Tourism as economic development makes sense. Get people from outside of your community to come visit your natural resources, your events, and your community. Have them shop in town, eat at the restaurants, get gas in town, and stay overnight in your hotels, and that will stimulate your economy. We can all see that picture pretty clearly.
Why do people come to your town?
Some of the things we don’t always see are why people want to come to our towns. It’s no big deal to us to go down to the small beach at the lake and enjoy swimming. Or drive out to the woods and fish by the creek. How about enjoying the dirt track races? Or park the car on the main street, and sit on the benches, and listen to live music on Thursdays.
What else can you do in a small town?
Look for ghosts at sunset in the old cemetery or make etchings on paper of the headstones. Learn the history of that family at the local library. We can just walk into the fire station and ask for a tour and be treated to a hands-on amazing try-on-the-uniform kind of tour! Many things we take for granted we assume others in our town know about, but that’s not true.
Ask people ‘What are the fun things to do in town?’ Make a list of them and share them. Keep adding to that list.
What can you do as a local?
This year as you plan your vacations, why not plan a few days spent in your town? Look at that list and add some of those activities to your staycation. Enjoy time with your family and friends and think about each day as an adventure. Post pictures on the socials, just like you do when you are on vacation. Hashtag it! #stayhome #staycationintown
Bringing more people to our community as visitors is a step towards economic development. Seeing what an area offers in the way of recreation and entertainment helps to get people thinking ‘Maybe I could live in a community like this.’
Looking for the positive and possibilities makes your town even greater for visitors and the locals!