A key to the health of many cities' cultural scenes today, it turns out, is you. When you reach your destination, if you take a seat at a ballet performance of Swan Lake or an orchestra's rendering of Leonard Bernstein's Serenade or a revival staging of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, you're engaging in what the National Endowment for the Arts and other cultural agencies identify as "cultural tourism."
A survey commissioned by Partners in Tourism, which includes the NEA and state arts associations, revealed some 46 percent of adult U.S. travelers - almost 93 million people - include an activity of a cultural or historically related nature on a trip. In fact, 26.7 million people surveyed said they'd actually added time to a trip in order to take in a cultural event.
Cultural tourists may be the perfect complement to an arts organization's local subscriber base, especially in a slow economy. Results of a Travel Industry Association of America survey indicated that "cultural tourists" have higher-than-average household incomes, are more likely than others to have completed college degrees, and have managerial or professional occupations. Baby boomer travelers, in particular, like to slip into something cultural on the road, the TIA says, with nine percent of them hitting an arts event while traveling.