The DMO Download

A weekly digest for those who market and manage destinations.

Walking the ‘Fine Line’ of Rural Development and Gentrification


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This week’s DMO Download is packed with interesting takes and data for DMOs. Read about the impact of rural development and gentrification, the importance of sustainable tourism, why social media still has a huge influence on travel decisions, and more. Check it out.

Walking the ‘Fine Line’ of Rural Development and Gentrification

There is a delicate balance between rural development and gentrification. In the Tucker, Barbour, and Randolph County region of West Virginia, embraced by the Monongahela National Forest, is an area that has become a popular destination for second homes and retirement living due to its outdoor recreational opportunities. Woodlands Development Group, a nonprofit organization, focuses on sustainable, affordable housing and economic initiatives to boost the local economy in these rural counties. They work on downtown renovations, preservation of historic buildings, and supporting local businesses.

The challenge lies in ensuring that as the area becomes more attractive to outsiders, the existing community members, including artists and entrepreneurs who helped revitalize the downtown areas, can still afford to live there. Gentrification can drive up housing costs and push out long-time residents. Woodlands aims to strike a balance by promoting solutions that allow those who contributed to the community’s revitalization to continue pursuing their ambitions.

The article highlights the importance of a holistic approach to rural development, considering the needs and aspirations of both new arrivals and existing residents. It also emphasizes the value of community involvement and creative solutions to address various challenges in the region.

The potential impact of gentrification on local communities and rural development is a complex issue. It underscores the significance of community planning, engagement, and balance in ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth. As rural areas attract more interest and investment, it is crucial to implement strategies that preserve the unique character and affordability of these communities while encouraging economic opportunities for all residents.

The Importance and Benefits of Sustainable Tourism

This article discusses the importance and benefits of sustainable tourism in the global travel industry. Sustainable tourism aims to minimize the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts caused by traditional mass tourism. It emphasizes preserving natural resources, supporting local communities, reducing environmental impact, and promoting cultural heritage.

DMOs should note from this article that sustainable tourism is not just a passing trend but a critical approach to protect the planet’s resources and cultural treasures for future generations. By embracing sustainable practices and involving local communities, DMOs can create more authentic and enriching travel experiences for tourists. Sustainable tourism also brings economic advantages to local economies and fosters cross-cultural understanding and appreciation among travelers.

DMOs can play a vital role in promoting sustainable tourism by encouraging responsible practices, partnering with eco-friendly businesses, and providing information on sustainable travel options through digital platforms and apps. Embracing technological advancements, such as green transportation solutions and digital innovations for sustainable travel experiences, can further enhance the efforts towards a more reliable and enjoyable travel adventure while preserving the environment and cultural heritage. By promoting sustainable tourism, DMOs can contribute to a more sustainable and resilient travel industry that benefits both tourists and destination communities.

Choosing Destinations Based on Social Media

For DMOs, the data presented in this article highlights the significant impact of social media on tourism and vacation planning. The fact that a majority of social media users in Germany choose destinations based on how shareable they are on social networks indicates that DMOs should prioritize their online presence and engagement with potential travelers.

DMOs need to recognize the power of social media in influencing travelers’ decisions and adapt their marketing strategies accordingly. They should focus on creating visually appealing and shareable content that showcases the unique attractions and experiences their destinations offer. Stunning photos and videos of crystal-clear waters, beautiful landscapes, and colorful alleys can capture the attention of social media users and potentially attract more tourists to the destination.

Moreover, DMOs should also encourage and facilitate authentic sharing of travel experiences by tourists. Positive experiences shared by travelers directly from their vacations can have a significant impact on inspiring others to visit the destination. DMOs can collaborate with influencers and travel bloggers to amplify their destination’s exposure on social media platforms.

On the other hand, DMOs must also be mindful of potential risks associated with social media and travel photography. While social media can be a powerful tool for promoting destinations, it may also lead some individuals to take risks and disregard safety measures to capture the perfect vacation photo. DMOs should promote responsible travel and photography practices to ensure the safety and well-being of travelers.

Additionally, DMOs should be aware of the potential impact of social media on travelers’ emotions. While many people enjoy seeing snapshots of others’ holidays, some individuals may feel dissatisfied with their own lives when viewing vacation photos from others. DMOs can counter this by promoting travel as a means of enriching experiences and personal growth rather than just seeking validation or comparison on social media.

Overall, for DMOs, understanding the influence of social media on travel decisions and behaviors is crucial in shaping effective marketing strategies and fostering a positive and responsible travel culture. Embracing social media as a powerful marketing tool while also promoting responsible and authentic travel experiences can help DMOs attract more visitors and contribute to the sustainable growth of their destinations.

Answer These Questions Before Building Your Destination’s Website

We sat down with our lead web developer to get his advice on what DMOs should consider before building or redesigning their destination website. While building a destination website can feel like an overwhelming task, there are some steps you can take to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible. In this expert interview, we cover important questions that DMOs should be asking before building their website or beginning a redesign process, including:

  • When do I know that it’s time to start building my website?
  • How long will it take?
  • What do I need?
  • What are visitors looking for?

As a DMO, you need a website that is easy to navigate, comprehensive and designed to target the kinds of travelers you want to visit your destination. By answering these questions, you can lay the groundwork for a reliable website that visitors can trust when planning their next trip, as well as help you nail down the purpose, mission and goals of your organization. If you’re interested in learning more about destination websites and why you might be losing traffic, check out this on-demand webinar.

  • Paige Schamberg

    Content Production Manager at Bull Moose Marketing. A lover of literature and a sunshine enthusiast who probably drinks too much tea. Connect with me on LinkedIn @paigeschamberg

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