In recent years the travel and tourism industry has proven to be one of America’s most productive engines for economic growth and job creation. At a time when leaders at all levels are searching for solutions to sluggish growth, unemployment, increased competition, and continued economic challenges, tourism is proving to be a valuable investment.
But its benefits are bypassing many communities because they are unable to present themselves as a viable destination.
When it comes to generating or consolidating community employment, it’s important for leaders to note that most tourism jobs cannot easily be outsourced. While jobs in other industries may have been shipped overseas, the tourism jobs tied to downtowns, Main Streets, historic and cultural precincts and natural areas can no more be outsourced than the attractions themselves. A study by McKinsey Global Institute casts tourism in a positive light and predicts as many as one in seven new jobs over the next decade will come from travel and tourism.
There is a great opportunity for convention & visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, tourism offices and local government to capitalize on this important trend if they adopt the right community-wide approaches for tourism management in downtowns and small cities. Importantly, success in tourism takes more than an ad hoc approach. Decades of developing Tourism Readiness Reports has shown us that highly successful downtowns and small cities are organized and consistently display the twenty-five characteristics outlined in this article.