Looking to boost tourism revenue? Start with placemaking

In the New Economy, placemaking must be part of an economic development strategy. For the tourism industry, businesses and communities can enhance the tourist experience through placemaking, which serves as a population attraction strategy.

Downtown Marquette Blueberry Festival |Photo by: Brad Neumann
Downtown Marquette Blueberry Festival |Photo by: Brad Neumann

Michigan’s tourism industry has successfully attracted national and international visitors to the Great Lakes state creating an opportunity for many Michigan communities to capitalize on this traffic with intentional and focused placemaking efforts. Placemaking focuses on creating quality places where people want to live, work, play, shop, learn and visit.

As Michigan recovers from the Great Recession, many communities are challenged with restoring population and attracting new talent. The state attracts hundreds of millions of visitors to Michigan each year as tourists. Perhaps getting people to Michigan is not so difficult, but getting them to stay is the crux of the matter. In the “New Economy”, talent is mobile and tends to be drawn to places with strong amenities and high quality of life. Therefore, a community’s best strategy for success is to focus on creating quality places through good design that attracts people. Engaging in placemaking with your community’s tourism niche in mind has the opportunity to grow your tourism economy and may even lead to population attraction over time. Tourism needs People - People want Place - Tourism needs Place.

Using placemaking as an economic development tool must be part of every community’s strategy in the New Economy. This approach recognizes that good design and built form is critical to creating the quality places that evoke a strong sense of place. That emotional piece – a strong sense of place – is what encourages visitors to return, motivates them to tell others about the great experience they had when visiting, and may even entice them to consider a permanent move to your community. Michigan State University has written extensively about the placemaking and the research that supports it in a new guidebook – Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool. Order your free copy today.

Michigan State University Extension will host Placemaking for Tourism - How to Attract New Visitors and Talent to your Region, a two-part webinar that will highlight placemaking as an economic development strategy, detail Michigan’s important tourism economy and sectors, and provide strategies to enhance the tourist experience through placemaking. The webinar runs 3-4:30 p.m., Oct. 19 and 20, 2016. Pre-registration is required.

Michigan State University Extension helps communities learn how to improve their social and economic appeal to create livable communities and retain jobs. Community leaders are given the tools they need to have a positive effect on their cities, villages, townships, counties and the entire state.

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