The concept of industrial tourism (IT) reflects tourist services offered by industrial production centers, as “industrial archeology”, combining historical evidence related to industrialization, or as tourism based on the interest of some enterprises to present their goods production process to the general public. Therefore, by definition, industrial tourism is all the forms of industrial structures that are visited by tourists, students or professionals.
This type of tourism involves not only trips to the production sites of the enterprises, but also industrial heritage which is based on historical experience and on the roots of industrialization in a particular region. This heritage is based on evidence of industrial culture of historical, technological, social, architectural or scientific significance. Such evidence includes buildings, technologies and equipment, laboratories, plants and factories, mines and platforms for processing, warehouses, places where energy is generated, facilities, transport infrastructure, etc. For example, in countries such as Germany or France, many people associate industrial tourism with heritage, rather than visiting manufacturers. Here we are talking about, for example, old, forgotten, but at the same time, interesting economic objects, where equipment and technologies have been preserved, but are no longer functional due to the phenomenon of deindustrialization.
Industrial tourism also plays an important role in creating future specialists. Companies are inclined to introduce various trips into their monthly expenses for students of various specialties to plan their theoretical studies in advance.
Depending on the subjective preferences of tourists, studies show that the most popular and most visited production sites are:
• those where they make goods that are traditional or symbolic for a particular region (coffee in Brazil or Guatemala, champagne in France, wines in Moldova, etc.);
• those where expensive, luxury goods are made (cars, watches, jewelry, etc.);
• those where technologically innovative products, such as computers, aerial vehicles, drones are made;
• those where handmade wood, porcelain or metal products are made;
• those where food products are made.
Potential customers who may be interested and attracted by industrial tourism:
• most of those who are interested in IT are people from highly developed countries (Germany, Netherlands, UK, Japan);
• experienced tourists who are already bored of traditional offers (visiting museums, churches, natural monuments, etc.);
• young people who are interested in learning more about the manufacturing sector and the work of factories and plants. Because of new technologies and globalization, they find this area obsolete and forgotten;
• the elderly or retirees that attend trips to production sites of nostalgia or out of professional curiosity;
• local population, families with children;
• those who combine IT with other spheres of interests (cultural, natural);
• tourists who take part to trips for educational or business purposes (establishing business relations or even finding a job).
Currently, even in countries with well-developed tourism there is a small number of operators offering packages of industrial tourism. This is a relatively new trend not only for our country, but for Europeans or world countries as well.