Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June's #builtheritage Chat

The topic for June's #builtheritage twitter chat was heritage tourism.   The chat was moderated by @PresConf and @jonaskayla.  The chat provided an interesting look into the planning, organization, and success of heritage tourism.

The first portion of the chat focused on the question What tips do you have for starting a heritage tourism program in your community? Some of the suggestions included: starting by hosting an event that will engage the local community, gain the support of the local tourism board, and strive for inclusiveness of organizations in your community.  @lloydalter brought forward the example of the Doors Open events as a successful heritage tourism program.  This example created an interesting side discussion about what causes Doors Open to be so successful and how to raise money for a free event.

The second segment of the chat focused on the question What strategies do you have for building out your heritage tourism program?  Some suggestions included working with the chamber of commerce, partnering with regional tourism programs, and promoting diverse programming.  @jonaskayla mentioned Heritage Toronto's great walking tour program that is run entirely by volunteers.  This walking tour program is a great example of a grassroots and low cost heritage tourism effort.

The third question in the chat was What is your favoruite heritage tourism place and why? A lot of great examples of heritage tourism sites were brought forth in this section, including: the Byward Market in Ottawa, the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, the distillery district in Toronto, and the Toronto railway heritage centre.

The final section of the chat focused on the question How do we ensure that heritage tourism is authentic? There was a ride range of responses to this question, but a number of them emphasized the need to find a balance in authenticity and accessibility. One of the more intriguing points in this portion of the chat was the idea that the authenticity of a building isn't always the same as an authentic visitor experience.

 The next #builtheritage chat  is scheduled for August 4th at 4pm, the tentative topic is under-served communities.

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