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Partnering to Promote Heritage Tourism in Local Communities: Guidance for Federal AgenciesChallenges of Heritage Tourism
Challenges of Heritage Tourism
Despite its many benefits, heritage tourism can pose challenges for communities. On the one hand, increased tourism can have unintended consequences if resources and infrastructure cannot accommodate the influx. The physical integrity of historic places can be compromised if visitation is not managed so as to prevent damage and overuse, and popular heritage tourism destinations run the risk of being “loved to death.” More visitors can also mean more trash, traffic, vandalism, theft, and invasion of privacy. If you are partnering with a non-Federal party on a heritage tourism project, whether it involves a property you administer or not, be sure to consider these potential problems in developing the project or initiative.You should also be concerned about sustainability. If Federal resources will be expended in connection with a local heritage tourism initiative, there should be a reasonable expectation that the initiative can be sustained. For example, if a Federal agency is helping to develop a local visitor interpretive center – either through funding or cooperative staffing and development – there should be an operational or business plan setting forth how the center will be supported and utilized over the long term.