|The ATLAS Cultural Tourism Project was founded in 1991, originally as a project funded by the Tourism Unit of the European Commission. Since then ATLAS members have continued to collect data on cultural tourism demand not only in Europe, but all over the world.
Regular reports and publications have been produced over the years detailing the research. These have included general reviews of cultural tourism demand and supply (Richards, 1996, 2001), analyses of the changing global and local context of cultural tourism (Richards, 2007), reviews of research findings (Richards and Queiros, 2005), analysis of consumption patterns (Toivonen, 2008), texts on research methods and methodologies related to cultural tourism (Richards and Munsters, 2010; Richards and van der Ark, 2006, 2013).
The research programme has also branched out into new areas, such as creative tourism (Richards and Wilson, 2006, 2007; Richards and Marques, 2012), the European Capital of Culture (Richards, Hitters and Fernandes, 2002; Richards and Rotariu, 2008; Richards, 2014) and events in general.
The flexibility of the ATLAS methodology is one major strength of the programme. A standard survey format allows for comparisons to be made between different sites, locations and types of attractions and events. At the same time participants can adapt the basic survey to their individual needs.
During the period 2008-2013 the ATLAS surveys have been used in a variety of different contexts, across different continents. The current review provides an overview of some of the major research findings from surveys conducted during this period. In the first part of the report, Mieke Pelzer and Marjan Melkert from the Research Centre for Tourism and Culture at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands analyse the findings of the surveys conducted in 2008. This includes data from over 3000 surveys conducted in seven different countries.
In the second part of the report, Karolina Buczkowska from the Eugeniusz Piasecki University School of Physical Education analyses data collected in the Polish city of Poznań in 2010. Over 1600 domestic tourists were interviewed about their experience of the city and visits to cultural attractions.
Part three of the report presents comparative data from the Romanian city of Sibiu in 2009 and 2013. Ilie Rotariu and Greg Richards analyse the key trends in the development of cultural tourism over this five year period, as well as the long-term effects of the European Capital of Culture event.
Part four provides a longitudinal analysis of data collected at cultural attractions in Latvia by Jānis Kalnačs of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. The data collected over a five year period from 2006 to 2010 clearly show the effects of the economic crisis on cultural tourism, as expenditure decreased, particularly for domestic visitors. However, the research also indicates that cultural tourism, as with other segments of the Latvian tourism market, is beginning to recover.
The research presented in this report gives an interesting picture of the development of the ATLAS Cultural Tourism Research in recent years. In particular, the availability of more longitudinal research provides insights into cultural tourism trends over time. We hope to be able to make more of these comparisons in future editions of the research project.
Chapter 1 - The ATLAS Cultural Tourism Research Project 2008-2013
Chapter 2 - ATLAS Cultural Tourism Research Summary Report 2008
Mieke Pelzer and Marjan Melkert
Chapter 3 - Results of the Atlas Cultural Tourism Research Project in Poznań, Poland
Chapter 4 - Cultural Tourism in Sibiu 2009-2013
Ilie Rotariu and Greg Richards
Chapter 5 - ATLAS Cultural Tourism Research in Latvia 2006-2010