''Tourism adds visibility, viability to region''
- Greetings everyone,
I thought I would forward - with the author's permission - this article from
a colleague south of the border who has nailed bang on the underlying value
of our industry to economically challenged rural regions and communities.
''Tourism adds visibility, viability to region
Some individuals do not consider tourism a primary industry; however,
tourism can be primary for our economic development. Tourism adds needed
visibility and viability to our region. A recent Department of Commerce
study prepared in 2001 by East Carolina University titled Assessing the
Economic Impact of Ecotourism Developments on the Albermarle/Pamlico Region
(#99-06-07459) highlights the dramatic economic impacts tourism can have on
The study notes that the Albermarle and Pamlico region of North Carolina
entails a five county region that ranked in the bottom third of North
Carolina counties for median household income. Two of the counties in the
region ranked as the poorest counties in the state. Four of the five
counties have a median household income 20 percent below the state median
household income. In this depressed region of the Southeast United States,
the citizens worked to develop eco-tourism events that would spur economic
development for the region.
Within a short amount of time, they garnered more development and positive
exposure than they could ever imagine. A brief review of the effects begins
to tell the story of what we can do in the Northwest region of North Dakota.
In 1999, direct event spending was about $2 million. However, by linking
eco-tourism events with cultural events or recreation, the region was able
to leverage $2 million of direct event spending to over $90 million in total
regional economic impact to include direct capital improvements to the
region. Travel and tourism related jobs grew to 1,020 with a tourism
generated payroll of $15.5 million.
In addition to the direct and expanded economic impact, visitors who are at
prime investment age spent quality time in the region. The visitors were
split evenly between men and women. Here's a break-down of the visitors in
prime age categories:
Age 31-40, 18 percent.
Age 41-50, 23 percent.
Age 51-60, 29 percent.
Over age 60, 19 percent.
Notice that the population groups noted above represent the prime employment
age as well as business decision-making age groups. These individuals
represent the high human and financial capital owners that we want to
attract to our region. A positive tourism experience can lead to decisions
that land businesses as well as high skill employees in our region.
This study demonstrates that tourism can have a huge impact in the
development of a region. But what can tourism do for Minot and Northwest
North Dakota? Here are just a few local improvements tourism can spark:
Increases capital spending and payroll.
Enhances quality-of-life for current residents and future residents by
spurring growth in retail, entertainment, arts, recreation, increased use
of transportation nodes (Amtrak, air, and roads), restaurants, and lodging.
Increases growth in existing tourism events such as the Norsk Hostfest,
the North Dakota State Fair, and many other regional events.
Increases capital improvements in town and city centers that improve the
"look" of the community financed through tourism expenditures.
Introduces potential new residents and businesses to our communities.
Infuses need funds into the communities.
Increases developments that make the region a better place to live and
Adjustments must be made in comparing tourism in this region with tourism in
the densely populated regions of our country. People traveling to Northern
Virginia can equally enjoy Washington D.C. with many tourism splendors. To
attract people to less densely populated regions such North Dakota, we must
do the following:
Link community tourism events and opportunities to neighboring regions and
states - get people to our areas that are also interested in Mount Rushmore
or Canada. People that take longer than extended weekend vacations are most
prone to visit our region and we must offer tourism opportunities that can
fill a one to two week period.
Market internationally linking our Native American communities, Farm
communities, European heritage, and wide open spaces for "driving the
Consider reverse "snow birding" during the summer months to attract
residents from the southern regions of our country.
Consider developing progressive winter events that attract "off-season"
tourists and makes greater use of our community resources.
Market eco-tourism aggressively.
Tourism is one of the important tools in our economic development tool kit
and should be considered on an equal basis with our other tools. We have
several world-class events in our region and we should leverage these events
to secure year-round world-class tourism events and opportunities to grow
Roderic Hewlett is the dean of Minot State University's College of Business
and Graduate School, in a state (North Dakota) where I've been spending a
fair bit of time lately.
Recognize the challenge?
Claude-Jean Harel, President and CEO
Great Excursions Co.
3416 Gordon Road
Regina, SK S4S 2V4
(306) 569-3182 fax
web site: www.greatexcursions.com
Canadian Manager of Michel Fournier's Super Jump Team www.legrandsaut.org
Founding member of the Learning and Enrichment Travel Alliance Canada
Proud member of Responsibletravel.com www.responsibletravel.com
Proud member of the Saskatchewan Tourism Authority www.sasktourism.com
Proud member of Tourism Regina www.tourismregina.com
Proud member of the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership