updated 11 August 04'
 


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-Wilson Martin, DCED

 

 

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Issue Overview

The purpose of this section is to provide information and boilerplate language that will help to provide a basic understanding of the issue by factually describing the issue, its scope, and dimensions.

Many individuals travel to experience someone else's landscape, heritage, and way of life. The Utah Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) defines these individuals as “cultural heritage tourists”. Cultural heritage tourism is a growing segment of the traveling public and often provides local communities with travel-related economic development while perpetuating local lifestyles and quality of life. Counties should consider the promotion of cultural tourism opportunities including historic and archeological sites, arts and heritage festivals and museums.

Options & Trade-Offs

Some counties staff a tourism office to promote visitation. Since heritage tourism is dependent upon a number of players – cities/towns, private entities, public resources agencies, etc. – the degree of county involvement is contingent on the roles and responsibilities that each of these respective players have regarding heritage tourism.

Since the demand for heritage tourism experiences is on the rise, counties should explore the feasibility of providing these opportunities. Benefits of heritage tourism are manifold.

  • Visitors participating in heritage tourism spend more per visit and typically stay longer in the area. As a consequence, the economic benefits to the county may be significant.
  • Heritage tourism provides educational benefits to potential visitors and local citizens, local schools in particular.
  • Heritage tourism enhances, preserves, protects and educates participants on the county's unique cultural resources.
  • Heritage tourism typically has a lower impact on county resources. (For instance, the operation of museums, historic sites, or other areas set aside for preservation, interpretation or education typically carries a lower operational burden on local law enforcement, search and rescue or other entities charged with ensuring public safety).

Potential for Conflict

Specific issues presenting conflict or concern need to be identified by the County. In general, there are many positive considerations that the County should explore as they expand heritage tourism opportunities within their area. The following suggestions and examples may provide guidance with implementation of heritage tourism programs.

Museums and cultural heritage sites often play a key role in local education. Many of Utah's Heritage Parks such as Anasazi, Antelope Island, Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn, Edge of the Cedars, Fremont Indian, Iron Mission and Territorial Statehouse play a critical supporting role with local school districts by providing skilled staff who interact with students while providing opportunities (at little or no cost) for field trips which enhance knowledge about the area's cultural resources. Research shows that cultural programs that promote academic excellence contribute to the development of the local area's skilled workforce.

Opportunities are often available for local communities to participate in heritage initiatives. Examples of such efforts include the Heritage Highway 89 initiative and the Bear River Heritage Area initiative. These programs represent a coordinated effort in local counties to promote the area's cultural heritage and have been successful in attracting heritage tourism.

Range of Alternatives

Counties should consider a number of alternatives to help them define the counties desired management preference:

County Preservation Commission should be invited to attend planning meetings.

Department of Community and Economic Development and Division of State History staff could be called in to critique and provide data, information and resources.

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Existing Condition

The purpose of this section is to provide information and boilerplate language that will help to describe the existing condition.

Data Review

Many communities, groups and organizations are interested in using local heritage to expand the tourism products of an area and as a tool to protect valuable resources. This complex process takes time, however, and the proper tools. From general funding to funding strategies, the Utah Heritage Tourism Toolkit is a package of practical tools that you can use to begin, or improve, the management of your community's heritage resources. The Toolkit website http://history.utah.gov/httoolkit/ is an informative online resource for your heritage tourism questions.

Items to Consider

The county should evaluate its cultural heritage base – historic and archeological resources - and determine if opportunities exist for expanding cultural heritage tourism opportunities. An inventory of these resources should be considered in a planning process. Once the key issues are identified regarding heritage tourism, counties should identify goals and corresponding strategies to achieve the stated heritage tourism objectives.

As county leaders define their county's current condition, they should ask themselves:

•  Are we are aware of the historic and cultural sites and landscapes that our community has to offer, both for business development and tourism purposes?

•  Do we have a basic understanding of the condition of these resources and what might be done to enhance them?

Communities need to have a careful understanding of the economic opportunities inherent in their cultural and historic resources, in commercial areas, historic neighborhoods, archaeological sites, and historic landscapes.

Boilerplate Language

Research compiled in 1999 from DCED shows cultural/heritage tourists: spend more money per trip than the average U.S. traveler ($615 compared to $425); stay in an area longer; are more likely to engage in local retail purchases; and are more likely to stay at a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast. The county should explore means of expanding heritage tourism opportunities to realize these benefits.

Statements like these might be made in the resource management plan:

  • The county of __________ has undertaken a partial study of the county's historic and cultural sites and landscapes and has significant knowledge of these resources. Yet the county has not developed an overall strategy of how to take advantage of these resources for heritage tourism.
  • The county of __________ has not conducted an inventory of the county's historic and cultural sites and landscapes and is not aware of the potential economic and quality of life impact that these resources may have for heritage tourism.

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Desired Future Condition

The purpose of this section is to provide information and boilerplate language that will help to describe the improvements and changes that need to be made to the existing condition in order to achieve the desired future condition. It also provides the basis for the development of policy statements that support the desired future condition.

Range of Alternatives

If a county is focusing on a balanced approach between old and new, the desired future condition might be to conduct a full inventory, using best available practices and within budget restraints, of the cultural and historic sites and landscapes within the county and develop a plan to encourage the preservation and use of these resources as part of their heritage tourism planning.

Boilerplate Language

History can add to the heritage tourism of our community, but the following items should be taken under consideration:

  • The past is often underutilized. Do your public use policies encourage reuse when practical?
  • Is the private sector alerted to the options the county has to reuse, lease or bring to life the past?

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Policy and Position Statements

The purpose of this section is to provide boilerplate policy statement language that will support the desired future conditions. A range of possible conditions is provided here.

Boilerplate Language

It is a policy of the State of Utah to encourage the preservation of cultural and historic sites and landscapes as part of developing a vibrant quality of life and economic development future for the state. The state uses economic incentives, tax credits, grants, and technical assistance to encourage preservation. In accordance with 9-8-502, “The Legislature finds and declares that preservation and restoration of historically significant real property and structures as identified by the State Register of Historic Sites are in the public interest of the people of the state of Utah and should be promoted by the laws of this state.”

Local policies that have helped to protect and preserve historic resources for tourism purposes:

  • Establishment of preservation commissions and Certified Local Government program (CLG).
  • Establishment of Heritage Area program to identify, protect, plan, and market.
  • Local zoning and policies to protect owners interests.
  • Signage guidelines.
  • Design standards for new construction.
  • Tax assistance and grant to assist rehabilitation.
  • Local business organizations that have preservation as a goal.
  • Main street organizations.

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Goals, Objectives, and/or Action Items

The purpose of this section is to provide boilerplate examples of the types of improvements or changes that typically would be needed to reach the desired future condition. “Goal” is the desired condition. “Objectives” are improvements or changes that need to be made to reach the goal. “Action Items” are specific actions that can be taken in order to achieve the objective.

The county should ensure that its master plan includes the historic and cultural sites and landscapes within its boundaries, so that these resources are identified for planning consideration. The county may consider laws, legislation or ordinance changes to provide for the protection and/or orderly development or encourage careful consideration prior to new development.

Local examples:

  • Incentives to keep the old by use of grants or tax credits.
  • Enterprise zones.
  • Signage guidelines
  • Main street beautification
  • Zoning standards

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Monitoring Methods and Mechanisms

The purpose of this section is to provide suggested techniques and methods for monitoring progress towards the desired condition.

Monitoring methods that could be used include:

  • an inventory of the cultural and historic sites and landscapes that exist in the county and the knowledge gained by subsequent surveys;
  • a review of the ordinances and/or incentives that are in place to encourage the preservation of these resources;
  • examination and reports on the tax revenue currently being generated by historic resources; and
  • tracking of the revenue generated, after the implementation of preservation incentives.

These incentives could be compared to other economic development initiatives to help determine the economic benefits of heritage tourism.

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Sources and Resources to Assist

This section is intended to be a reference guide to help locate any sources of assistance.

Counties should consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHIPO) to identify historic buildings or structures. Grants and technical assistance are available for preservation of historic projects or sites with archeological or historic significance from the Division of State History, Antiquities Section, or SHIPO. The State Office of Museum Services is also available to provide technical assistance in the development and of museums.

Utah Division of Parks and Recreation

Karen Kreiger, Heritage Coordinator, (801) 538-7367, Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 146001, 1594 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6001.

Other State Agencies

  • State Historic Preservation Office, Barbara Murphy, Assistance on identifying and registering historic buildings
  • Utah Travel Council
  • Utah State Historical Society
  • Utah Humanities Council
  • Utah Office of Museum Services
  • Utah Department of Community and Economic Development, Community Cultural Heritage Coordinating Council
Websites

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