6 simple ideas to enhance a community’s tourism business: Part 2

Keep these tips in mind to increase tourism in your community.

Part 1 of this article described three of six simple concepts for enhancing a community’s tourism business:

  1. Develop an identity,
  2. Make connections, and
  3. Create a cohesive web presence. 

These are the three remaining simple suggestions that a community can use to enhance their tourism business. 

4.     Improve Signage

One of simplest and least expensive tourism investments a community can make is to improve their wayfaring signage. Easy to read, understand and appealing signs invite the visitor to stop and take a look.  Do the signs in your community invite the visitor to stop?  Are they readable?  Do they show age or neglect? Are there signs that clearly direct visitors to parks, rivers, businesses or other attractions? 

Signs are not limited to just wayfaring either.  Clocks and other displayed items tell a story about your community.  They should be cared for and in good working order.  Are they? Do crosswalks and other pedestrian areas look fresh and welcoming?  What other visual signs does your community portray to a visitor?

5.     Help Local Businesses

Helping local businesses to succeed can also help the local economy prosper. Some of the following suggestions may have been mentioned in other areas of this article, but bear repeating:

    • Ensure all businesses are aware of tourism efforts that are being made in the community.
    • If possible, provide incentives for businesses to participate in sign improvements.
    • Promote and support entrepreneurism (mentoring, young professional groups, small business counseling, loans, student business assistance, etc.).
    • Assist the help of businesses and include them in developing ‘action-based’ concepts for community tourism advertising (online or print).  For instance, “Experience the joy of camping in Our Towns state forest. Rent camping equipment at Our Town’s Camping Rentals” Or “Learn the history of Our Town’s Train Industry with a personal tour of the 1845 train depot. Tours every Saturday at 1:00 pm.” Or “Eat the best submarine sandwich this side of the Mississippi, at Our Town’s BBQ Grill.”
    • Welcome and support shared economy businesses ventures.

 6.     Involve the Community

Offer community education programs about tourism, the economy of shopping local, starting a tourism business, etc. Cooperative extension services, such as Michigan State University Extension, often offer tourism and entrepreneur programs to communities.

Engage all ages in tourism planning and community awareness:

    • Organize an annual be a Tourist in your own Community event, where residents can learn more about little known attractions that are right in their own backyard.
    • Encourage community art projects.  Grayling, MI is an example of how a community has drawn attention to the importance of local artisans by utilizing video’s, social networking and connecting with a variety of local entities. Also, Arts and Eats in southwest Michigan is a backwoods rural art, food and farm driving tour.
    • Ask students to help design an online game for those driving through your community that may encourage travelers to stop, shop and eat.  Or capitalize on geocaching that may already exist in your community.
    • Involve the community in a farmers market with local art, music and children’s attractions.

It can be easy to begin to build a tourism base that will support both your community and the visitor. Start small and be inclusive.  There are many resources to help a community enhance their tourism business.  Below are four:

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