In her article 2010 Rural Small Business Trends posted at Small Biz Trends, Becky McCray talks about how small town Local First movements are expanding to include more than downtown and retail businesses.
I think it is getting even bigger than that. We see a significant trend in the tourism industry toward sustainable tourism, the slow food movement, authentic experiences, heritage and cultural tourism, stewardship tourism and probably a dozen more niches that point directly to SMALL TOWN and LOCAL.
My point is that the hard work to set up and sustain a Local First movement in your small town should include your tourism marketing campaign. They are totally compatible and complimentary.
Local First sets up an expectation among visitors, of a place that values its small unique businesses, that supports and works to sustain its local cultural and regional heritage.
The types of visitors attracted to rural regions expect more from their travel than having a good time. They want to become involved in the area they visit. They want to give back. Local First is a call to action for them as well as for the residents living in small towns.