Tourism Saves Small Town

tourist market

Salvation through Tourism

A small town with a declining population and economy looked to rebuild their town. The locals held meetings; the most common thought was “we need to attract more people to our town”. Suggestions included murals, food festivals, art shows, novelty festivals and many other things. Enthusiastic people organised a clean-up of the town encouraged shop and building owners to repaint. With funding help from local authorities, visitors started arriving. The visitors are welcomed by the townsfolk and there is a mutual feeling of satisfaction. There are new business opportunities for locals and money flows into the community along with the visitors. Euphoria.

As tourism grew the town realised it needed to develop proper ways of greeting visitors, dealing with their requests instead of just chatting to them like friends. Formal arrangements were put in place, signs erected to stop the incessant requests for directions. Notices were placed in shops explaining the festival details. The flow of visitors was steady every year, in fact, it steadily increased. Making tourism a good investment enabling local businesses to plan for the future knowing tourists would always be there. Apathy had set in.

After just a few years tourism was the lifeblood of the town. So numerous were the tourists that motels had to expand, new cafes and restaurants were built. New folk moved into town growing the population and bringing new ideas. Even a new car park had to be constructed in the town centre. Although many locals disliked the demolition of the village hall to make way for the car park, it was too difficult to park in town without this progress. The volume of traffic from the highway necessitated traffic lights at the crossroad at the edge of town. The Saturday morning farmer’s market now boosted more drink stalls, jewellery stalls, and fashion stalls than the traditional fruit and vegetable and fresh produce stalls it used to have. Not all locals were happy with changes, it seemed to many the nature and spirit of the town was disappearing. So many tourists made it hard to get simple things like weekly shopping done, and prices had gone up. Not to mention trying to find a tradesman who wasn’t just too busy with big jobs in town. The volume of tourists lead to prices in town being jacked up as locals became unable to supply the demand. No longer could locals nip down to the jetty for a quiet spot of fishing and the queue at the boat ramp was always long.

Sadly, the environment everyone loved, tourist and locals alike, had changed forever. Tourists still came but a different type now the vibe of the town was different. In the scramble to capture the tourist dollar, the community overlooked the fact that the things the residents and early visitors once valued in the area, had changed irrevocably. The outcome could have been so different with proper planning.

A Feasibility Study, although seemingly tedious and often thought to be unnecessary, could have made a massive difference to the business plan.

Reading our e-book: How to complete a Feasibility Study and Business Plan would have made a massive difference.