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The cultural tourism industry emphasizes creativity and scene experience, which is highly compatible with the metaverse. The research of the cultural tourism metaverse is in the infancy stage. The concept, key technologies, and application scenarios are still being explored. Firstly, the paper reviews the evolutionary process of the metaverse. The basic definition, conceptual model, and main features of the cultural tourism metaverse are proposed. The paper considers the cultural tourism metaverse as a subsystem of the metaverse. It is a cultural tourism Internet form formed by existing information technology in the cultural tourism industry. It is a reconfiguration and virtual symbiosis of cultural tourism activities in a three-dimensional digital world. It provides an immersive experience of cultural tourism scenes based on extended reality technology. Based on the digital twin technology, it generates a mirror image of the real-world cultural tourism scene. And relying on the political, economic, and cultural systems under the unified architecture of the metaverse, it realizes the all-around integration of the virtual world and the real world of the cultural tourism industry. The conceptual model of the cultural tourism metaverse consists of key technologies, guarantee systems, participating subjects, and product services. The development of the cultural tourism metaverse cannot be achieved without the support of key technologies. As an industry metaverse application, it does not exist in isolation. Its smooth and reliable operation is closely related to the social, political, economic, cultural, legal and moral system established by the future holistic metaverse. The participating subjects of the cultural tourism metaverse include suppliers, consumers, developers, governors and researchers. It is immersive, interactive, customized, cultural, educational, connected, and interdisciplinary, etc. Secondly, the paper summarizes the research progress and application of key technologies in the field of cultural tourism. These key technologies include basic support technologies (such as intelligent communication, internet of things perception, artificial intelligence, positioning and navigation, big data computing and storage), virtual-real connection technologies (such as virtual geographic environment, digital twin, virtual digital human, decentralization) and virtual-real interaction technologies (such as extended reality, brain-computer interface and video games). The cultural tourism metaverse involves far more information technologies than what is mentioned in the paper. Moreover, all information technologies developed so far in the real world will be reflected in future metaverse scenarios or continuously upgraded and improved. Lastly, we look forward to the application scenarios of the cultural tourism metaverse. Such as cultural heritage digitization and protection, scenic spot (hotel) development and management, guided tour service, cultural tourism marketing, industry supervision, etc. The paper argues that the Lfuture research directions of the cultural tourism metaverse include personalized construction of cultural tourism virtual scenes, rapid migration of existing virtual reality cultural tourism scenes, integration of virtual and real cultural tourism scenes, seamless positioning and navigation of the cultural tourism metaverse, visitor experience and interaction, business models and monetization, and interoperability standards for virtual and real cultural tourism scenes. Metaverse development also faces issues such as ethics, security and privacy, technology, and the challenge of realistic national sovereignty. While technology is always hovering, these technologies will eventually reshape the future shape of society and human life.