NGE >> The Arts >> Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Historic Preservation >> Heritage Tourism and Education >> Heritage Tourism
Archaeological and historic properties play an important role in the tourism economies of Augusta, Macon, coastal Georgia, and the Georgia mountains. In addition, many smaller Georgia communities are incorporating their historic places as part of their economic and community development strategies.
Many significant sites are owned and managed by such public agencies as the National Park Service and the state's Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites division of the Department of Natural Resources, but heritage tourism would not survive without the support of private and volunteer organizations, such as the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network and the Sparta-Hancock Alliance for Revitalization and Empowerment. The Sparta-Hancock Alliance facilitates employment and other economic opportunities for local residents by promoting the area's cultural, historic, architectural, and natural resources as tourist attractions.
Heritage Sites and Trails
African American heritage, Native American heritage, railways, music, and the Civil War (1861-65) are among the most popular areas of interest for heritage tourists. Noteworthy sites include the Hancock County historic districts; the Morton Theatre in Athens; the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth; the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon; the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park near Fort Oglethorpe, which commemorates the Battle of Chickamauga; and Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site in Dallas the site of the Battle of Pickett's Mill.
Seasoned travelers often venture outside large cities and off interstate highways, searching for new experiences. Regional trail systems, driving tours, and designated scenic byways create themed experiences while providing travelers with practical directions through unfamiliar territory. Trail themes, such as Civil War heritage trails, provide a context for the interpretation of the area's culture and local history.
Bringing the tourism potential of historic sites to fruition can have a significant effect on local economies. The challenge is to capitalize on these resources while preserving and protecting the sites, vistas, and open spaces that accurately convey the historic experience. Such attention can also raise awareness among local citizens to the importance of the long-term preservation of their historic properties. Heavy visitation to a historic site can result in deterioration, however, if not carefully managed. As heritage tourism grows, it becomes increasingly important for managers of historic sites and areas to be educated in the appropriate preservation techniques and methods necessary to maintain, interpret, and protect these fragile resources.
Getting Started: How to Succeed in Heritage Tourism (Washington D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1999).
Amy Jordan Webb et al., "New Directions in Heritage Tourism," Forum Journal, vol. 13 (summer 1999).
Helen Talley-McRae, Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division
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