspired and motivated me to trip to East Asia and see firsthand most of the exhibits and the heritage of the Chinese ancestors. Accordingly, in the future, I will try to purchase a trip to East Asia and visit the museums, get a closer look at local attractions, monuments, architecture, and objects of past eras and current generations.
In conclusion, tourism is a temporary departure of people to another country or area other than permanent residence for a certain period. Consequently, cultural heritage is an integral part and the basis of this industry. Heritage displays the legacy and traditions from the past, which invariably attracts a significant number of travelers. An important task of heritage management is to preserve, save and protect these cultural and national values to set an example for future generations. Paintings, monuments, architecture, and various objects created by representatives of a certain culture play an essential role in the modern world.
As a rule, heritage reflects the life, actions, worldview, traditions, and customs of other generations and eras. The protection of world “property” sites is a common duty of all peoples of the planet, regardless of the territory in which they live. In addition, several different technologies also help to save monuments and landmarks in the Internet space. These innovations introduce Internet users to significant subjects of past eras and modern times, protect and preserve the accumulated knowledge about cultural legacy.
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