The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Preservation conference explores how preservation can boost revitalization, development

  • Print

INDIANAPOLIS - Americans drawn to historic areas where they can connect with the nation's past, their family's roots or just take in the sights are fueling tourism that's in the spotlight during a national gathering of preservation experts this week in Indianapolis.

The National Preservation Conference is being held at Indianapolis' historic Union Station and other sites. Wide-ranging seminars include sessions toasting some of the success stories historic preservation can foster by helping spark revitalization in neighbourhoods and city centres.

Cultural heritage tourism — travellers drawn to areas steeped in history and unique local flavour — is big business in the U.S. Nearly 130 million Americans make such pilgrimages each year, contributing about $171 billion to local economies, according to a report this year from Mandala Research LLC.

That study also found that eight in 10 leisure travellers visit cultural or heritage sites and spend more than other travellers, said Amy Webb, field director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Denver field office.

"If you're going to travel, you want to see something you can't see at home. So they go someplace where there are unique buildings that have stories to tell of that place," she said.

Such travellers typically visit an area's shops, parks and restaurants to sample the local scene, giving them what Webb calls a "multidimensional experience that's not just about going to a museum."

The economic benefits of cultural heritage tourism is another argument local preservationists should make when they fight to save old buildings or other sites in danger of being razed, said Webb, who is among about 2,000 preservation experts attending the five-day conference, which ends Saturday.

Cultural heritage tourism has paid off for decades in Savannah, Ga., which boasts the nation's largest National Historic Landmark District and 14 other historic districts. The city near the Atlantic Coast has more than 20 city squares laden with museums, antebellum mansions, monuments and Revolutionary and Civil War sites.

Daniel Carey, president and CEO of the Historic Savannah Foundation, said more than 12 million tourists visit the Savannah area each year, adding more than $2 billion to its economy.

Carey said Savannah, founded in 1733, has 3 centuries of history to offer visitors, including about 1,500 historic homes.

"It's an authentic, historic, architecturally interesting and pedestrian friendly place. They can go really at their own leisure and soak in the history and the culture," he said.

Philadelphia, one of the nation's most historic cities, has been working to capitalize on cultural and historical tourism by attracting visitors to neighbourhoods beyond the traditional tourist stops of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The city's tourism bureau recently put the spotlight on nine neighbourhoods that boast their own historic attractions as well as restaurants, bars, galleries and other development, said Patrick Hauck, director of neighbourhood preservation for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

"What's great about cultural tourism in cities like Philadelphia is that it's not just about what happened in the past, it's also about what's happening now. Those two really work together," he said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Mayor Bowman reacts to Caspian investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Deer in Canola field near Elma, Manitoba. 060706.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google