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Promoting Tourism in Rural America



This revision of Promoting Tourism in Rural America covers the major issues in rural tourism including agritourism, cultural/heritage tourism, ecotourism, planning, marketing, economic impact and more. It provides web links to more than fifty full-text "how to" information guides, manuals, and handbooks for assisting local officials, communities, and citizens involved in tourism development and includes a section of resources organizations.

The reader may also access additional tourism resources including success stories/case studies, funding and assistance programs, and statistical information located on the Rural Information Center's Rural Tourism page at

This publication contains material that is considered accurate, readable, and available. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Agriculture. Inclusion of publications, software, and databases in this publication does not imply product endorsement.
For more information about National Agricultural Library Policy and Disclaimers:

This source guide was revised and updated by Patricia LaCaille John November 2004.
Rural Information Center Publication Series Number 60, Revised Edition. Last Modified: February, 2015

Tourism Development Overview

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism Development

The pros and cons of tourism development in rural America are varied. Tourism provides income and diversification to rural communities. Most of the dollars generated from outside visitors stay within the local economy.

In addition to gains from direct sales to visitors, many indirect benefits are realized from tourism. Visitors contribute to the tax revenues collected and can influence the quality of life by financing community facilities such as swimming pools, golf courses, restaurants, and shopping facilities. Community events intended for tourists, also attract local residents. Many potential industries prefer locations that provide high quality services and recreational resources. If the community is a pleasant place, the visitors may become a permanent resident.

Tourism offers other indirect benefits. For example, the need to provide services to tourists creates new jobs in the community. Although they may not be high paying employment opportunities, these jobs satisfy the need of students and dual-earning families for part-time or seasonal employment.

On the other hand, developing and maintaining the tourist industry in a community requires added costs and puts pressure on public services. The cost of surveys, impact analysis, promotions, insurance, fund raising, and operations are some points to consider.

Managing Resources Requires Planning

Advanced planning maximizes the advantages and minimizes the disadvantages of developing rural tourism.

Steps in Planning and Developing Tourism

    • Define Goals/Objectives
    • Identify Existing Resources/Attractions
    • Consult Outside Organizations
    • Analyze Feasibility/Impacts
    • Develop Marketing Plan
    • Identify Alteratives
    • Implement Plan
    • Monitor/Evaluate Results

Tips and Technologies

Many communities can develop tourism into a major industry using these techniques:

  • Understand the potential for tourism development
  • Inform and educate the community to create support
  • Secure investments for public and private sources
  • Manage natural, human, and financial resources
  • Build an image for the community

Where to Start

Leaders must first assess the potential for tourism in the community. What businesses serve travelers and how much additional revenue will it generate? Are these enough services to satisfy the potential demands? What are the goals and objectives of the community? Talk about tourism with other members of the community. Tourism requires support, and one way to gain support is by informing and educating the citizenry. Introduce the idea to the Chamber of Commerce, at civic clubs, at city council, or at other community organization meetings. The community and its leaders can broaden support for tourism by securing financial commitments from public and private sources.

Existing Resources

Managing natural, human and financial resources is an important component of tourism development. Most communities have existing resources and attractions that can draw visitors, such as:

  • natural settings
  • scenery
  • parks and recreations
  • historical identity
  • cultural identity
  • ethnic identity
  • volunteers
  • students
  • retirees
  • events
  • festivals
  • fairs
  • shops
  • hotels
  • local industries
  • art galleries

Capitalize on Existing Resources

What Does Your Community Have to Offer?

Conduct an inventory of the things that your community has to offer to tourists. Describe each type of attraction in terms of quality and quantity. Separate them by "core elements" (primary reasons tourist are attracted) and "secondary elements" (supporting resources; those that contribute positively to the tourists' travel experience). Look ahead at the resources that might be enhanced or used more fully.

Surveys and Models

Surveys and models are used in the process of tourism planning to determine:

  • Community attitudes toward tourism
  • Recreational use value and demand
  • Tourism patterns
  • Travel costs
  • Economic impacts

Types of survey methods include telephone interviews, questionnaires, and mall interviews.

Telephone interview are low in cost, and provide a quick turn-around. In order to simplify the responses, the interviewer offers a minimum number of choices to each question in the survey. The interviewer also sends a letter before the call is made to state the date and time of the survey and ask the customer's cooperation.

Questionnaires can be used to identify the different types of tourists, or market segments. The surveyor lists responses that can be checked off by the visitor. This type of response is easy to tabulate. The survey may include questions that ask:

  • Where does the visitor live?
  • What attracts the visitor to the community?
  • How does the visitor find out about tourist attractions?
  • What type of businesses/facilities does the visitor use?
  • What kinds of accommodations/services are needed?

The survey tests the questionnaire to determine the typical responses and to modify the questions.

Face-to-face interviews are useful if visual aids are necessary, for instance, in evaluating what promotional materials are pleasing to the consumer. These interviews are conducted at a central location, such as in a shopping mall.

Developing a Marketing Plan

An important step in tourism planning is determining target market segments. Experts begin by defining the market areas that will draw the most visitors. They then divide the market into trip length categories. Finally, they define the clientele that will be attracted to the community. Use the chart below as a guide:

Geographic Market Areas

  • Day Trips
    • short -- within 50 miles
    • long -- up to 200 miles

  • Pass Through Visits
    • day visits
    • overnight stays

  • Overnight Trips
    • weekends
    • vacations

  • Outdoor Recreation Activities
    • Water Recreations
    • Camping, Hiking, Bicycling
    • Hunting
    • Winter Sports
    • Horseback Riding
    • Picnicking
    • Hang Gliding, Ballooning
    • Nature Study
    • Photography, Painting

  • Entertainments
    • Cultural Heritage
    • Historic sites
    • Events
    • Fairs, Festivals
    • Shopping
    • Picnicking

  • Other Travel Purposes
    • Visit Friends & Relatives
    • Business

    Tourism Market Segments 1

    When the expert has determined the market segments, leaders of the community are ready to make a written marketing plan. This plan helps them to see the best combination of marketing strategies, prices, places and promotions to use. Which characteristics are unique to the community? Using the plan, the leaders are able to develop a theme that ties the community's businesses and services together.

    It is important to involve all facets of the community in the decision making process. Remember that everyone and everything the visitor has contact with projects and promotes something about the community.

    Keep your promotional messages short and targeted to the community theme. Use your theme to promote your community:

    • on brochures, billboards, posters
    • on t-shirts, hats, stickers, coupons
    • at demonstrations, contests, the library
    • for public announcements on television, radio or community calendars


    1. Tourism Planning. Daniel J. Stynes and Cynthia O'Halloran. Extension Bulletin E-2004. East Lansing, MI: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Michigan, October 1987, pp. 12-13. NAL Call No: 275.29.M58B.

    Tourism Planning: Internet Resources

    1. Alaska Community Tourism Handbook: How to Develop Tourism in Your Community. Alaska Division of Community and Economic Development. 34p. [PDF File]

      Helps communities decide whether tourism could work in their area and if so, how to introduce tourism in their communities.

    2. Attracting the Migratory Retiree. J. Thomas Chesnutt, V. Wilson Lee, Mark Fagan. Alabama Cooperative Extension. 1993.

      Many communities have identified both tourism and retiree attraction as means of achieving a balanced economic base and recognize that individuals approaching retirement are likely to embark on travel in an attempt to find the most desirable retirement location opening new and affluent tourism markets

    3. Community Tourism Assessment Handbook: A Nine-step Guide Designed to Facilitate the Process of Determining Whether Tourism Development is Right for Your Community.. Jane L. Brass, ed. Corvallis, OR.: Western Rural Development Center, Oregon State University, 1996. NAL Call No.: G155 U6C65 1994. [PDF File]

      Covers all basics of tourism, and one chapter focuses on surveying community resident attitude.

    4. Diversifying the Rural Economy: Tourism Development. Mike Woods. Southern Rural Development Center. 2000. 10p. [PDF File]

      Addresses opportunities and challenges related to the tourism industry; reviews pros and cons of local tourism development; and, summarizes options for rural tourism.

    5. Stories Across America: Opportunities for Rural Tourism. National Trust for Historic Reservation. 2001. 40p. [PDF File 3.19MB]

      "Includes the stories of rural regions and small communities that have developed successful tourism programs and create linkage that tie attractions and visitor services together into a comprehensive visitor experience.

    6. Tourism Planning. Daniel J. Stynes and Cynthia O'Halloran. Extension Bulletin E-2004. East Lansing, MI: Cooperative Extension Service, University of Michigan, October 1987, pp12-13.

      Provides a simple structure and basic guidelines for comprehensive tourism planning at a community or regional level.


    Tourism Development

    1. 101 Ideas on Economic Development. Cal Clark. Omaha, NE: Peoples Natural Gas, 1994. 115 p.

      Compilation of newspaper columns written by the author. Focus on different aspects of economic development in the Mid-West.

    2. 101 More Ideas on Economic Development. Cal Clark. Omaha, NE: UtiliCorp United, 1997.128p.

      Compilation of newspaper columns by the author.

    3. Discovered Country: Tourism and Survival in the American West. Scott Norris, ed. Albuquerque, N.Mex.: Stone Ladder Press, 1994. 249 p.

      Focuses on tourism in the western United States.

    4. "Economic Impacts of Guided Whitewater Rafting: a Study of Five Rivers." Donald B.K. English and J.M. Bowker. Water Resources Bulletin 32 (December 1996): 1319-1328. NAL Call No.: 292.9 Am34.

      Examines the statewide economic impact of guided whitewater rafting on five rivers in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maine, Idaho, Georgia and South Carolina. Includes a thorough analysis of the economic benefits and potential detriments.

    5. Enhancing Rural Economies Through Amenity Resources: A National Policy Symposium. Joanne F. Zeigler, ed. State College, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University, 1991. 196 p.

      Certain essays are outdated, but many are still pertinent. Focuses on developing policies, amenity resources, partnerships, transportation, and quality of life issues.

    6. Ethnic Variation in Leisure and Recreational Interests. Edward J. Jepson, Jr., David W. Marcouiller. CLP Bibliography 311. Chicago, IL: Council of Planning Librarians, 1994. 24 p.

      Includes material to assist planners in understanding the ethnic variation in leisure and recreation behavior and preferences.

    7. "Leaders' Perspectives on Rural Tourism: Case Studies in Pennsylvania." Lisa Bourke and A.E. Luloff. Journal of the Community Development Society 26 no.2 (1995): 224-39. NAL Call No.: HN49C6J6.

      Includes case-studies of local leader and resident attitudes toward and perceptions of tourism development efforts. Analyses economic benefits, social impacts. local participation, and threats to rurality associated with tourism. Findings contradict earlier literature. Emphasis is on local participation.

    8. "Local Dependency, Land Use Attitudes, and Economic Development: Comparisons Between Seasonal and Permanent Residents." Gary P.Green, David Marcouiller, Steven Deller, Daniel Erkkila, and N.R. Smith. Rural Sociology 61 no.3 (1996): 427-445. NAL Call No.: 275.29 K4152.

      Examines attitudes toward land use controls and economic development among seasonal and permanent residents. Includes a case specific to a northern Wisconsin county, but useful to any region that has seasonal residents. Study shows that these two groups often differ in opinion on these two issues.

    9. Niche Markets and Rural Development: Workshop Proceedings and Policy Recommendations. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Paris: OECD, 1995. 142 p. NAL Call No.: HN49.C6N5 1995.

      Discusses creating niche markets for rural tourism.

    10. "Organizing Resources for Rural Tourism Development: The Importance of Leadership, Planning and Technical Assistance." Patrick T. Long and Jonelle S. Nuckolls. Tourism Recreation Research 19 no.2 (1994): 19-34.

      Analyzes the role of leadership, planning, and technical assistance in tourism development and includes several cases.

    11. "Planned Retirement/Recreation Communities are Among Development Strategies Open to Amenity-Rich Rural Areas." Paul B. Siegal, Frank O. Leuthold, and Judith I. Stallman. Rural Development Perspectives 10 no. 2 (1995): 8-14. NAL Call No.: aHN90.C5R78.

      Details one project to attract new retirees to a rural community and focuses on increasing local tax revenue without the dramatic increased demand for services.

    12. Planning for Balanced Development: A Guide for Native American and Rural Communities. Susan Guyette. Santa Fe, N. Mex.: Clear Light Publishers, 1996. 312 p.

      Includes chapters on sustainable development, cultural revitalization, business development, and generating funding and business plan guidelines.

    13. "Railroads, Tourism, and Native Americans in the Greater Southwest." Shelby J. Tisdale. Journal of the Southwest 38 no.4 (1996): 433-462.

      Details the history of tourism in the southwestern U.S., and how railroads effected its development and the lives and traditions of Native Americans of the region. Provides useful background for any examination or venture into tourism in the region.

    14. "Rural Action Class Perceptions of Tourism and its Potential for Economic Development: Case Studies from Four Rural Pennsylvania Counties." Steven W. Burr. General Technical Report, No. INT-323 (1995): 82-89.

      Conducted in rural Pennsylvania the applicability of this study goes beyond one state. Local residents' understanding of and commitment to tourism as a development tool is very important. Can be complex and appear technical. Implications of study are detailed and relevant.

    15. Rural Development in the United States: Connecting Theory, Practice, and Possibilities. William A. Galston and Karen J. Baehler. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1995. 353 p. NAL Call No.: HN90.C6G35 1995.

      Provides a broad overview of rural development in general and includes a chapter on tourism that focuses on various development strategies.

    16. Rural Tourism: An Annotated Bibliography. Dennis M. Brown. Rural Information Center. 2002. 51p.

      Summarizes studies on rural tourism in the United States, but some international studies are also included. Includes tourism planning and development, tourism marketing, tourism and rural development, tourism and sustainable development, economic and other effects of tourism, heritage tourism, nature-based tourism/ecotourism, and agritourism.

    17. Rural Tourism Handbook: Selected Case Studies and Development Guide. United States Travel and Tourism Administration. Washington, D.C.: USTTA, 1993. 188p.

      Compilation of case studies that focus on different aspects of rural tourism and development. Includes issues related to the benefits and challenges, leadership, organization, assessment, goals, and marketing.

    18. Tourism: a New Perspective. Peter Burns and Andrew Holden. London: Prentice Hall, 1995. 239 p.

      Encompasses nearly every aspect of tourism of interest to community and organization leaders.

    19. "Tourism and Food Service: Two Sides of the Same Coin." Stephen Elmont. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly 36 no.1 (1995): 57-63.

      Ostensibly directed at government officials in developing countries, this report is useful to any region or community considering tourism development. Itemizes reasons to develop food service industry, and describes the role of government and private sector leaders in this process. Applicable as an integrated approach to tourism development.

    20. Tourism Development. Patricia LaCaille John. Quick Bibliography Series: QB95-19. Rural Information Center. 1995. 46p.

      Contains 260 bibliographic citations to books and articles published between 1988 and 1994 identified in the AGRICOLA Database the National Agricultural Library.

    21. "Tourism Means More Than Money to the Host Community." Claudia, Jurowski. Parks and Recreation 31 no.9 (1996): 110-118. NAL Call No.: 98.8P23.

      Focuses on the non-economic benefits of tourism. Identifies three significant groups of citizens within a community: the attached resident, the resource user, and the environ-mentalist. Identifies some non-economic benefits and suggests activities to gain support from these three groups.

    22. "Tourism on American Indian Lands in the USA." Alana Lew. Tourism Management 17 no.5 (1996): 355-365.

      Based on a survey of over 330 Native American tribal governments, this report provides a cross-section of the tourism management structures in place across the U.S. Useful to anyone considering tourism on a reservation or analyzing tourism management on Indian reservations within the United States.

    23. Tourism Planning. David W. Marcouiller. CPL Bibliography No. 316. Chicago, IL: Council of Planning Librarians, 1995. 37 p.

      This annotated bibliography is for professional tourism planners and all those interested in strategic planning for tourism development.

    24. "Toward Integrative Tourism Planning in Rural America." David W. Marcouiller. Journal of Planning Literature 11 no.3 (1997): 337-357.

      In depth examination of integrative planning literature past and present. Emphasis on integrating rural tourism planning efforts within the broader regional development contexts with respect to existing political, social, cultural, and environmental atmosphere. Useful charts for planning and monitoring the planning process included. Extensive reference list.

    25. A Training Guide for Rural Tourism Development. Barbara Koth, Glenn Kreag, and John Sem. St. Paul, MN: Rural Tourism Center, Minnesota Extension Service, 1995. 1 vol.

      Designed as a practical training tool and comprehensive 300 page reference guide, this publication provides how-to information for rural communities working on tourism programs. Along with the training guide, two videos, Success Story Video and Turn it Around with Tourism, were also developed.

    26. Using County Sales Tax to Identify Tourism Trends: Selected Wisconsin Counties. Prepared by David W. Marcouiller, Jeffery A. Alpi. Extension Report 95.1. Madison, WI: Tourism Research and Resource Center, University of Wisconsin-Extension/ Madison, 1995.

      This report discusses the trend of the use of county outlines trends in tourism-sensitive business sectors at the county level using sales tax information provided by the State. Generally, higher net sales tax per capita are found among counties where tourism is relatively more important.

    27. World Tourism at the Millennium: An Agenda for Industry, Government, and Education. D.L. Edgell Washington D.C.: U.S. Travel and Tourism Association, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1993. 64 p. NAL Call No.: G155.A1E33 1993.

      Very broad report intended to show tourism's impact on the world and the world's impact on tourism. No specific regional of national focus. Useful in understanding global economic forces.

      Economic Impact

    28. Assessing the Economic Impacts of Recreation and Tourism: Conference & Workshop. Department of Park and Recreation Resources. Michigan State University, East Lansing. Dennis B. Propst, Compiler. Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 1985. 64p.

      A collection of eight papers that explore and assess the best available technology to evaluate the economic impact on recreation and tourism. Recommends research strategies for meeting methodological and data needs.

    29. "A Bumpy Economic Road for Rural Communities: Portraying the Reactions of Local Leaders to Facility Closures and Economic Development in Six Mid-western States." Tim Knapp, F. Larry Leistritz, and Kenneth Root." Small Town 27 no.2 (September-October 1996): 12-19. NAL Call No.: HT101.S52.

      Survey of almost 1,400 non-urban communities used to assemble data on attitudes after facility closures. Valuable info. about economic development efforts used by study communities included. Results indicate larger towns are better situated to survive and recover from facility closures.

    30. Community Economic Analysis: A How to Manual. Ronald J.Hustedde, Ron Shaffer, and Glen Pulver. Ames, IA: North Central Region Center for Rural Development, 1993. 65 p. NAL Call No.: HN49 C6H87. [PDF FIle]

      Presented in Q & A format, answers are detailed and supported by charts, graphs, formulas, and appendices. A case example is included.

    31. Cost-Benefit Analysis of Local Tourism Development. George Goldman, Anthony Nakazawa, and David Taylor. Corvallis, OR: Western Rural Development Center, Oregon State University, 1994. 9 p. No. 147. [PDF File]

      Offers a walk through of the steps required to perform a cost-benefit study for tourism assessment. Examples are included along with charts to organize the needed information. Includes a list of reasons to conduct such a study.

    32. Domestic Outlook for Travel and Tourism. Travel Industry Association of America. 2004.

      Contains a series of economic, demographic, and marketing expert analysis of the challenges facing the industry.

    33. Domestic Travel Market Report. Travel Industry Association of America. Annual.

      Provides an overview of more than one billion person-trips taken domestically by U.S. residents. Also includes trip characteristics and traveler demographics.

    34. The Economic Impact of Visitors to Your Community. George Goldman, Anthony Nakazawa, and David Taylor. Corvallis, OR: Western Rural Development Center, Oregon State University, 1994. 11 p. No. 144. [PDF File]

      Examines why an economic impact study is important and should be conducted before any community undertakes efforts to promote tourism. Emphasizes the total environment--social, biological, and business. Includes steps to create and tailor a plan to your community.

    35. "Economic Impacts of Guided Whitewater Rafting: a Study of Five Rivers." Donald B.K. English and J.M. Bowker. Water Resources Bulletin 32 (December 1996): 1319-1328. NAL Call No.: 292.9 Am34. [PDF File]

      Examines the statewide economic impact of guided whitewater rafting on five rivers in North Carolina, West Virginia, Maine, Idaho, Georgia and South Carolina. Although technical at times, it provides a thorough analysis of the economic benefits and potential detriments.

    36. Economic Impacts of Protecting Rivers, Trails, and Greenway Corridors: A Resource Book. 4th ed. rev. National Park Service. 1995.

      Produced to help local-level planners, park and recreation administrators, citizen activities, and non-profit groups understand and communicate the potential economic impacts of their proposed or existing corridor project.

    37. Estimating Community Visitor Days. George Goldman, Anthony Nakazawa, and David Taylor. Corvallis, OR: Western Rural Development Center, Oregon state University 1994. 9 p. No. 146. [PDF File]

      Provides a useful framework for estimating the impact that increased tourism may have on a community. Includes a formula for estimating the potential of existing tourist attractions and a guide for estimating the potential of new attractions. Gives attention to assessing existing and additional community support services in anticipation of increased tourist visitation.

    38. Impact of Travel on State Economies. Travel Industry Association of America. 2004.

      Presents estimates of the travel-generated expenditures in each state for public transportation, auto transportation, lodging, food service, entertainment and recreation, and incidentals, along with business receipts, employment and payroll figures.

    39. Impact of Visitor Expenditures on Local Revenues. George Goldman and Anthony Nakazawa. Corvallis, OR: Western Rural Development Center, Oregon State University, 1994. 9 p. No. 145. [PDF FIle]

      How much of the money spent by tourists actually stays in the community? This guide will help you to determine precisely the impact visitors have on local revenues. Nine steps to creating a custom income multiplier are included, as well as examples to further clarify each step.

    40. Measuring Tourism Impacts at the Community Level. Edited by Stephen Reiling. 1992.

      In 1986, a six-year Northeast regional research project was initiated to address some of the issues facing local government officials regarding tourism development. One of the objectives of the project is to develop, test, and refine procedures that would enable local officials to evaluate the relative benefits and costs of future tourism development alternatives. This publication presents the result of several of the studies.

    41. Strategies for Monitoring Tourism in Your Community's Economy. Julie Leones, Douglas Dunn. Arizona Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona. 1999. [PDF FIle]

      Provides ideas for officials in tracking local tourism activity.

      Marketing Strategies

    42. "Community Culture and Marketing Strategy as Sources of Economic Development Competitive Advantage: A Study among Rural U.S. Communities." Daryl McKee, Milan Wall, and Vicki Luther. Journal of Macromarketing 17 no.1 (1997): 68-87.

      Study of 15 communities that experienced successful economic development in "harsh economic environments." Concept of community culture is detailed. Economic development leadership, community spirit, and pursuit of growth industry are identified as powerful predictors of development performance.

    43. Developing an Effective Tourism Marketing. Cheryl Dimitroff and others. New Mexico State University. 1991.

      Develops marketing and evaluation plans for tourism by New Mexico communities and regions. However, with minor modifications, the process can be used for any organization or business.

    44. Marketing Crafts And Other Products to Tourists. Sherri Gahring and others. North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.

      A report of a multi-state survey on ways to improve the marketing of a crafts and other products to tourists. Contains findings and specific suggestions. Describes four specialized tourist styles and what kinds of crafts and other products they buy when traveling. For craft producers, craft retailers, community leaders, workers in tourism and hospitality services.

    45. Marketing the Uniqueness of Small Towns. Douglas Dunn, David H. Hogg. Western Rural Development Center. 1995.

      Small towns can strengthen their local economy by identifying the town’s uniqueness and then capitalizing on it. There are seven simple techniques that help residents of a small town identify and market what is unique about their community. The story of Willcox, Arizona is one example of successful marketing.

    46. "Making History Seem Tempting: Marketing an Historic Site as a Visitor Attraction." Ray Wigle. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing 3 no. 2 (1994): 95-101.

      Case-specific article that focuses on Old Fort Niagara historic site in New York state. General approaches and techniques for marketing and funding are covered. Old Fort Niagara is 90% 'self-funded'.

    47. Packaging: A Tourism Marketing Tool. Priscilla Bloomquist, John Sem. New Mexico State University. 1994.

      In the hospitality and tourism industry, packaging is the process of combining two or more related and complementary offerings into a single-price offering. It is a popular technique used for attracting customers because packages make travel easier and more convenient.

    48. Recent Advances in Tourism Marketing Research. Daniel R. Fesenmaier, Joseph T. O'Leary, and Muzaffer Uysal, eds. New York: Hawthorne Press, 1996. 279 p.

      Useful to leaders of communities that have both an established or developing tourism structure.

    49. "Regional Tourism Marketing: An Analogical Approach to Organizational Framework Development." Peggy O. Shields and Timothy J. Schibik. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing 4 no.1 (1995): 105-113.

      A practical analogical model for organizing regional tourism planning efforts. Regional networks are compared to shopping centers. Problems faced and a guide to enacting this approach included.

      Tourism Specialities / Niche Markets


    50. Landing on a Rural Opportunity. Center for Rural Pennsylvania. 2001. [PDF File]

      Aero-tourism, the concept of getting pilots and passengers from a local airport to surrounding areas of interest, is a relatively new market niche in the tourism industry.


    51. Agri-Tourism. Aaron Blacka, and others. 2001. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech.

      "Agricultural tourism allows farm operators to increase income through a variety of service initiatives such as farm demonstrations, harvest festivals, farm vacations, school group tours, hay rides, pick-your-own crop harvests, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, crop mazes, and a host of other products and services... The purpose of this handbook is to provide farmers with basic information on how to use tourism as an additional product offering on the farm. This practical tool can help farmers decide whether or not to enhance their incomes with tourism activities."

    52. Direct Farm Marketing and Tourism Handbook. Russell Tronstad and Julie Leones. Arizona. Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona. 1995.

      This guide is designated to help farm and ranch operators (and other individuals who grow or process food products) market their products and services directly to the consumer.

    53. Entertainment Farming & Agri-Tourism. Katherine Adam. ATTRA. 2001.

      Discusses agri-entertainment -- a new, highly consumer-focused type of agriculture, which offers additional options for diversification for farm income.

    54. Farm and Ranch Recreation Resource Directory. Revised. North Dakota State University. NDSU Extension Service. 2004.

      Provides reference information designed for farm and ranch families who are interested in starting a guide service, bed and breakfast, working ranch or similar business.

      Bed & Breakfasts

    55. Beginning a Bed and Breakfast in South Carolina: Guidelines for Development. Thomas D. Potts, Carole Jones Amos. 38p.
      Also in pdf [PDF FIle]

      Provides information needed to decide if operating a B&B is ideal for your situation and assists one to begin a B&B by providing the guideline for a successful enterprise.

    56. Beginning a Bed and Breakfast in Virginia. Charlotte A. Reed, and others. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech. 1998. [PDF File]

      Serves as a starting point and provides information and guidelines to own and operate B&B operations. It is not intended to serve as a source of planning and health regulations which vary from region to region within the state.

    57. So--You Want to be an Innkeeper: The Complete Guide to Operating a Successful Bed & Breakfast Inn. Mary E. Davies, Pat Hardy, JoAnn M. Bell, and Susan Brown. San Francisco, Calif.: Chronicle Books, 1996.

      Provides information on most every aspect of finding, starting, and operating a B & B. Detail is more extensive than many other guides.

    58. Starting a Bed & Breakfast. Edward L. Smith and Ann K. Smith. Morgantown, WV: Extension Service, West Virginia University, (1993?). R.D. No. 767. 20 p. NAL Call No.: HN79.W43C67.

      Summary guide to issues surrounding the establishment of a B&B. Covers background, marketing, law, organization and planning, and includes a "forms" checklist.

    59. Starting a Bed and Breakfast in Michigan. Revised. Phil Alexander, Judy Watson-Olson. Michigan State University. Revised 2002.

      Discusses elements and options to consider before establishing your own bed and breakfast.

      Ecotourism/Natured Based Tourism

    60. "Conservation, Community, and Rural Economic Development." Rebecca Bryant. National Civic Review 86 no.2 (1997): 181-87.

      Focuses on Ecotrust, a non-profit conservation group based in the pacific northwest. Ecotrust advocates an approach to rural development that is not dependent on "urban job generators." Rather, emphasis is placed upon creating local wealth, improving the quality of life, and utilizing local resources.

    61. Developing Naturally: An Exploratory Process for Nature-Based Community Tourism. Thomas D. Potts, Allan P.C. Marsinko. Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs Clemson University. 118p.

      Helps localities decide whether or not to pursue tourists and their dollars. Directed primarily toward small towns and rural areas but also provides useful information to the citizens of larger cities; Serves as an introductory planning guide.

    62. Economic and Social Significance of Recreational Access for the Rural Community. Tommy L. Brown and Daniel J. Decker. Morgantown, W.Va.: Extension Service, West Virginia University, 1993. R.D. No. 759. 16 p. NAL Call No.: HN79.W43C67.

      Focuses attention on the use of renewable natural resources in meeting the growing need for outdoor recreation and tourism in rural communities. Emphasizes the use of private land and cooperation between local and/or state authorities and land owners.

    63. Ecotourism: A Guide for Planners and Managers. Kreg Lindberg and Donald E. Hawkins, eds. North Bennington, Vt.: Ecotourism Society, 1993. 175 p.

      Although largely international in scope and intended for larger scale tourism operations, contains useful general information with an overview of ecotourism.

    64. Ecotourism: An Annotated Bibliography for Planners and Managers. Paul F.J. Eagles and Per Nilsen, eds. North Bennington, VT: The Ecotourism Society, 1997. 4th ed. 124p.

      Covers ecotourism planning, economic issues, community development, local participation, and conservation education and development.

    65. Ecotourism and the Florida State Parks : A Marketing Plan to Promote Responsible Ecotravel in Florida. Tallahassee, FL: Division of Recreation and Parks, Bureau of Operational Services, Ecotourism Marketing, 1997. 11 p.

      This marketing plan stresses responsible, or ethical promotion, conservation and protection of natural areas open to visitors. In this case, the emphasis is on Florida state parks.

    66. Environmental Issues of Tourism and Recreation. Zbigniew Mieczkowski. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995. 552 p.

      Covers many aspects of tourism and the environment, including both negative and positive impacts, issues of sustainability and management, and ecotourism.

    67. Establishing a Birding-Related Business: A Resource Guide. David Scott, Ashley Callahan. Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Texas A&M University. 2000. 20p.

      Provides information for persons planning a business that caters to birdwatchers. Although based on research in Texas and across the country, it includes statistics that can help in reaching target markets, developing the product, setting prices, and promoting the business.

    68. A Guide for a Feasibility Study of Recreation Enterprises. James E. Neal, John K. Trocke. Michigan State University Extension.

      Outlines for the potential entrepreneur a check list to make a feasibility study.

    69. Linking Tourism, the Environment, and Sustainability. Stephen F. McCool and Alan E. Watson, comps. Ogden, UT: Intermountain Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1995. 95 p. INT-GTR-323. NAL Call No.: aSD11A48.

      A compilation of essays covering concepts of sustainability, the market for sustainable tourism, and quality of life issues.

    70. Nature-Based Tourism : A Workbook. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, 1996? 1 vol.

      Although based on Florida's industry and needs, it serves a model for setting up an inventory and working document for any state.

    71. Nature-Based Tourism Enterprises: Guidelines for Success. Thomas D. Potts, Thomas A. Rourke. Strom Thurmond Institute of Government & Public Affairs. Clemson University. 2000. 19 p. [PDF FIle]

      A beginner's guide to starting your own nature-based tourism business. Tips on all aspects of start-up issues included.

    72. Nature Tourism: Managing for the Environment. Tensie Whelan, ed. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1991.

      Discusses the sustainability of ecotourism and also includes ecotourism on family farms and ranches.

    73. Promoting Ecotourism on Private Lands. Marc McDill, and others. The Pennsylvania State University. 1999. 40 p. [PDF File]

      Covers project focused on determining existing and potential ecotourism activities, and identifying a set of key personal, environmental, economic and social factors needed for successful ecotourism operations, including barriers to their success.

    74. "Sustainable Community Tourism Development Revisited." Marion Joppe. Tourism Management 17 no.7 (1996): 475-479.

      Examines argument that community development is often touted as beneficial to the community residents while they actually bare the "costs", but often not the profits. Suggests that community tourism developers emphasize and examine benefits to locals and avoid treating communities as a commodity to be bought and sold.

    75. Sustainability, Profitability and Ecotourism Markets: What Are They and How Do They Relate? Pamela Wight. Estonian Ecotourism Association. 1997.

      Discusses tourism, as it relates to sustainable development and how sustainable tourism involves a challenge to develop quality tourism products without adversely affecting the natural and cultural environment that maintains and nurtures them.

      Heritage/Cultural Tourism

    76. Cultural Heritage Tourism Resource Manual. Compiled by the Heritage Tourism Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995. 30p. [PDF File]

      Reprinted manual lists national organizations that can provide assistance in heritage tourism.

    77. Cultural Tourism in the United States: a Position Paper for the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and The President's Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Washington, DC: 1995. 8p.

      A White House position paper on cultural tourism within the United States.

    78. Experiences and Benefits: A Heritage Tourism Development Model. John Sem, Mike Teskey, and Liz Watchorn. Ogden, UT : USDA, Forest Service, 1997. 83p.

      Provides in depth information on heritage tourism. From what is heritage tourism to how to develop heritage tourism programs. Definitions, models, and case studies. Also includes a Heritage Tourism Resource List.

    79. "Gambling on the Lure of Historic Preservation: Community Transformation in Rocky Mountain Mining Towns." Katherine Jensen and Audie Blevins. Journal Community Development Society 26 no. 1 (1995): 71-92 NAL Call No.: HN49.C5J5.

      Examines the decision of four separate towns to engage in legalized gambling, and the resulting effects. Deadwood, South Dakota and three Colorado mining towns are the focus. Economic development, tourism promotion, and historical preservation results are compared. Detrimental effects are also revealed.

    80. Getting Started: How To Succeed In Heritage Tourism. National Trust for Historic Preservation. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1993. 46 p. NAL Call No.: G155.U6G48 1993.

      Provides case studies from The National Trust's Heritage Tourism Initiative in 1989 in which sixteen pilot areas in four states participated in a three-year program. Provides information about those experiences from the pilot areas and describes principles and steps that have been successful in developing heritage tourism programs.

    81. "Heritage Tourism." Cheryl M. Hargrove. CRM, Cultural Resource Management, 25 no. 1 (2002) 10-11. [PDF File]

      Discusses the trend of one of the fastest growing niche market segments in the travel industry today - heritage tourism.

    82. "Heritage, Tourism and Rural Regeneration: The Heritage Regions Programme in Canada." Vanessa Brown. Journal Of Sustainable Tourism 4 no. 3 (1996): 174-182.

      Two case-studies of regional efforts in Canada to utilize the natural, built, and cultural heritage for rural development. Labrador Straits and Manitoulin Island are the focus.

    83. Heritage Tourism and the Federal Government: Summit I - Report of Proceedings. American Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. 2002. 13p.

      Federal agencies met to examine cultural heritage tourism activities and to begin discussing ways to improve the coordination and consistency of such efforts.

    84. Heritage Tourism: Partnership and Possibilities. Joint publication of the American Association for State and Local History and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Nashville, TN: American Association for State and Local History, 1994. 12p.

      This joint publication provides sections on : Tourism: History's Wake Up Call by Cheryl M. Hargrove; Heritage Regions and Local History: Whole Places, New Possibilities by T. Allen Comp; and Standing Out in the Crowd by William T. Alderson.

    85. Inventing New England: Regional Tourism in the Nineteenth Century. Dona Brown. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995. 253 p.

      Book of significant historical and cultural perspective on tourism in New England. Conveys the depth to which tourism is embedded in American culture. Many ideas which may still be relevant are included.

    86. "Linking the Past with the Future: Historical Preservation." Kristi Hetland. Rural Development News 17 no. 3 (1993): 1-3. NAL Call No.: HN79.A14R87.

      Brief article covering the "why" and "how" of historical preservation and its economic potential. Examples and contacts cited pertain to Minnesota, but history can be found everywhere.

    87. "Literary Tourism and Sustainable Tourism: Promoting "Anne of Green Gables" in Prince Edward Island." Shelagh J. Squire, Journal of Sustainable Tourism 4 no. 3 (1996): 119-134.

      Examines literary tourism as a form of cultural and sustainable tourism. Focus in on use of local or regional literary contributions to promote tourism. Applicable to regions other than PEI and Canada.

    88. "Mines and Quarries: Industrial Heritage Tourism." J. Arwell Edwards and Joan Carles Llures i Coit. Annals of Tourism Research 23 no.2 (1996): 341- 343.

      Explores the potential of industrial sites, specifically mining sites, as heritage tourism attractions. Case-studies are of foreign sites, but information is applicable to other industrial sites.

    89. Moving Heritage Tourism Forward in Pennsylvania. 2001. 15p. [PDF File]

      Presents the comments and consensus about the state of heritage tourism in Pennsylvania of the participants at a statewide summit and four regional workshops on heritage tourism.

    90. Multi-Cultural Tourism Development Workbook. Denver, CO: Western Entrepreneurial Network, 1995. 4 vols. with accompanying videos.

      Series of workbooks aimed at multi-cultural tourism development in communities. The workbooks and corresponding case study videos cover specific cultural communities and discuss the challenges to cultural tourism development, the planning process, and describes communities that are actively implementing a cultural tourism proposal.

    91. Partners in Tourism: Culture and Commerce. Donald Garfield, Ed. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums, 1997. 34p.

      Collaborative effort providing information and resources on tourism and cultural tourism issues.

    92. Strategies for a State Heritage Tourism Industry to Preserve Colorado's Great Places. Shauna Palmer, with contributions by the late John Sem. Colorado Heritage Area Partnership. 1999. 37p. [PDF File]

      Strategic plan offers a mechanism for encouraging and organizing cooperative efforts among communities, organizations, agencies, and entrepreneurial tourism providers interested in a successful heritage tourism industry in Colorado.

    93. Touring Historic Places: A Manual for Group Tour Operators and Managers of Historic and Cultural Attractions. Priscilla Baker. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995. 18 p.

      Compiled to meet the needs of tour operators and managers of historic and cultural attractions. Covers information on the tourist trade, sightseeing businesses, and historic sites.

    94. Utah Heritage Tourism Toolkit. Utah State Historic Society, Office of Preservation.

      Provides a package of practical tools that communities or groups can use to develop, manage, and protect their heritage resources.

    95. Views from the Road: a Community Guide for Assessing Rural Historic Landscapes. David H.Copps. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1995. 174 p. NAL Call No.: E159.C78 1995.

      Identifies roadways as a tool for discovering, developing, and highlighting the historic and cultural landscape of a region. Case studies of Red Hills and Bluegrass regions of Kentucky.

      Rails to Trails

    96. Acquiring Rail Corridors: A How to Manual.

      Summarizes the knowledge of the country's leading attorneys, nonprofit land acquisition agents, local park directors and rail-trail builders who have successfully acquired rail corridors for trail use.

    97. "The Economic Impact of Rail-Trails: A Study of the Users and Property Owners from Three Trails." Roger L. Moore, Alan R. Graefe, Richard J. Gitelson, and Elizabeth Porter. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 12 no. 2 (1994): 63-72.

      Article focuses specifically on the economic effects of rail trails in three specific cases. Focus is entirely on economic impact. Method and analysis of study included.

    98. The Impacts of Rail-Trails: A Study of the Users and Nearby Property Owners from Three Trails. Roger L. Moore. Washington, D.C.: Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, National Park Service, 1992. 6 p. NAL Call No.: HD75.6.I46 1992.

      This study concentrated on three rail-trails nationwide and sought to reveal the effects, if any, the trails had on local economies, adjacent landowners, and adjacent property values. Detailed comparative charts are included.

    99. "Move Over, Casey Jones." Kelly Hill. State Legislatures. 23 (January 1997): 9.

      Current one page summary of rails-to trails status. Highlights successes and cites some controversies.

    100. Rail-Trails and Community Sentiment: A Study of Opposition to Rail-Trails & Strategies for Success. Susan Doherty. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 1998. 16p. [PDF File]

      Examines strategies for success; includes success stories and a case study.

    101. Rail-Trails and Liability: A Primer on Trail-Related Liability Issues & Risk Management Techniques. Hugh Morris. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 2000. 25p. [PDF File]

      Outlines the general legal issues associated with trails, including the risks and responsibilities of various constituencies. Provides trail advocates, adjacent landowners, and trail managers with a background on liability issues to prepare them to pose appropriate questions to their legal counsel when developing a trail or when an accident occurs.

    102. Rail-Trails and Safe Communities: The Experience on 372 Trails. Tammy Tracy, Hugh Morris. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 1998. 28p. [PDF File]

      Current Research suggests that converting an abandoned rail corridor to a trail actually tends to reduce crime by cleaning up the landscape and attracting people who use the trail for recreation and transportation. This study documented the levels of crime on urban, suburban and rural rail-trails with current statistics and comprehensive data, examined trail management strategies that can mitigate crime and improve trail safety, and put crime on trails in perspective.

    103. Rails to Trails: An Overview of ICC Rules. Interstate Commerce Commission. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993. 21 p.

      Brief overview of rules pertaining to the organization and reclamation of railways. Concise and elucidating. Appendices include national park service contacts, Rails-to-trails Conservancy offices, and state trail use contacts. Sample condition and trail use requests included.

    104. Rails-with-Trails: Design, Management and Operating Characteristics of 61 Trails Along Active Railroads. Hugh Morris, and others. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. November 2000. 34p. [PDF File]

      Covers many aspects of rails-with-trails, including the extent and growth of rails-with-trails nationwide, safety performance, liability, trail design and location issues, attitudes of railway companies, obtaining easements for trails and funding. Designed to be of assistance primarily to trails planners, advocates and managers. Contains several case studies.

    105. Secrets of Successful Rail-Trails: An Acquisition and Organizing Manual for Converting Rails into Rails. Edited by Karen-Lee Ryan and Julie A. Winterich. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 91p. [PDF File]

      Overcome obstacles that arise during your conversion process. Learn the three fundamental "secrets": building a solid, broad-based citizen coalition; forming a strong partnership with a government agency; and developing a written plan of action.

    106. "Steps to Funding Multi-use Trails." Michael Jones. Parks and Recreation 29 no.3 (1994): 49-53.

      Brief guidelines for seeking primarily federal funding for multi-use trails through ISTEA (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act). Monetary figures presented in article will vary from current funding levels, however, information is useful.

    107. Tunnels on Trails: A Study of 78 Tunnels on 36 Trails in the United States. Amanda Eaken and others. Rail-to-Trails Conservancy. 2001. 36p. [PDF File]

      Examines the national experience in reopening abandoned tunnels for pedestrian and bicycle use that has been successfully executed in many communities.


    Annals of Tourism Research

    Appalachia Magazine: Journal of the Appalachian Regional Commission
    Appalachian Regional Commission
    Internet edition is free.

    Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
    ISSN : 1936-8623
    Haworth Press

    Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research
    The Professional Journal of the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education
    Sage Publications, Inc.

    Journal of Travel Research
    Sage Publications

    National Parks Magazine
    National Parks Conservation Association

    AMber Waves<
    USDA, Economic Research Service
    1-800-363-2068 or 703-605-6060
    Internet edition is free.

    Tourism Management

    Additional Resources

    State Travel and Tourism Offices

    State travel and tourism offices often provide maps, brochures, travel guides, event calendars and other valuable information about attractions. Some states also offer special programs to promote tourism development.

    • Click on map for Web links to state offices

    • State and Territory Tourism Offices:
    • Lists state tourism office Web addresses and toll-free phone numbers.

    • Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory:
    • Guide to more than 1,400 official tourist information sources: government tourism offices, convention and visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, and similar organizations.

    Regional Rural Development Centers

    • Regional Rural Development Centers:

      • North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.

      • Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

      • Southern Rural Development Center.

      • Western Rural Development Center.


    American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
    1900 Association Dr.
    Reston, VA 20191

    American Association of Museums
    1575 Eye Street, NW, Suite 400
    Washington, DC 20005

    American Bed and Breakfast Association

    American Hotel and Lodging Association
    1201 New York Ave., NW, Suite 600
    Washington, DC 20005-3931

    American Recreation Coalition
    1225 New York Ave. NW, Suite 450
    Washington, DC 20005

    American Society of Travel Agents
    1101 King St.
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Bed and Breakfast Inns Online
    P.O. Box 829
    Madison, TN 37116

    International Association of Tour Managers: North American Region
    9500 Rainier Ave. S #603
    Seattle, WA 98118

    International Ecotourism Society
    733 15th St. NW, Suite 1000
    Washington, DC 20005

    National Association of Recreation Resource Planners
    P.O. Box 2430
    Pensacola, FL 32513

    National Council for International Visitors
    1420 K St., NW, Suite 800
    Washington, DC 20005-2401

    National Forest Recreation Association
    P.O. Box 488
    Woodlake, CA 93286

    National Parks Conservation Association
    1300 19th Street, NW, Suite 300
    Washington, DC 20036

    National Recreation and Park Association
    22377 Belmont Ridge Rd.
    Ashburn, VA 20148

    National Scenic Byways Clearinghouse
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Federal Highway Administration
    HEPN-50, Room 3232
    400 Seventh Street, SW
    Washington, DC 20590

    National Tour Association
    546 E. Main St.
    Lexington, KY 40508

    National Trust for Historic Preservation
    1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C. 20036

    Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
    1100 17th Street, 10th Floor, NW
    Washington, DC 20036

    Southeast Tourism Society
    3400 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 725
    Atlanta, GA 30326

    Tourism Center, University of Minnesota
    120 BioAgEng Building
    1390 Eckles Avenue
    St. Paul, MN 55108-6005

    Travel and Tourism Research Association
    PO Box 2133
    Boise, ID 83701

    Travel Industry and Disabled Exchange
    5435 Donna Avenue
    Tarzana, CA 91356

    Travel Industry Association of America
    1100 New York Ave., NW
    Ste. 450
    Washington, D.C. 20005

    U.S. Department of Commerce
    International Trade Administration
    Office of Travel & Tourism Industries

    United States Tour Operators Association
    275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2014
    New York, NY 10016

    USA.Gov Travel, Transportation, and Recreation

    USDA, Rural Information Center
    National Agricultural Library
    10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 123
    Beltsville, MD 20705-2351 | | Last Modified February, 2015