What are Rural Area Visitors Really Looking For? Clean Air…and Water!

by Joanne Steele on September 7, 2010

Today there was an article about rural tourism in Latvia in my Google Alerts. Guess what’s bringing Russians to Latvia rural areas – clean air!

This got me thinking (as usual) about how vital it is to align our marketing with our customers needs and wants.

My Google Alerts box is full everyday with press releases and stories about rural areas all over the world.

Tiny communities are spending big money on recreational development.

Small towns are feeling hobbled by lack of amenities to offer visitors.

Rural areas are applying for grant money for bike trails, street lamps, fishing platforms, high end resort development and on and on and on.

And what are rural area visitors really looking for??? Clean Air!!!

I watch visitors line up to fill their big water bottles at our town’s fountain and I would add clean water too.

So what is the message from Latvia or rural areas everywhere?

1. It’s not necessary to pin ALL your hopes for attracting rural area visitors on getting big development grants. You can start marketing what you already have – that clean air and water.

2. Rural area visitors are different. They’re explorers, as Marci Penner at the Kansas Sampler Foundation as discovered. They like you just the way you are, including your clean water and air.

3. It’s all about marketing. Start telling people about your clean water and air. Track and report your good air quality on your website. Have local and regional competitions and festivals to name and celebrate the best water in your area.

For most rural areas, the numbers of visitors needed to create a very successful tourism industry is small. If your town can increase that number by even a thousand a year just by marketing your clean water and air think what that could do for your business. And it doesn’t take a grant, or matching funds or investors or big development.

You can start right now.

1 Nazem Kamel Elmasri September 18, 2010 at 8:32 am

I have been traveling all over the USA looking for a small town that is famous for clean air and clean water can you recommend such a town.
I am on my way to Hawaii, but I would like to get a few pointers on the mainland.

2 Joanne Steele September 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Nazem, I live in such a place – Dunsmuir, California. And I’ve visited these places all over the US and western Canada. Take a look at the Shuswap Valley in British Columbia, all over rural Idaho, central Oregon and one of my favorites, the valleys south and east of Nashville Tennessee. You can bet, if I write about a place here, I’m drinking their great water and enjoying clean air – if I can’t, I usually don’t stick around. So, surf around the blog and read about the places I’ve visited.
And readers, leave comments about your area for Nazem!

3 Jenifer Fadness September 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

This article (and your whole site) is great! I work for a Regional Tourism program in Western Minnesota, and have gotten some great ideas and inspiration from your blog. Thank you!

4 Joanne Steele September 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Hi Jenifer, I’d love to hear more about how your regional tourism program is going in Minnesota. Please add your expertise to posts to increase the effectiveness of this blog. I was born in Minneapolis and am related to probably all the Kochendorfers in the state!!

5 Herb Lawrence September 10, 2010 at 6:49 am

Good article thanks! I am the Center Director for a Small Business and Technology Development Center in rural Northeast/North Central Arkansas and am constantly looking for sites to recommend especially to our Ozark tourist related small businesses and economic developers will pass this article on along with your site and recommend they visit. Thanks again

6 Joanne Steele September 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

Thanks Herb! Such a beautiful state with some much to offer visitors. Your small towns don’t need to change a thing to begin to benefit from the beauty, friendliness, and loads of memorable authentic experiences.

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