Revitalizing urban and rural communities through tourism assessment

Michigan State University Extension developed the First Impressions Tourism program to meet the needs of Michigan’s rural communities interested in community revitalization via tourism and recreation.

Tourism

Tourism, one of Michigan’s largest industries, is vital to the survival and revitalization of many rural and urban communities. Michigan State University Extension developed the First Impressions Tourism program to meet the needs of Michigan’s rural communities interested in community revitalization via tourism and recreation.

FIT helps communities learn about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of first-time, unannounced visitors who conduct a comprehensive community assessment. Educators then share those results in an open community forum and provide recommendations that drive community action. 

In its second year, the FIT program worked with four communities, with nearly 180 people attending presentations or participating: 

  • 99% said the program can help Michigan communities interested in developing tourism.
  • 90% said they and their community would use the information shared to advance tourism.
  • 84% said their knowledge of how to maximize community assets increased as a result of participating in the program.

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