What do we know about tourism in rural communities?
In many rural communities, tourism is a major sector of economic activity. It is in a strategic position to make a positive contribution to the sustainable development of rural communities and serve as a successful community development model. But how do we get at that benefit?
How can tourism progress in a sustainable way as a tool of development?
This question may seem to have an easy answer but can be challenging to resolve. This is especially apparent in Eastern Ohio. A recent influx of energy development in Eastern Appalachian Ohio has increased occupancy of hotels. In addition to the 95% occupancy rate, developers have built new hotels. This creates another question, how to maintain and sustain the tourism industry in rural Ohio?
A case study was conducted of a county in Eastern Appalachian Ohio with a population of 42,000. In this community where 13 hotels are located, five have been built in the past three years. With the increased capacity and occupancy of hotels has come an increase in the bed tax. This year a decline has begun in the bed tax due in large part to the reduction in energy exploration.
What is this community doing to sustain tourism now that there is a drop in revenue?
- Developed a long term plan for sustainability
- Prioritized and narrowed focus of two achievable goals
- Developed steps with an action plan to achieve the goals
If you would like more information about this or other related research, please contact Cynthia Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Submitted by Cynthia Bond, Assistant Professor and County Extension Educator, Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)