Rural Tourism: A Viable Rural Industry and A Vital Business Attraction Tool

by Joanne Steele on November 11, 2011

Andy Hayes has a good article at Travel Online Partners about some small towns that are building their tourism industries with effective use of internet marketing. Thanks Andy for bringing these to everyone’s attention.

What was clear, although not directly stated in the interviews, was that each community knows exactly who their Perfect Customer is. They all work very hard on social media to serve up what that customer is looking for.

But this article sparked some thinking in a whole different direction…

fishing store

Locally owned rural businesses serving visitors are the backbone of a rural tourism ecnomy.

Are rural tourism jobs GOOD jobs?

Now, I’m sure that some small town economic development people are saying, good for those 14 communities, but we don’t want a bunch of low paying tourism related jobs. We want something BIG that will allow our kids to stay home and get a job that will support their families.. yada, yada yada.

Here’s my answer to those people

1. MOST rural tourism jobs unlike SOME urban tourism jobs support families. They’re entrepreneurial pursuits operated by people who are passionate about what they do and support their families while doing it.

They also provide a few additional jobs for other rural residents.

It makes me see red to constantly hear rural tourism denigrated this way. Tourism is the third largest industry in the world! Rural tourism businesses are locally owned and locally run everywhere all over the world!

2. Rural tourism is the best economic development tool a small town has. Rural tourism is an attraction tool. Walk downtown in any small town and ask owners how they landed in your town. You’ll hear three things –

  • I was born here.
  • My family is here and I moved back.
  • I came as a visitor and worked hard ever since to get back as a business owner.

Andy’s article shows how successful some rural areas area in getting their message out via the internet.

If thousands of fans are having a satisfying online relationship with a rural destination, it’s likely that it is also in the top of their vacation list.

Get it? Rural tourism is good. Internet marketing works.


Here are several past posts in the subject:

Rural Area Tourism: A Great Business Attraction Strategy For Small Towns

Why Rural Tourism Needs and Deserves Governmental Help

3 Ways Visitors Create Strong Emotional Bonds With Small Tourism Towns. Principle #4.

Are Rural Tourism and the Internet Small Towns’ Last Best Hope?

Photo on flickr by California DFG

1 Rural Tourism Bg March 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Yes, I think rural tourism is one powerful tool for increasing the income of people leaving in rural areas. You can combine it with other industries and you will get a new and innovative tourism attraction.

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