West Coast South Africa

South Africa West Coast

Promoting Cultural Heritage Tourism

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From Crayfish to Iron
Cultural Heritage involves portraying the past in the present.
Cultural heritage tourism takes an holistic approach incorporating people and environment, the natural and the built, tangible and intangible, the past and the present.
Much of the content on sawestcoast.com emanates from West Coasters and in some instances, people from other regions and countries. Of course, I could just give visitors the usual 'book information' but that would be the easy way. I want to give visitors more than 'the usual'... I want them to discover the true heart of the West Coast - our people!

How does cultural heritage tourism differ from 'aesthetic' tourism?

Cultural heritage tourism provides people with the tools to be more aware of and to have pride in their cultures, languages, environment, histories, etc. It allows local people to find a niche for themselves in the tourism industry and thus develop opportunities to earn their own living by being creative and at the same time encourages environmental protection in order to preserve their livelihood. The cultural heritage tourist has a high regard for the environment and local traditions, and has a need to interact with the community.

'Aesthetic' tourism on the other hand, reads like a 'holiday brochure', often ignoring the role played by culture and people.

The interesting document below was developed at a Christian Conference of Asia meeting of people from "host" countries:

A Code of Ethics for Tourists

(Tourism and the Third World - going the extra mile - Australian Council of Churches).
  1. Travel in a spirit of humility and with a genuine desire to learn more about the people of your host country.
  2. Be sensitively aware of the feelings of other people, preventing what might be offensive behaviour on your part. This applies very much to photography.
  3. Cultivate the habit of listening and observing, rather than merely hearing and seeing.
  4. Realise that often the people in the country you visit have time concepts and thought patterns different from your own; this does not make them inferior, only different.
  5. Instead of looking for that "beach paradise", discover the enrichment of seeing a different way of life through other eyes.
  6. Acquaint yourself with local customs - people will be happy to help you.
  7. Instead of the Western practice of knowing all the answers, cultivate the habit of listening.
  8. Remember that you are only one of the thousands of tourists visiting the country - do not expect special privileges.
  9. If you really want your experience to be a 'home away from home', it is foolish to waste your money on travelling.
  10. When you are shopping, remember that the 'bargain' you obtained was only possible because of the low wages paid to the maker.
  11. Do not make promises to people in your host countries unless you are certain you can carry them through.
  12. Spend time reflecting on your daily experiences in an attempt to deepen your understanding. It has been said that what enriches you man rob and violate others.
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