Overcoming cultural, ethnic and religious barriers to engagement in popular domestic tourism activities.

An enquiry from me, which I am hoping may serve in time to help benefit a number of destinations.

A chance conversation with an attraction operator prompted me to start looking at the real or perceived cultural, ethnic or religious barriers to engagement in popular domestic tourism activities by members of the various British ethnic minority communities.  Individually and combined the many different British ethnic and religious groups form a potentially big market for the domestic tourism industry, indeed some demonstrate particularly strong values and traits that lend themselves to some of the more traditional UK holiday product.

Whilst anecdotal evidence suggests engagement has increased markedly in many of the tradition, popular rural and urban destinations in recent years, albeit from a very low base, there still appears to be plenty of latent potential for more activity for both the social and economic mutual benefit of the host and source communities involved.  If, and I stress if, that is the case then what are barriers, if any, to it happening? Is it simply a natural cultural or market driven process, or one that might benefit from being more proactively driven?

While I have been able to identify a selection of possible factors, from cultural through culinary and from social to the mundane practicalities, and thus potential lack of effective marketing to any number of diverse ethnic groups, I can’t locate any authoritative academic or other research work that draws together all the key issues, or that critically, outlines how best to go about overcoming some or all of them.

I know, for example, that the recent 2019 review of the National Parks was critical of the lack of social and ethnic diversity in their markets. I know that encouraging diversity in the audience for the cultural, arts and museum sectors has long been a policy aim.  Yet I still can’t find anything sufficiently recent or specifically relevant to the practicalities and needs of destination based commercial tourism activity.

I am very conscious, that in asking these questions I may simply be displaying my own crass, cultural, racial or age-related ignorance.  If I am, then my only defence is that there is genuine good intent behind it.

Before I waste time potentially, reinventing the wheel, has anyone: used, have access to or know of any local or national based research, product development work or strategies that look at this subject? Do you have any hard or anecdotal evidence that would support or deny the view that some or all British ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in the domestic tourism and visitor economy markets?  Have you any knowledge or views on what the key practical cultural, ethnic or religious barriers are to engaging in popular destination-based tourism activities and how these might be viably addressed?  If you do email me at: peter.hampson@btconnect.com