Cultural Heritage Tourism Assessments

The first step your community or region should take in planning for a new or expanded cultural heritage tourism program is assessing your potential. Assessments include evaluating attractions, visitor services, organizational capacity, preservation of resources and tourism marketing.

The National Trust can assist by providing an objective, comprehensive assessment and making recommendations for development of your cultural heritage tourism program. Our heritage tourism specialists have conducted assessments in dozens of communities and regions across the country. Our approach is based on the Five Principles for Heritage Tourism Development and focuses on working closely with the community to identify challenges and opportunities and to craft effective strategies for program development.

Assessment Objectives

The main objectives of an assessment are:

  • to gather a wide variety of opinions and suggestions from stakeholders
  • to learn about the community's history and culture
  • to evaluate the current visitor experience
  • to evaluate current visitor services including signage, operating hours, hospitality, etc.
  • to evaluate current local marketing efforts
  • to assess the level of public and private support for tourism
  • to meet with organizers and assess organizational capacity for program development

Planning an Assessment

Advance preparation is essential for a successful assessment visit. Steps in the planning process include:

  • Assigning a National Trust heritage tourism specialist  to conduct the assessment.
  • Reviewing background materials provided by the local community.
  • A conference call with key stakeholders to identify issues, establish goals and discuss the itinerary for the site visit.
  • Local organizers develop and schedule an itinerary to include tours of current and potential attractions as well as stakeholder interviews.  The visit may also include a public meeting if desired.
  • Following the assessment visit, the National Trust will prepare a written report including assessments and recommendations.
  • The assessment process can also include a follow up visit by the consultant(s). This follow-up visit would include a presentation by the consultant(s) of the major findings and recommendations in the report and a work session with local organizers to determine next steps for program implementation.

More Information

For more information on scheduling an assessment visit for your community and to discuss assessment fees, contact Amy Webb at 303.413.1986, or Carolyn Brackett at 615.226.4078.