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Cultural heritage resources and tourism are important tools in the tool box of place-makers, preservationists, designers and economic development planners. A growing and responsible tourism industry can be a catalyst for deepening sense of place, past and community which is the basis for revitalizing local economies. On most days more than two million Americans visit one of the 16,000 museums, heritage and environmental tourism destinations. There is a global tourism beauty contest underway that increasingly divides haves from the have-nots, destinations from pass-throughs, and places that generate buzz from places that get little respect, even from those who live there. The combined forces of globalization and homogenization are forcing cities, states, regions and locales to rethink how they present themselves. Image, while not everything, matters. An attractive user interface together with a coherent and compelling visitor experience based on authentic local content that is the key to generating buzz and the kind of visitor satisfaction that drives word of mouth - the cheapest and most effective marketing technique available. States and municipalities need a comprehensive cultural heritage strategy to build their reputations and sell their features. This course will examine the history and practice of heritage tourism and the sense of place movement that give it renewed relevance. Topics considered include: the roles played by museums, thematic trials, historic sites, wayfinding and signage, historic preservation, social media and the networks of institutions, advocacy groups and stakeholders that advance the goals of heritage tourism. We'll review and discuss case studies that demonstrate the role of cultural resources in the revitalization of cities and towns. We will also discuss heritage tourism visionaries, the locavore movement, the role of art in placemaking, and the role of social media and digital technology in tourism and placemaking.
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