There are different types of tourism: historical, cultural, medical, wine, festival, pilgrimage. Recently, the emergence of a new form in which animals are the attractive force for tourists is observed. They are not in a zoo and in most cases are part of the natural environment of the settlement. Everything is a matter of marketing, but most often before that, chance has intervened. And local people have taken advantage of this chance.
Cats are the real stars of the Taiwanese village of Houtong. They are
the ones who provide living to the people since tourists from all over the
world come here because of them. In this village, cats are everywhere and walk
freely around the streets and public areas, they are the new symbol of the
village. The story goes as
follows: At the beginning of the last century, Houtong was
known as one of the most developed places on the island because of its mining
industry, which was the main activity there. The settlement had been prosperous
and had had about 6,000 inhabitants, but that was before the mine ceased its
activity in the 1990s. Then, the people of working age left to look for a means
of living, while Houtong remained with only 100 inhabitants. In 2010, however,
a blogger and photographer who was a fan of cats started publishing materials
and photos of the village where there was a huge population of street cats.
Houtong attracted the attention of tourists who loved cats, and so, the
situation changed for the settlement. Local
people did not lose this gift of fate. They made a special pedestrian bridge
dedicated to cats. Metal tiles with cats’ paws as a main motif were embedded on
the streets. In addition to the many shops and cafés where the lovely
pets were the main character, local authorities also showed fragments of the
history of Houtong. In 2010, a museum was opened that revived the former
miners’ fame of the village, and in 2012 a Festival of Lanterns started being
held, which was once again dedicated to cats. In
2014, an information centre with a focus on cats was also opened. Thus,
the village ensured a flow of over 1 million tourists per year. In return, the
animals receive not only food but also adequate medical care.
In Antalya, a village for cats with houses, hammocks and playgrounds was built. The initiators of the idea were people from the Association for the Protection of Street Animals. The settlement is already a hit among the local population and attracts a lot of visitors.
Dogs Are Also Honoured
Hotels in the UK’s overseas territories, the Turks and Caicos Islands, attract tourists by offering white sands, emerald waters and the company of little dogs. The formula is clearly profitable, as this destination has recently noted a record-breaking number of visits. Tourists are offered the company of puppies, which were recently rescued by local volunteers and friends of animals. Everyone can play freely with the four-legged pets, and even adopt them. An entrepreneurial woman has created a centre for stray dogs where about 500 new animals are received each year. Convinced of how strong a relationship can be established between the man and his best friend – the dog, she has prepared walking routes along the beaches. Tourists were immediately attracted by the opportunity to be in such a company. The people who want to take this opportunity are so many now that there are long queues in front of this centre every day. However, tourists are warned that the walk should be beneficial to both them and the dog.
Animals are permanently present in the mythology and the fairy tales of every nation. They represent different human qualities. The worship of different animals was an important part of the spiritual life of many peoples. Today, in countries like India and Thailand, some animals are traditionally considered sacred. The images of animals are included as a key element in many kinds of religious ceremonies. The elephant is a sacred animal for the Indians and has always had an important place in their lives. Each year in India, in its honour, a festival is held that coincides with the Holi Festival. At that time, the whole country sings and dances. On this day, the elephants are decorated with silk and gilt, their bodies are painted with colourful paints and their tusks are decorated with jewels. The Camel Festival in Rajasthan, India, is another tourist attraction. Each year, a large three-day cattle market is organized there. At the end, there is a contest, on which camels walk before the viewers, decorated and dressed festively. Among them, the most beautiful one is chosen which brings many awards for its owner. The Thai city of Lopburi also hosts a Monkey Festival, during which, traditionally the monkeys are generously treated with fruits. Thus, people show their gratitude to them for attracting tourists to their city.
Buffalos near Elena
Foreigners arrive in Elena, attracted by the
opportunity to take a picture with buffaloes on a farm located in the
picturesque Kilazhevtsi neighbourhood. And the bravest ones even try to milk
the huge animals on their own. Englishmen, Swedes, Germans, Frenchmen and
Japanese travel thousands of miles to see a living buffalo. Tourists arrive in
the farm with the purpose of tasting the dairy products it produces, and more
and more requests are made for trying the bio delicacies. This buffalo farm is
the only one in the region and is one of the few in Bulgaria.
These examples show that animals can be tourists’ best
friends. As long as the right formula is found and people do everything in
their power to develop an attractive tourist product. Did we miss the chance to
attract tourists in Sofia with the stray dogs, which until recently we considered
as a mass problem? And we are supposed to know that each problem hides
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