Travelling for special interests - The Special Interest Tourist 

Different people travel for different reasons. They may want to learn about something, see nature, learn about the environment, study local history and so on.  Why a person travels is dependent upon the reason for travel, which will affect the facilities required.
 
Understanding more about the diversity of travel products on offer can help you to become better equipped to select, develop and provide a more diverse variety of services to accommodate the traveler.  
 
 
Special Interest Accommodation
 
On occasion, one of the key attractions may be the accommodation itself for example: a tour of European castles, a French farmhouse, an outback pubs tour in Australia on horseback, a remote lighthouse, an island villa set out over the coral reef in the Pacific, and for some, staying in a mountain hideaway offers that special difference where the focus of the holiday is the accommodation and what it represents to the visitor.  
 
Such a holiday gives the tourist a chance to explore a different lifestyle or an opportunity to experience a dream or fantasy. Here are some examples:
 
Castles
From Morocco to Germany, the UK, and France, many castles now offer apartments/rooms for visitors.  This may range from bed and breakfast to the full royal treatment.  The style of castle may vary from peace time abbey through to a full traditional style of castle replete with turrets and crenulations.  
 
Farms
Farmhouse accommodation can be found worldwide and may range from home stay, bed and breakfast to self contained houses.
 
Lighthouses
Renovated lighthouses offer the chance to stay in a very romantic location often with fabulous views.  Lighthouse accommodation is found across the world.
 
Ice Hotels
Found in Finland, Norway, Canada and Romania to date.  These fantastic hotels are often rebuilt every year and as such constantly change.  Many incorporate ice sculptures, chapels and ice bars.  Different from the large Ice Hotels, Igloo villages are found in Germany and Switzerland and offer individual igloos.
 
Underground Accommodation
Different from underground hotels, a cave hotel actually incorporates real caves as rooms for guests.  A famous hotel in Turkey uses a monastic retreat which was built into caves 1000 years ago; others make use of natural rock formations.  These are located in the Cappadocia region of Turkey which is famous for its beautiful and old cave houses.  Others may be found in Greece, Jamaica and France (an old monastery). New Zealand has a hobbit hotel, while in Cooper Pedy in outback Australia many hotels offer underground accommodation in old mine shafts and include an underground casino.  Sweden and New Mexico also offer underground hotels.
 
Art Hotels
These hotels embrace a move away from bland art and decorations; they often showcase up and coming artists. They provide an ambiance unobtainable at other hotels. 
 
Travel to See Special Things
 Everyone has different interests. Some people love sport; others prefer art, and other people like to meet and get to know new people. Some like outdoor, active pass times. Others like passive, indoor activities. 
When people travel;, they are likely to be attracted to the things they like.
Specialist tourism is designed to cater for a group of people with similar interests. One example would be "cultural tourism".
 
Cultural tourism is a vast and varied area of tourism and includes attractions from modern art museums to cave drawings, from religious monuments and events to contemporary art performances. Putting together a package for a cultural attraction for tourism purposes requires an insight into what the attraction is and how best to view it or participate in it. Generally, it is a learning experience whereby visitors gain an insight into another culture: the people, their lifestyle, heritage, and arts. 
 
Who Are Cultural Tourists?
Anyone can be a cultural tourist but, demographically, middle-aged, affluent women are more likely to visit concerts, art galleries, theaters, and other similar events. Historic theme parks are popular among families and school groups.  
 
People who participate in cultural tourism broadly fall into two groups:
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Our Tourism II course is a 100 hour course looking at all aspects of special interest tourism, such as health and adventure, food and wine and much more. You can find more on Tourism II here. 

    Another option is our 100 hour Adventure Tourism course, which focuses the planning and management of adventure tourism. You can view the course here.