Williamsburg, Virginia is a town stuck on the past. The historic village, which 40 years ago was a must-see destination for American tourists, has been welcoming fewer and fewer visitors.

According to the Virginia Gazette, the region’s economy – built on tourism – is becoming ever more fragile, as the declining number of visitors are contributing less and less to the local economy.


Local tourism officials blame the decline on a variety of factors: the recession, expensive admission to attractions, an increase in time shares over hotel visits and traffic congestion.

Yet city officials recognize that ultimately, the problem is the paradigm around which Williamsburg tourism is built: history. For 80 years, the region has been known as the Historic Triangle, yet Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman admits that “Historical tourism sites have been in a downward trend for more than 20 years.”

Resonating: While heritage tourism, when done well, can be a vital aspect of cultural tourism, the attractions of the Historic Triangle are more a relic of America’s past than an authentic experience in which tourists can share.