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Thread: Tourism

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    Tourism

    I know a lot of us work in one aspect or another in planning. Has anyone here ever worked within a Tourism Department? To me it seems to go hand in hand with Economic Development which I do know a lot of planners end up doing. I am just wondering if anyone has worked as a Tourism Director; where Tourism falls in your government/community, and/or do you think tourism is related to planning??

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    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    I was just working on a brochure and ad campaign to highlight the many tourist attractions (cornfields, cow pastures, road kill sites) of my county.
    Seriously though, as an economic developer, I have been wondering and contemplating ways to play up/integrate the tourism apsect of where I work. I think you are right on to think that this issue lies in the hands of economic developers. Being a center of tourism to me means that you have accomplished the quality of life aspect of economic development. I think there is a tendency for ED's to get hung up on "deals," as they pertain to job creation or retention, incentives and such. Being, or having the ability to become a center of tourism means that total economic development (a fair mix of nice jobs, housing, quality of life) has been met to an extent that is better than others.
    Since where I work is not where I live and is still a little foreign to me I was having a hard time. But then I realized that the events, festivals, and attractions that make people want to live here (part of quality of life) are things that I could market as a tourist destination. C'mon who wouldn't want to come to a Maple Syrup Festival or Gizzard City.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that it would depend on the community that you work for. A place like cow town Iowa won’t have many interactions with tourism, but a place like New Orleans, Grand Haven, or Orlando will.

    I am a big fan of tourism, but I think that most development and planning offices should have a primarily focus on the people who live there already, then attracting visitors will come naturally.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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    Quote Originally posted by michiganplanner
    I was just working on a brochure and ad campaign to highlight the many tourist attractions (cornfields, cow pastures, road kill sites) of my county.
    Seriously though, as an economic developer, I have been wondering and contemplating ways to play up/integrate the tourism apsect of where I work. I think you are right on to think that this issue lies in the hands of economic developers. Being a center of tourism to me means that you have accomplished the quality of life aspect of economic development. I think there is a tendency for ED's to get hung up on "deals," as they pertain to job creation or retention, incentives and such. Being, or having the ability to become a center of tourism means that total economic development (a fair mix of nice jobs, housing, quality of life) has been met to an extent that is better than others.
    Since where I work is not where I live and is still a little foreign to me I was having a hard time. But then I realized that the events, festivals, and attractions that make people want to live here (part of quality of life) are things that I could market as a tourist destination. C'mon who wouldn't want to come to a Maple Syrup Festival or Gizzard City.
    Your right, ED's do get hung up on "deals, industrial expension, etc". We have spearate departments for Tourism and ED in our community. We have TONS of festivals, new Convention Center, thriving Main St. etc...it seems thta the community wants MORE out of Tourism...the merchants on Main was retail sales up, etc...I think that is a VERY desirable community to live in and just am not really sure what a Tourism Director could do to improve it. (I am not in Tourism, I am a planner, interested in tourism, as I am the preservation planner and work mostly in the areas that draw tourist )

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    A place like cow town Iowa won’t have many interactions with tourism, but a place like New Orleans, Grand Haven, or Orlando will.
    What do you mean? We have planters painted white with black spots for folks to come and look at!
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    What do you mean? We have planters painted white with black spots for folks to come and look at!
    You shouldn't do that to your civil servants.

    We have a regional tourism commission that allegedly handles tourism initiatives, but they seem to forget about us. 'Tis okay right now: we'ver bigger fish to fry before we get to that.
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Tourism has been a key element in all but a couple of the economic development strategies I have implemented. It is fairly common to see tourism housed in a separate organization though, sometimes due to the nature of the funding sources and sometimes because tourism may be involved in events planning and other activities that are not closely related to economic development or planning. Planners and economic developers have a role in developing the tourism strategies. Economic developers can contribute knowledge of how to capture tourist spending. Planners are necessary to help focus on development of the tourism resources.* Tourism is also one of those ways that people find out about a place. Every piece of tourism literature should have contact information, if not an ad or article about economic development. Those tourists might also be the people who move their business, set up a consulting practice, or return to build a vacation or retirement home.


    * One of the most common mistakes I have seen in small communities is the presumption that tourism is only a marketing campaign. I admonish people to FIRST DEVELOP THE RESOURCE! It does very little good to advertise yourself as the biking capital of West Carolina if visitors cannot find trails or marked routes, points of interest, or even a map of biking routes in the region. The same is true of downtowns that advertise themselves as a destination of unique specialty and antique stores because it is what they want to be, when all they have is a Do-It hardware store and Caseys next to the post office.
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    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    I would have to echo Cardinals sentiment.
    One issue I see, is that the local event planners that put on a community's festival or whatever are usually volunteers and their expertise doesn't often lead them to think about using the event as a tourism tool and local government leadership seems to not care. A great example I personally know of is the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell, MI . It's in June and is advertised like crazy in the area (local radio and newspaper). I have never seen it advertised (by any means) in a Southeast Michigan market. I don't know how the people that put these things on expect it to grow if they don't (sigh) "think outside the box." i.e their local geographical box. It occurred to somebody last year that they should have signs along I-96 to promote it and let passers by know where to get off the highway. The only problem was reading a smaller than a "house for sale" sign at 80 mph after the exit at which passers by should have gotten off.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

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    Thanks for all of the replies, you seem to be echoeing my thoughts. My real reason for asking about tourism is that there is a possible position opening around here and I am wondering if it would be something for me or if other areas found it to be very separate from planning. I am currently working in a position that preserves the buildings and area to keep it authentic for tourists to visit, I wonder now if I could promote what I have helped to maintain the past 5 years. I really don't know, it seems pretty removed from planning and preservation, but I would dtill be working with the same areas and the same citizens as I currently do...anyway, thank you for the input, I really do appreciate it. (But now have even more to ponder )

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