Vibrant destinations, ones that attract and engage visitors, are a result of forward-thinking, collaborative leadership teams that assess, vision, plan, and steward a destination toward healthy and sustainable growth. As these collaborative leaders sit down to discuss growth and marketing initiatives, who should have a seat at the table? Leaders across the entire community, including attractions, businesses, local governments, and visitor bureaus are the stewards who must work hand-in-hand to develop the brand and places in the destination people want to experience again and again.
Cultivating the Community
Visitors are naturally attracted to brands and destinations where life is flourishing — becoming a vibrant destination begins with the community creating an authentically attractive and vibrant culture where people want to live, work, and play. An active and engaged community shows off their best assets in genuine gestures — being stopped and asked for recommendations, encouraging friends and family to visit, and sharing on social media.
Building up Businesses
Communities with a diverse mix of retailers go beyond serving residents with a wide array of goods and services — vibrant destinations are often rooted in the growth of unique and innovative businesses serving local residents and attracting visitors. Many retailers appreciate the tourism market and those that have been successful selling to visitors know what brings people to their town — they’re in touch with the tourism demographics, activities, and lifestyle characteristics. Local businesses are often the best and most accurate representatives of the various feedback loops visitors present. Inviting local businesses to the table to discuss tourism initiatives can reveal valuable information and helps local businesses tailor goods and services that complement the area’s attractions and add to the overall appeal of the community, creating a cohesive visitor experience that translates into a strong destination brand.
Developing the Destination
Seeking to improve economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, Economic Development Councils (EDCs) create environments with attractive cultures for visitors to experience. Through spurring investment and development, creating jobs that facilitate growth, and providing a stable tax base, EDCs help fund infrastructure projects needed to create and sustain vibrant destinations. Additionally, inviting EDCs to the table to discuss recruitment and expansion efforts helps to fortify the local economy from potential economic downturns.
Responding to active and engaged environments, vibrant destinations are shaped by collaborative, forward-thinking leadership teams with a commitment to developing a vision with a long-term integrated plan stewarding vibrancy for an entire destination.
Hungry for more? Check out Director of Destination Activation + Marketing Josh Collins’ appearance on the Destination on the Left Podcast to dive deep into creating vibrant destinations.
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