Cultural Tourism Committee (CTC)

The objectives of the ICOMOS-UK Cultural Tourism Committee (CTC) are to:

  • promote the ICOMOS international guidelines on cultural tourism, and in particular to demonstrate their importance within government departments, public, commercial and third sector organizations, including professional associations
  • create a dynamic forum to encourage debate on current issues in cultural tourism throughout the UK with reference to global developments, especially the work of ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee
  • raise awareness of, and sensitivity to political, economic, socio-cultural, technological and environmental dimensions of cultural tourism development in the UK and internationally
  • foster understanding and knowledge of the significance of cultural tourism in sustaining both tangible and intangible cultural heritage within communities
  • identify, promote and adapt good practice in diverse contexts through cultural tourism and conservation education/training programmes in partnership with ICOMOS-UK Education and Training Committee


To ensure that these principles are translated into practice, the members of CTC provide a complementary range of expertise that includes:

  • archaeology
  • conservation architecture
  • managing cultural tourism attractions
  • interpretation and visitor experience
  • promoting cultural quarters and historic cities
  • city management and regeneration
  • engaging diverse stakeholders in cultural tourism development.

Its members are: Brian Ayers, Ian Baxter, Sharon Brown, Kelley Christ (Vice Chair), Anne Fletcher, Joanna Karmowska, Helen Lloyd, Andrew McKean, Sue Millar, Aylin Orbasli, David Rudling, Steve Shaw, Martin Stancliffe, Simon Woodward (Chair).

CTC seminars: our key themes

Over the past five years, CTC has organized a series of well attended seminars informed by leading experts in cultural tourism. These have stimulated in-depth discussion of the principles expressed in the Norwich Accord (2009) and how they can be translated into practice, in particular ‘significance’ or ‘spirit’ of place in conservation and interpretation, and the challenge of managing complex and sometimes problematic relationships between diverse ‘stakeholders’ and interest groups.

CTC seminars in three cathedral cities

  • York
  • Canterbury
  • and Norwich

were enhanced by guided walking tours and site visits to illustrate the issues and points discussed.

Our Committee has two working groups:

Higher Education Initiative: Managing the experience of visitors in sacred spaces

Throughout the world, tourism is a vital source of income that cannot be taken for granted, and cathedrals are no exception; visitors who provide that income have rising expectations that they will be treated as individuals, their particular needs and interests satisfied.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London provides a valuable illustration of the challenge of reconciling the spiritual role of a place of worship with the management of an internationally significant attraction, the revenue from which is critical to conservation and upkeep for both.

CTC has designed and developed a web-based learning resource (2012-13) to:

  • encourage informed discussion on these issues
  • identify how appropriate solutions can be developed
  • suggest what works well and what can be transferred

Our intention is that it will be used by tutors, students and younger professionals across a wide range of disciplines including: heritage conservation and management, tourism studies, architecture, archaeology, city planning and management, urban studies, and urban design.

Communicating Conservation through Cultural Tourism

The theme of ‘spirit of place’ is also being developed by a working group that reflects upon and promotes good practice in communicating the science of conservation with reference to specific sites and localities.

For example, in December 2011, CTC member Helen Lloyd and her colleagues in the National Trust facilitated a study visit to Knole, Sevenoaks, Kent to discuss ‘Inspired by Knole’: a £15m project that will restore its fragile historic environments, protect the house, showrooms and collections, create conservation studios, and open new spaces to the public.

The visit provided insights into the sheer scale of the task ahead. The project will enable visitors to view and understand conservation in action, with imaginative narratives of place, and explanations of the diverse restoration work and range of skills involved. Thus, it will ‘inspire new visitors’ in greater numbers (to around 150k pa) without creating extra pressure on the showrooms. Key aims include deepening their involvement, and generating more income that will contribute to conservation by the National Trust.