At present, music tourism is yet to be clearly defined as a distinct area within the tourism industry and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) does not yet offer any guidelines to what constitutes a music tourist. But what is clear, however, is that it is a growing subset of what is becoming known as cultural tourism and that it has already become big business.
Music Tourism can apply to all genres of music from Classical to Celtic and to all countries from Britain to the Balkans and to satisfy this growing demand a music tourism industry is forming consisting of specialist music tour operators and general tour operators offering music tours. These tours are pitched at people of all ages from all backgrounds offering music holidays to inspiring and historic locations mostly during summer period.
In the US, some cities are now basing their entire tourist profile on their music heritage, particularly in the Deep South where locations such as Beale Street and Graceland proudly boast their involvement in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. In Europe however, it is music festivals that dominate with events such as Glastonbury attracting enormous audiences as the UK’s live music scene continues to flourish. In all these famous destinations the effect of music tourism is to stimulate the local economy by drawing in large, often wealthy, audiences and with this comes a big injection of cash into the local economy.
In a recent speech the Minister of Tourism for Ghana, Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, proposed using Ghanaian music as the back bone to promote tourism in the country. It is her belief that music can play a vital role in promoting tourism as she believes the trend in tourism is moving away from mass tourism to niche tourism such as music tourism. But this in turn raises questions. As the US turns its music tourism locations into commercial theme parks and European festivals get swamped by corporate sponsorship, is it really possible to promote a ‘niche’ music while still retaining an authentic experience? And what will happen to Ghana’s music if it becomes tampered with for tourism?
Given the enormous economic drive to develop in countries such as Ghana, it appears that music tourism can definitely be expected to rise in prominence in the near future. For the time being however, if you wish to explore the world through music try Songlines Music Travel for the best in Music Tourism and Festival Travel. Songlines offer small group tours 10-20 to the pick of world music destinations accompanied by expert tour guides to give you the ultimate music travel experience.
Tim Jim founded Rec-Ignition Online Music Marketing in 2006 and has so far played a major role in conceiving and executing the online marketing campaigns behind ‘The Very Best of Ethiopiques’ (Union Square Music), ‘Nigeria Special’ (Soundway Records), and ‘Brazilian Beats Boxset’ (Mr Bongo).