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Time Traveling

While everything else is new and improved, vacation spots are getting older and older.

Soaking up the living history of a town and its defining culture has become an integral part of U.S. travel. According to a survey from the Travel Industry Association, 92.4 million adults in the United States included cultural or heritage activities on their trips, with growth and spending patterns expected to deliver a market of more than 130 million heritage and cultural travelers by 2002.

In preserving these portals to the past, such as the old industry factories of Pennsylvania or the Turner Sculpture Gallery and Decoy Factory of Virginia, the balance between tourism and the preservation of history offers small-town entrepreneurs and history buffs a chance to show off their local pride to a growing audience.

"While some states have always marketed their his-tory, the `heritage tourism' and `cultural tourism' buzz-words have caused a resur-gence of energy," says Mar-tha Steger, director of public relations at the Virginia Tourism Corp. "And it's benefited those [states] that hadn't started packaging their heritage experiences."

This story appears in the February 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »