Cultural Tourism

  • Bruno S. FreyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Economics book series (BRIEFSECONOMICS)


Mass tourism goes to major cultural heritage sites, to superstar museums, to festivals, and to blockbuster exhibitions of art. These visits have a major impact on the local economy, regions, and countries and are captured by impact studies. In contrast, the willingness-to-pay approach focuses on the net benefits created by visiting a cultural site. Many cultural sites tend to be overcrowded, leading to material damage to the structures, to a feeling of compression among visitors and the local population, and to a drastic loss of authenticity. Overcrowding of heritage sites can be counteracted in various ways to make visits agreeable and to reduce the damage inflicted.


Mass tourism Superstar museums Festivals Blockbuster exhibitions Most frequented cultural sites Impact Willingness-to-pay European cultural capital Happiness Awards Overcrowding Entry price Taxes Exact copies 

Related Literature

Early contributions include

  1. Gapinski JH (1988) Tourism’s contribution to the demand for London’s lively arts. Appl Econ 20(7):957–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mossetto G (1992) L’economia delle città d’arte: Modelli di sviluppo a confronte, politiche e strumenti di intervento, Etaslibri, MilanGoogle Scholar

More recent contributions are, for example

  1. D’Eramo M (2017) Il selfie del mondo. Indagine sull’età del turismo, Feltrinelli, MilanoGoogle Scholar
  2. Hughes HL (2000) Arts, entertainment and tourism. Butterworth-Heineman, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Scott AJ (2000) The cultural economy of cities: essays on the geography of image-producing industries. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar

An analysis using happiness data to capture the net benefits produced by cultural sites is

  1. Steiner L, Frey BS, Hotz S (2015) European capitals of culture and life satisfaction. Urban Stud 52(2):374–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREW - Center for Research in Economics and Well-BeingUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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