Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 253–285 | Cite as

Cultural heritage and the attractiveness of cities: evidence from recreation trips

Original Article


Many cities are trying to attract tourists by investing in urban amenities. Cultural heritage is an important example, and substantial investments are needed to keep ancient inner cities and characteristic monumental buildings in good shape. The costs of these policies are usually clear, and the benefits are often much more difficult to assess. This paper attempts to fill part of this gap by studying the destination choices of urban recreation trips that have urban recreation as the main travel motive. We estimate a discrete choice model for destination choice that takes into account the potential importance of unobserved characteristics. The model allows us to compute the marginal willingness-to-travel for destinations offering more cultural heritage, which we measure as the area of the inner city that has a protected status because of the cultural heritage that is present there.


Cultural heritage Recreation Destination choice Choice modelling NMNL MNL 

JEL Classification

C31 D12 R12 R22 L83 



We would like to thank Henri de Groot and Mark van Duijn for their insightful comments. We thank RCE, ABF Research, and Statistics Netherlands for providing us with excellent data. We would also like to thank the members of the Department of Spatial Economics for helpful comments during discussions. Ruben van Loon (2013) gratefully acknowledges CLUE, NICIS, and VU University for their financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Spatial EconomicsVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Tinbergen InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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