Communities across Michigan will receive perspectives of first-time visitors to improve tourism and strengthen quality of life
Michigan State University Extension tourism educators begin working with another round of communities committed to taking action and making improvements based on the strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of first-time visitors.
Michigan State University Extension’s First Impressions: Tourism Assessment (FIT) program kicks off another series of assessment for rural communities interested in learning about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of first-time visitors.
As of June 2018, three communities, after applying, have been selected for the FIT program while another three will be selected before summer is over. The three communities successful so far in their application are:
All three communities are in various stages of the FIT program. For example, East Jordan has received their surprise visitors between mid-May and late June, whereas the Village of Dundee will receive first-time visitors sometime between mid-July and late-August. Bessemer, MI, too will receive visitors around that time as well. All three communities will finish the FIT program sometime between late August and October.
In 2017, Michigan State University Extension tourism educators partnered with Prosperity Region 6 to offer four First Impressions: Tourism Assessments (FIT) to four separate communities during 2017. The Village of Elkton and the Village of Sebewaing (Huron County), Imlay City (Lapeer County), and the City of Marlette (Sanilac County) worked directly with MSU Extension tourism educators one-on-one to accomplish the FIT program. The partnership led to each community being awarded $2,000 dollars from Prosperity Region 6 to implement improvements of their choice based on the results from FIT.
FIT is a comprehensive community assessment conducted by unannounced visitors to a host community positioned to lead development based on the program results. FIT involves developing a community leadership team (CLT), assessing the host community, sharing the results in a community forum open to all, and providing suggestions to drive community action. Overall, FIT helps communities learn about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of first-time visitors. The results of FIT can spawn local leadership, strengthen community vitality, and form the basis for future development.
Communities interested in learning more about Michigan State University Extension’s First Impressions: Tourism Assessment program can read further by visiting our website and searching FIT articles.