The DMO Download

A weekly digest on economic development and cultural, heritage tourism news.

May 4, 2021

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Heritage Tourism Brings Visitors to Historic Cemeteries

Batesville, Arkansas, kicked off their bicentennial year in April with a historic marker unveiling ceremony for Elisha Baxter, Arkansas’ 10th governor, in Oaklawn Cemetery, according to The Batesville Daily Guard.

The historic marker program, which started in 2017, uses markers to help teach the public about the state’s history. The program operates amidst a spike in heritage tourism across the state.

“Local history is equally important and having communities come together in this endeavor like you did here in Batesville is very rewarding for us. The historical marker program creates a physical and lasting tribute to our state’s history, heritage, and shared identity as Arkansans,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

Heritage tourism has been a recent focus for the state’s tourism industry, combining history and natural beauty. One example is the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program advocating for cemetery and gravestone preservation.

U.S. Senators Send a Bipartisan Letter Urging Federal Help For the Travel and Tourism Industry Post COVID-19

Recent reports estimate a $500 billion decline in travel spending in the U.S. since 2019, with a loss of one million travel-related jobs since last February. This has resulted in a bipartisan effort from several U.S. Senators to reach out to the current administration for federal help, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

The group sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary requesting information on actions the administration plans to take to ensure economic recovery after the pandemic for the travel and tourism industries.

UNC and Town of Chapel Hill Partner on Economic Development Project

A partnership between the University of North Carolina and Town of Chapel Hill is seeking to bring businesses to the downtown area through newly developed infrastructure, as reported by local news source Chapelboro.com.

The new infrastructure includes new office spaces, a new parking deck, a green space, as well as increased beautification in Chapel Hill such as planter boxes, artwork and colorful crosswalks.

“If you’re here, you’re going to get first dibs on those folks,” said Doug Rothwell, the executive-in-residence for economic development at UNC. “I think the idea would be that in a small town like this, you can really have a lot of interconnections with businesses like yours that are striving to innovate, and that exchange of ideas really makes an ecosystem like this work so well.”

The partnership will allow businesses to work closely with university faculty and graduate students to build a vibrant space in the community, and expand the town’s appeal to help with COVID-19 economic recovery.

For Economic Development Directors, Happy Days Return

Economic development groups in major cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and New York have been anxiously awaiting massive drops in residents due to the new work-from-home culture caused by COVID-19, said policy news outlet Governing.

However, the economy has proven to be more resilient than previously imagined. Washington State ended up having one of the most successful pandemic responses, with economic growth due to companies like Amazon and Microsoft moving to the area. According to LinkedIn migration data, every tech worker who left Seattle in the first six months of the pandemic was replaced by two more.

This economic success is being mimicked around the U.S. due to pent-up demand in the economy and the flood of federal money coming from the administration, causing many to believe that 2021 has the potential to be a year like no other.

Megan McDonnell
Director of Digital Marketing and Brand Development at Bull Moose Marketing. Travel enthusiast, foodie and avid reader. 🌎 Currently traveling back and forth between Pennsylvania and Tampa, Florida. Connect with me on LinkedIn @megan-m-mcdonnell

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