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Culture and tourism: natural partners or reluctant bedfellows? A perspective paper

Greg Richards (Academy for Leisure, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, Netherlands)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 13 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 February 2020



This paper aims to review the development of the relationship between culture and tourism over the past 75 years and outline some future developments over the coming 75 years.


This paper is based on a review of previous major work on cultural tourism.


Tourism and culture have been drawn inexorably closer over the years as culture has become one of the major content providers for tourism experiences, and tourism has become one of the most important income streams for cultural institutions. In the future, this is likely to change, as cultural institutions find it increasingly difficult to maintain their authority as the dominant producers of local, regional and national culture and as tourism becomes increasingly integrated into the everyday culture of the destination.

Practical implications

Cultural institutions will need to change their relationship with tourism as flows of tourists become more prevalent and fragmented.

Social implications

The authority of high cultural institutions will be eroded as tourists increasingly seek authenticity in the culture of everyday life and the ‘local’.


This study reviews the dynamics of the cultural field and sketches the long-term future development of the relationship between tourism and culture.



Richards, G. (2020), "Culture and tourism: natural partners or reluctant bedfellows? A perspective paper", Tourism Review, Vol. 75 No. 1, pp. 232-234.



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