Civilization 6 Culture Victory explained – how to earn Foreign Tourists, Domestic Tourists, and Tourism in Civ 6

The Civilization 6 Culture Victory is not a simple one. At least not on the surface. There’s been a great deal of confusion how exactly it works right from the get go with Civ 6 – in fact even with Civ 5 it was something developer Firaxis had to wrestle with.

Thanks to some good old fashioned mathematics from the community however, there is now, at last, enough information to put together a proper guide on how to win the Culture Victory, how to earn Foreign and Domestic Tourists, plus explaining how Tourism works, and how Culture affects it.

We’ve assembled this guide based on a combination of in-game info, our own testing, and conversations we’ve held with Firaxis confirming some of the details. It’s also worth noting the work done by the community, particularly CivFanatics forum user Victoria, found here. You can also find any of the formula mentioned in the game’s .exe files – although we recommend you don’t go fiddling around in there unless you know what you’re doing!

Civilization 6 Interview – 18 minutes with lead designer, Ed Beach (plus some new gameplay)

If you’re looking for more resource-focused Civ 6 guides, meanwhile, we also have pages on how to earn Gold, how to earn Faith, and how to earn Science in Civ 6, too.

A quick note: we’ve refreshed out Civ 6 guides for the game’s launch on Nintendo Switch, but just be aware that they contain information regarding the Rise and Fall DLC as well as the base game, which means some things only apply if you have that DLC! Otherwise… crack on!

How does Culture Work and how do you earn a Culture Victory?

First things first, here’s the exact definition of a Civ 6 Culture Victory:

  • To win a Culture Victory, you must have more visiting Foreign Tourists than any other Civ has Domestic Tourists of their own.

With that in mind, we need to know how to earn Foreign Tourists, but also how to earn Domestic Tourists – both so we can stop other Civs from earning them and make our lives easier, and so we can ‘defend’ against other Civs going for the Culture Victory with a large amount of Domestic Tourists of our own. How do we do that? We’ll dive into the specifics further down, but for now all you need to know is you do it by earning Culture.

Culture, as you’ll probably know, is the pink stuff. Indicated with a pink/purple musical symbol (a Treble clef, as it’s known), Culture works much the same as Science: there’s a gauge tracking how much you’re earning per turn in the top left corner of the screen, a series of buildings, Great People, and modifiers which help you earn it; and there’s now a new Civics tree, which works just like Science’s Tech tree, that unlocks Civics as you earn Culture and progress through the game. We’ve summarised them below, but skip ahead past that big list if it’s Tourism you’re after!

List of ways to earn Culture:

Culture Source Type Cultural Effect
Theatre Square District +1 Culture for each adjacent Wonder. +0.5 Culture for each adjacent District. Specialists grant +2 Culture each.
Amphitheater Theatre Square Building +2 Culture
Archaeological Museum Theatre Square Building +2 Culture
Art Museum Theatre Square Building +2 Culture
Broadcast Center Theatre Square Building +4 Culture
Amber Luxury Resources +1 Culture
Coffee Luxury Resources +1 Culture
Jade Luxury Resources +1 Culture
Marble Luxury Resources +1 Culture
Silk Luxury Resources +1 Culture, +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
Cotton Luxury Resources +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
Dyes Luxury Resources +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
Spices Luxury Resources +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
Sugar Luxury Resources +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
Citrus Luxury Resources +1 Culture with Plantation and Oral Tradition
God of the Open Sky Beliefs / Pantheons +1 Culture from Pastures
Oral Tradition Beliefs / Pantheons +1 Culture from Banana, Citrus, Cotton, Dyes, Silk, Spices, and Sugar Plantations
Lay Ministry Beliefs / Pantheons +1 Culture from each Theatre Square distric in cities following this Religion
World Church Beliefs / Pantheons +1 Culture for every 5 followers of the Religion in other Civs
Choral Music Beliefs / Pantheons Shrines and Temples provide Culture equal to their intrinsic Faith output.
Meritocracy Policies +1 Culture for each speciality district constructed
Trade Confederation Policies +1 Culture from international Trade Routes
Raj Policies +2 Culture from each City-State you are Suzerain of
Grand Opera Policies +100% Culture from Theatre Square builings
Market Economy Policies +2 Culture from international Trade Routes for each strategic resource improved at the destination Civ
Collective Activism Policies +10% Culture per City-State you are Suzerain of.
Broadway Wonders +20% Culture in the city where it is constructed
Chichen Itza Wonders +2 Culture for all Rainforest tiles in this city
Colosseum Wonders +2 Culture for all City Centers within 6 miles
Cristo Redentor Wonders +4 Culture
Estadio do Maracanã Wonders +6 Culture in each city of your civ.
Forbidden City Wonders +5 Culture
Great Pyramids Wonders +2 Culture
Oracle Wonders +1 Culture
Potala Palace Wonders +2 Culture
Sydney Opera House Wonders +8 Culture
St. Basil’s Cathedral Wonders +1 Cultra from all Tundra tiles for this city
Cliffs of Dover Natural Wonders +3 Culture on wonder tiles.
Dead Sea Natural Wonders +2 Culture on wonder tiles.
Eyjafjallajökull Natural Wonders +1 Culture on adjacent land tiles.
Hạ Long Bay Natural Wonders +1 Culture on wonder tiles.
Lake Retbba Natural Wonders +2 Culture on wonder tiles.
Matterhorn Natural Wonders +1 Culture to adjacent tiles
Pantanal Natural Wonders +2 Culture on wonder tiles
Piopiotahi Natural Wonders +1 Culture to adjacent tiles
Tsingy de Bemaraha Natural Wonders +1 Culture to adjacent tiles
Uluru Natural Wonders +2 Culture to adjacent tiles
Film Studio Building +4 Culture (America)
Great Wall Building +1 Culture for each adjacent Great Wall (China, requires Castles)
Sphinx Building +1 Culture (Egypt)
Chateau Building +2 Culture, +2 Culture if adjacent to a Wonder (France)
Electronics Factory Building +4 Culture after researching Electricity Tech (Japan)
Ziggurat Tile Improvement +1 Culture if adjacent to a river, +1 Culture with Natural History (Sumeria)
Acropolis District Replaces Theatre Square.+1 Culture from each adjacent Wonder, +1 Culture from each adjacent District, +2 Culture from specialists, +2 Culture if adjacent to City Centre (Greece)
Gorgo Leader Bonus Awards Culture equal to 50% of Combat Strength of defeated units.
Pericles Leader Bonus +5% Culture for each City-State you’re Suzerain of.
Peter Leader Bonus +1 Culture for Trade Routes for every 3 Civics the destination Civ is ahead of you.
Saladin Leader Bonus +10% Culture from worship buildings.
Jadwiga Leader Bonus Relics provide +2 Culture.
Seondeok Leader Bonus +10% Culture from all cities with an established Governor.
Wilhelmina Leader Bonus +1 Culture from Trade Routes to foreign cities.
Great Work of Music Great Works +4 Culture each
Great Work of Writing Great Works +4 Culture each
Great Work of Art Great Work +3 Culture each, doubled when themed
Artifact Great Works +3 Culture each, doubled when themed

Alright, so we know how to earn Culture, but how does that impact on Domestic and Foreign Tourism, seeing as it’s those that we need to win?

How Domestic Tourists and Culture work in Civilization 6

Now that we know what’s needed to win a Culture Victory – more visiting Foreign Tourists than any other Civ’s own Domestic Tourists – it’s time to dive a little deeper, starting with Domestic Tourists and Tourism.

Domestic Tourists are your means of defending against another Civ winning the Culture Victory – the more you have, the more Foreign Tourists another Civ must earn to win – so it’s important to know how Domestic Tourism works – not to mention the fact it also allows you to target other Civs’ sources of Domestic Tourism to make your Culture Victory easier, too.

You can view the Domestic Tourists of a given Civ by looking at the Culture Victory panel from the Victory screen found in the top right. Domestic Tourists for a Civ are indicated by the number under their Civ’s name, next to the colour-corresponding suitcase. Frustratingly hidden, until uncovered from the game’s files by the community (which we’ve since checked with Firaxis), here’s how to find it:

Domestic Tourism formula:

  • Domestic Tourists = (Total Culture + Total Civic Inspiration Culture) / 100

To clarify those terms a little, the Total Culture is the total amount you’ve accrued over the course of your game, whilst Total Civic Inspiration Culture is the total amount of Culture you’ve earned through the Inspiration boosts to your Civic Tree progress.

You don’t actually need to know the specific figures for either of those elements (you can work them out if you really need to, by totalling up all the Culture costs of boosted Civics, found in the Civic Tree – Inspirations unlock 50% (or 60% for China) of a Civic’s required Culture – and then working backwards for your Total Culture). Basically, the two of them together make your ‘real’ total Culture as Inspirations are basically free Culture towards unlocking a specific Civic), and so Domestic Tourism is basically all the Culture you’ve earned, divided by 100.

What this helps you with though is knowing that, if you want to stop other Civs from accruing a large amount of Domestic Tourists themselves, you need to hit their Culture income and, if possible, prevent them from unlocking too many Civic Inspiration boosts. Likewise, if you want to guard against another Civ winning the Culture Victory, you need to generate large amounts of Culture and unlock large numbers of Civic Inspiration boosts yourself.

How Foreign Tourists, Tourism, and Culture work in Civilization 6

Here’s where things get a little more complicated – but also much more interesting.

Winning the Culture Victory, as we know, is all about earning large numbers of visiting Foreign Tourists – but how do you earn Foreign Tourists, and how do the figures found in game for your Tourism and Culture factor into that?

The numbers by the brown suitcases are the amount of Foreign Tourists visiting you from the Civ in that row. They total up to the number in the top right, in this case 247.

What we already know is that the number of Foreign Tourists visiting from a given Civ is shown as the number next to the brown suitcase in the Culture Victory panel, in the row of that Civ (image on the right makes this a little clearer). All the numbers in that column totalled up, then, makes your total Foreign Tourists, and you can see how close you are to your target in the number in the top right of that panel.

Your goal, then, is to increase your visiting Foreign Tourists to the point where you have that required amount for victory (in the image, I have 247 out of the required 350 Foreign Tourists). How do we do that? Well, Foreign Tourists are best explained with an analogy.

Foreign Tourists work a lot like Great People: each turn you earn a certain amount of Great People Points. When you hit a certain threshold, say 1,000 Great People Points, you’ll earn a Great Person. You want to earn lots of Great People over the course of a game. Foreign Tourists work in the same way except the problem is that threshold, unlike the one for Great People, is hidden, so up until now it’s been very hard to see how you can earn Foreign Tourists and gauge how well you’re doing at earning them in your game.

Now however, we know that the further past the hidden Total Tourism Threshold our Tourism from a Civ is, the more Foreign Tourists that Civ sends. Again, following some checks with Firaxis and tests of our own, we also now know the exact formula for figuring out that the Threshold, which in fact depends on how many civilizations there are in the game.

Hidden Total Tourism Threshold formula:

  • Hidden Total Tourism Threshold = Number of Civilizations in the game x 150

Foreign Tourists formula:

  • Foreign Tourists sent from a given Civ = Total Lifetime Tourism from that Civ / Hidden Total Tourism Threshold

Let’s define those terms again one more time for some clarity:

  • Total Lifetime Tourism – The total amount of Tourism (not Tourists, it’s a separate measure altogether) earned from a Civilization. This can be found by hovering over a Civ’s name in the Culture Victory panel. Tourism works in a similar way to Great Person Points.
  • Hidden Total Tourism Threshold – The amount of Tourism required to earn another Foreign Tourist from that Civ.

Time for an example! This should hopefully clarify any residual confusion here, as it definitely took us a little time to get our heads around:

Tourism-per-turn from Greece (428), Total Lifetime Tourism from Greece (54,176), and any Modifiers on Tourism from Greece (-50% Religious Tourism), are shown by hovering over the brown suitcase in their column on this screen.

In this particular game, I’m playing as America. There are eight Civilizations in the game, including me, and one of the foreign Civs is Greece. Let’s do the sums with the figures from that game:

  • Hidden Total Tourism Threshold: 8 x 150 = 1,200
  • Lifetime Tourism from Greece: 54,176
  • Foreign Tourists sent from Greece: 54,176 / 1,200 = 45

So in this game of 8 Civs, for every 1,200 Total Lifetime Tourism I get from Greece, I get one Tourist. I’ve earned 45 Tourists so far (note that the figures for Foreign Tourists are always rounded down to the nearest whole number), and can figure out that I’ll need to hit 55,200 Liftime Tourism from Greece to earn another Foreign Tourism from that Civ.

Okay, so I’ve got to earn a lot of Tourism from Greece then if I want to hit my Total Foreign Tourists target of 350 (again, see top right of image). Fortunately, they’re just one of the eight Civs in the game. But how do I find out how much Tourism-per-turn I’m earning from a Civ, and how can I earn more, faster, to get those precious Foreign Tourists?

Well, Tourism-per-turn from a given Civ comes from two things:

  • Tourist Attractions (our name) – Certain objects in game, from Wonders to Great Works, that provide you with raw Tourism-per-turn. These are listed further below.
  • Tourism Modifiers – Things which multiply your Tourism-per-turn by a certain amount, such as certain Civics, Policies, or Great People. Again, much more on these below.

Tourist Attractions are unfortunately not listed in full anywhere in-game. You can use the Tourism Map Lens and hover over each bubble to get a bit of an idea, but this is cumbersome. We list them in full below for you to try and clear this up.

This ‘Tourism per turn’ indicator, next to your Gold income, is very deceptive, but useful when used correctly: it’s the amount you would earn per turn *before* any Modifiers are applied.

Tourism Modifiers, again, are hard to find in full in-game. You can see some of them in hover-over menus of the Tourism Map Lens, and others hovering over the browns suitcases in the Culture Victory panel. As with Attractions, we list these in full in the next section.

Tourism-per-turn, from an individual Civ, is available to view in-game but somewhat obscured. It’s the number just above Lifetime Tourism, which is also shown from hovering over a Civ’s brown suitcase in the Culture Victory panel. This is shown as “Tourism (current)” in-game, but represents how much you get each turn from that Civ.

Importantly, this is not the figure shown at the top of your screen, which is described as “Tourism per turn” in-game. That number is your raw, pre-modifier Tourism-per-turn calculated before any of the game’s various Tourism Modifiers are applied, and so can be confusing – you could increase that number at the top of your screen, for instance, but have negative modifiers that actually mean you’re still earning fewer Tourists-per-turn from each Civ.

Going back to the example game then, at 428 Tourism-per-turn then (see the same image above), I’ll get another Foreign Tourist from Greece in three turns.

Here’s the Tourism Map Lens in action – hover over one of these bubbles with a number in to see a breakdown of Tourism-per-turn sources from that district, but be warned that this can muddle thinking given the fact that not all modifiers are displayed or clearly labelled.

Tourist Attractions, Tourism Modifiers, and how to earn Foreign Tourists in Civilization 6

Finally, we can get down to a bit of strategy!

We now know that to win the game we need lots of Foreign Tourists. To get Foreign Tourists, we need lots of Tourism-per-turn, and to get lots of Tourism-per-turn, we need Tourist Attractions and Tourism Modifiers. With that in mind, here’s the important stuff:

List of ways to earn Tourism:

  • Wonders: 2 Tourism-per-turn, + 1 Tourism-per-turn per era after they were available.
  • Holy City (city where your Religion is founded): 8 Tourism-per-turn (Religious)
  • Religious Relics: 8 Tourism-per-turn (Religious)
  • Great Works of Writing: 4 Tourism-per-turn
  • Great Works of Music: 3 Tourism-per-turn
  • Great Works of Art: 2 Tourism-per-turn, doubled when themed
  • Archeological Artifact: 3 Tourism-per-turn, doubled when themed
  • Seaside Resorts: Tourism-per-turn = 1 x Tile Appeal
  • National Parks: Tourism-per-turn = 1 x each Tile’s Appeal in the Park
  • Campuses: 10 Tourism-per-turn only if you use the Great Merchant Jamsetji Tata
  • Industrial Zones: 10 Tourism-per-turn only if you use the Great Merchant Masaru Ibuka
  • Flight: generates same amount of Tourism-per-turn as Culture-per-turn earned from tile improvements.

Using Japan as an example, in the same game, I can see I get -50% Japanese Religious Tourism from the Enlightenment Civic, -15% Overall Japanse Tourism for having Differing Governments, and +75% Overall Japanse Tourism for our Trade Route, that’s boosted from 25% by my Online Communities Civic.

On top of these there are Modifiers. Modifiers multiply the Tourism-per-turn earned from certain Tourism Attractions by a percentage. A quick note on Religious Tourism – anything marked “Tourism-per-turn (Religious)” below is a Modifier which only affects sources of Religious Tourism. These are Holy Cities and Relics, which are also marked in the list above with (Religious) so you know what’s affected. Another note: not all Modifiers are shown in-game. There’s no indication, for example, that a 75% boost to Tourism from Trade Routes is actually the 25% standard, plus the 50% from Online Communities; likewise, Leader or Civ-specific bonuses, like that of the Film Studio, are only shown in the Tourism Lens after hovering over a district. Basically, it’s easier to use the list below if you want to get an idea of what’s causing a boost to what:

List of Tourism Modifiers:

  • Civ Bonus – America: Film Studio provides +100% Tourism-per-turn from any Civ that reaches the Modern Era.
  • Civ Bonus – France: +100% Tourism-per-turn from Wonders.
  • Trade Routes: +25% Tourism-per-turn from Civs you have a Trade Route with.
  • Open Borders: +25% Tourism-per-turn from from Civs you have Open Borders with.
  • Policy – Online Communities: +50% Tourism-per-turn from Civs you have a Trade Route with.
  • Policy – Satellite Broadcasts: +100% Tourism-per-turn from Great Works of Music.
  • Tech – Printing: +100% Tourism-per-turn from Great Works of Writing.
  • Tech – Computers: +100% Tourism-per-turn.
  • Civic – Enlightenment: -50% Tourism-per-turn (Religious) from any Civ that has unlocked this Civic.
  • Religious Belief – Reliquaries: +200% Tourism-per-turn (Religious) from Relics.
  • Great Person – Sara Breedlove (Merchant): +25% Tourism-per-turn from other Civs you have a Trade Route to.
  • Great Person – Melitta Bentz (Merchant): +25% Tourism-per-turn from other Civs you have a Trade Route to.
  • Great Person – Mary Leakery (Scientist): +200% Tourism from Artifacts.
  • Differing Religion: Relics earn -50% Tourism-per-turn (Religious) from Civs with a different Religion to you.
  • Differing Governments: Explained below.

The Differing Governments modifier requires another list of its own, thanks to the fact that each Government type (Oligarchy, Fascism, etc.) has a hidden number of its own that factors in to how much of a negative modifier you’ll get for a differing Government.

Here’s how to work it out, followed by a list of Governments and their hidden numbers, for finding out how much of a negative impact having different Governments will give you:

Different Government Modifier Formula and stats:

  • Differing Government Modifier = (GovA + GovB) x 3
  • Chieftain: 0
  • Autocracy: -2
  • Oligarchy: -2
  • Classical Republic: -2
  • Monarchy: -3
  • Theocracy: -4
  • Merchant Republic: -2
  • Fascism: -5
  • Communism: -6
  • Democracy: -3

So for example, if I were a Democracy and another Civ was Fascist, that would be (-5 + -6) x 3 = -24% Tourism-per-turn. So I’m losing almost a quarter of my Tourism-per-turn from that Fascist Civ because of our Government types!

If your lust for Civilization 6 knowledge is still going strong, expansion owners should take a look at our Civ 6 Rise and Fall guide hub which takes you through the basics of everything new, whilst we have dedicated pages on Governors and Loyalty, along with how to earn Golden Ages, Era Points and Era Score through Historic Moments, and a full list of new Civs in Civ 6 Rise and Fall and other DLC. Otherwise, our Civilization 6 guide, tips and tricks covers the essentials before you master early game, mid-game and late-game strategies. We also have tips on the new Districts feature, a Leaders list with their Traits and Agendas, plus the best ways to get Gold, Science, and Faith, how to win by Religious Victory, and how to earn the elusive Science Victory and Military domination victory. Finally, here’s the Culture Victory, Foreign Tourism, and Domestic Tourism explained in depth.

The best way to earn a Culture Victory in Civilization 6

To conclude all of this, then, here’s a nice summary of our advice for earning yourself a Culture Victory:

  • Your main objective – Create Tourist Attractions, and manage Tourism Modifiers, to earn lots of Tourism-per-turn, which will earn you the Foreign Tourists that are needed for victory.
  • Build large amounts of Culture and earn as many Civic Tree Inspiration boosts as possible – to build up high Domestic Tourism and thus prevent other Civs from winning a Culture Victory.
  • Manage your progress – In the Culture Victory screen, hover over the brown suitcase by each Civ to see your Tourism-per-turn from them, your Total Tourism from them, and some of the Modifiers affecting it. Use the figure by the brown suitcase at the top of your screen, next to your Gold income, to check how much raw, pre-Modifier Tourism-per-turn you’re earning for a more general idea.
  • Manage your pre-Modifier Tourism-per-turn by creating Tourist Attractions – to create a large amount of Tourism-per-turn, which in turn increases your Foreign Tourists.
  • Manage your Tourism-per-turn from each Civ by using Modifiers – think about opening your borders and getting out trade routes as soon as you can, to as many Civs as possible. You can also unlock The Enlightenment Civic to slow down another Civ’s Tourism from you if they’re focusing on Tourism from Religious Relics.
  • Think about your choice of Government – this could give you a pretty brutal negative modifier to your Tourism-per-turn (if you have Fascism, and another Civ has Communism, that’s -33% Tourism-per-turn to both of you). The path of least resistance is Chieftain – Classical Republic – Merchant Republic – Democracy, but that’s only if you don’t know what other Governments there are. It might be beneficial to switch to another if it’s the dominant Government-type in the game.
  • Consider a Religious Rush – a Religious Tourism strategy is one of the fastest ways to earn a Culture Victory, thanks to the massive boost to Tourism-per-turn from the Reliquaries Belief. If you can get lots of Relics early on, spread your Religion well to avoid Differing Religion Modifiers, and unlock that Belief quickly, this is a potentially brilliant way to rush a Culture Victory. To counter it spread a Religion of your own, beat rivals to the Reliquaries Belief, amass Culture quickly for Domestic Tourists, close borders and trade to that Civ, or unlock The Enlightenment Civic as soon as possible!
  • Attack other Civs’ source of Culture – this will lower the speed at which they generate Domestic Tourists, and allow you to catch up in the race. Hit Theatre Districts and Archeological Museums with military attacks, buy, steal, or trade for their works of art to prevent theming bonuses, or reduce their Religion’s influence if they’re using it to acquire Culture!

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