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Athabascan RavenTribal Tourism Development:
A Handbook for Planners

NUTS AND BOLTS OF COMMUNITY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
PART 3

If you have:

a Educated yourself about the big picture of tourism
a Received input from the community through workshops and/or surveys

You are ready to identify where your community is at in the tourism development process.

There are many different issues that communities and businesses have to face when it comes to tourism development. The issues will be different for every community depending on where they are in the tourism development process.

This section will help you deal with the various issues that may come up when moving through the tourism development process.

A. IDENTIFY WHERE YOUR COMMUNITY IS IN THE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
B. WHAT DO YOU DO IF THE COMMUNITY DOESN’T WANT TOURISM?
C. TOURISM MANAGEMENT:WHAT TO DO IF TOURISM IS NEGATIVELY IMPACTING THE COMMUNITY
D. MARKETING
E. ENCOURAGING GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN LOCAL BUSINESSES
F. SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
G. COMMUNITY BEAUTIFICATION



A. Identify where the community is at...
PART 3

... in the tourism development process.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE WHERE YOUR COMMUNITY IS IN THE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHERE YOU ARE NOW AND WHERE YOU NEED TO GO BY ANSWERING THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.

1. DOES THE COMMUNITY WANT TOURISM?

By now you should have a pretty good idea about how the community feels about tourism.

2. IS YOUR COMMUNITY ALREADY A TOURIST DESTINATION?

If your community is a tourist destination, most likely you need to focus on tourism management.

3. IS YOUR COMMUNITY NEAR A TOURIST DESTINATION?

If your community is near a tourist destination and you want to attract tourists to your region, you need to develop a good marketing strategy. Focus on tourism management if the nearby tourist attraction attracts unwanted crowds into your area.

Good relations between business owners are extremely important.

4. ARE VISITOR’S SERVICES SUCH AS LODGING AND FOOD ALREADY AVAILABLE?

Work with these business owners. Existing businesses have a big impact on the community. Good relations between business owners are extremely important. Help businesses work together.

5. DO THE LOCAL BUSINESSES HAVE GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN THEM?

If yes, keep up the good work!
What if the neighborhood businesses do not get along? Develop networking strategies to help businesses communicate.

6. DO COMMUNITY MEMBERS HAVE PLANS TO DEVELOP TOURISM-RELATED BUSINESSES?

This is a big issue. If the community wants to be involved in tourism, they have to understand the needs of the tourists and the local options for meeting those needs. Support your people in their endeavor to start a small business. Support them in their dream to start a big business! Support Them!


THE FOLLOWING PAGES ADDRESS EACH OF THE SPECIFIC ISSUES LISTED ABOVE.


B. What to do if the community does not want tourism

With information, communication, and participation, the community can be an integral part of the local tourism trade, and tourism can become a strong support system for the community.

IF THE COMMUNITY DOES NOT WANT TOURISM AND YOU ARE NOT A TOURIST DESTINATION:

No problem! Stop here and go on to other adventures.

IF THE COMMUNITY DOES NOT WANT TOURISM, BUT YOU GET TOURISTS ANYWAY:

1. IDENTIFY WHO IS COMING TO YOUR AREA AND WHY THEY ARE COMING.

  • Is there a particular niche of travelers coming to your area (older people, younger people, hunters, trekkers, bikers, etc.)?
  • What are the attractions?
  • Who owns or manages the lands that are most impacted by the visitors?

2. IDENTIFY WHY THE COMMUNITY DOES NOT WANT TOURISTS COMING TO THE COMMUNITY. WHAT ARE THE COMMUNITY BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES?

  • Do local people feel that they are on display?
  • Does having visitors in the area take away from the traditional culture and lifestyle?
  • Are visitors trespassing or littering?

3. IDENTIFY POTENTIAL BENEFITS

It is also important for your community to discuss the potential benefits of becoming actively involved in the local tourism scene.

  • Local people could economically benefit from providing visitor services.
  • The community could have greater control of trespass issues.
  • By stepping into the role of host, the community can help the guest have a positive visitor experience, thereby encouraging the visitor to have greater respect and care for the host community and discouraging negative impacts.


End Section


 

C. Tourism Management
PART 3

What to do if tourism is negatively impacting the community.

NEGATIVE IMPACTS COULD BE:
  • trail erosion.
  • people wandering around the community “unsupervised”.
  • local people having to answer the same “silly” questions over and over.
  • local people feeling as if they are on display or a commodity.
  • trash in and around the community.

WHILE THE PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS WILL BE DIFFERENT FOR EVERY COMMUNITY, BELOW IS A BASIC OUTLINE FOR INITIATING MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES:

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Identify the root of the problem and the people responsible. This is not usually one single entity, but rather several factors that make up the whole “problem”.
  3. Come up with a list of possible solutions.
  4. Communicate with tact and respect to the people responsible. Communication can happen through public or private meetings, personal letters, publications, educational workshops and seminars. Signs posted for visitors are also a way to communicate to a specific audience.

camping
Courtesy of Chantelle Pence

Management strategies and communication can help your community have some control over where the tourists go and how they impact the community and environment.



A Tourism Management Success Story

Speed Limit 45A steady stream of RV’s and other traffic through Chistochina, AK caused a major safety issue. The community members who lived in the area year round could not safely walk, ride bikes, or drive slowly in the community. Tribal members and affiliates initiated communication with the State Department of Transportation to address the issue. The Cheesh’Na Tribal Council requested that the state lower the speed limit through Chistochina. The State initially say “NO” and the request was denied. But we didn’t give up... THE PROBLEM
The community began a letter writing campaign to get the States’ attention. The Department of Transportation office was flooded with letters from concerned citizens. The State thought about the issue again and agreed to reduce the speed limit through the community to 45 mph. The community educated the public about the new speed limit by advertising in various local and tourist oriented publications via personal letters to trucking companies and by using local law enforcement. THE SOLUTION
The residents of Chistochina can now enjoy the stretch of highway that runs through their community. Families can ride bikes together, people can safely walk along the road, and Elders that drive slowly do not fear getting run over by high speed traffic. One small change can significantly enhance the quality of life for our community. THE END RESULT

 

THE FOLLOWING FEW PAGES SHOW SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF USING LETTER WRITING TO RAISE AWARENESS AND MAKE CHANGES.

 


 

C. Tourism Management: Letter Examples
PART 3

Kelt'aeniPO Box 357 • Gakona Alaska 99586 • (907) 822-5399 • Fax (907) 822-5810

 

 

 

Sept. 13, 02

Dear Community Member,

Enclosed you will find a letter writing kit. The purpose of this kit is to make it easy for you to write letters to the key players involved in the Chistochina Road Project. As you know, this project has been on the table for several years but keeps getting pushed back. Community involvement may help speed things up.

Please use the stationary to write letters that voice your concerns about the existing road and how it impacts the community. Pre-addressed envelopes are included in your kit.

Please let me know if you would like more stationary. If you have your own pictures that you would like to share or would like to make your own stationary, please do so.

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so let’s make some noise!

Sincerely,

signature

Chantelle Pence-EPA/Ecotourism Coordinator


THIS LETTER IS IN SUPPORT OF A BIKE PATH THROUGH
CHISTOCHINA, AK.

letter
Kids playing on highway near school-mile 33 Tok Cutoff Hwy


C. Tourism Management: Letter Examples
PART 3

THIS LETTER IS IN SUPPORT OF A LOWER SPEED LIMIT
THROUGH CHISTOCHINA, AK.

wreck

Wreck at mile 34 Tok Cutoff Hwy. May 2002

 

THIS LETTER IS IN SUPPORT OF A LOWER SPEED LIMIT
THROUGH CHISTOCHINA, AK.

Towing

Wreck at mile 31.5 Tok Cutoff Hwy. May 2002


D. Marketing
PART 3

THERE ARE SEVERAL FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY.

• WHAT IS SPECIAL OR UNIQUE ABOUT YOUR SERVICE OR ESTABLISHMENT?

There are a growing number of travelers who are looking for an authentic community and/or cultural experience. They don’t want to stay in a hotel or eat at a food chain. Instead, these travelers want to experience real people and the community they live in.

• ARE YOU AN ECOTOURISM BUSINESS?
DOES YOUR BUSINESS INCLUDE CULTURAL TOURISM?

There are specific marketing venues for different niches in the tourism industry.
Advertising as an ecotourism business will generally attract a specific type of travelers.

• WHO IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE? WHAT DO THEY WANT?

Identifying a specific type of traveler will help you develop a marketing strategy that will appeal to their needs.

• HOW CAN YOU ADVERTISE IN A WAY THAT WILL APPEAL TO THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

Put yourself in the travelers shoes when developing your marketing strategy! Choose pictures and printed material carefully and creatively.

• HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE FOR ADVERTISING?

Advertising can be very expensive. Community business networking can be particularly useful: Individual businesses can cut advertising costs by sharing a community advertising space such as a web site, a community business brochure or visitors guide or a community display board. Another way to circumvent the high cost of advertising is to host travel guidebook writers. A list of travel guidebooks is in the resources section on page 48.

Something to consider...
Businesses that are owned and operated by people that are indigenous to the area may benefit by advertising as a “Native owned” business. There are travelers that want to support Native people and local businesses. If you advertise as Native owned, be prepared to answer questions about your culture!

 

The four most common mediums for small business advertising are:

1. Printed material
(travel guides, brochures, newspapers)

2. Internet (web sites)

3. Radio

4. Word of mouth and roadside signs

Advertising
mailbox
This business made creative use of their mailbox to work around roadside sign laws. The Department of Transportation mandates roadside sign rules for the State of Alaska.
A Visitors Guide is an effective way to reach tourists and let them know the community guidelines. It is also a great marketing tool. The Chistochina Visitors Guide includes general information about the community and a list of do's and don'ts. The inside of the back page has a pocket for business brochures and current information.


E. Encouraging Good Relations Between Business Owners
PART 3

GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN BUSINESS OWNERS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. ANIMOSITY BETWEEN BUSINESSES CAN DAMAGE THE WHOLE COMMUNITY IN TERMS OF TOURISM OR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.

Below are some strategies for encouraging good relations between business owners.

  • Coordinate business-networking sessions. Often, problems that arise between local business owners can be avoided if the business owners know each other better.
  • Create a community brochure. List all businesses and services in the brochure. Invite people to display brochures in their place of business.
  • Identify what is unique about the different local businesses. Businesses should not vie each other in competition for visitors.
  • Consider ways to “work together”. Display brochures for one another, offer referrals, provide tourists with information about the area and other businesses, etc.

 


WHAT IF THE BUSINESS NEXT DOOR REALLY IS DIFFICULT TO GET ALONG WITH?

A formal letter to the difficult person and/or business may be appropriate. Keep in mind the goal of effective communication and positive change.

In any case, it is not your customer’s place to be involved in a dispute or on the receiving end of bad news about the “guy next door”.

The tourist visiting your community is expecting to have a good experience. Each business plays an important part in providing a positive visitor experience. Together, the businesses and community can make a visitor feel comfortable and content with their stay.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY Be careful that you do not elicit defensiveness in your communication. You want to affect change. You don’t want to be right or win an argument. You will affect change by inspiring the responsible party to find a solution that fits both of your goals.




F. Supporting Local Business Development

You cannot force someone to start a business, but you can encourage, support and provide useful information to the people in your community who want to begin a business. Some ways to encourage and support local business development are included below.

5 Create and distribute a business development tool kit. Include local and statewide resources and their contact information (i.e. small business development center), books or pamphlets about starting a small business, tax tips, sample business plans, etc.

5 Bring the experts to the community. Arrange for a business counselor to meet with local people.

5 Hold personal finance and bookkeeping classes.

5 Encourage networking between businesses.

5 Be the research assistant. Collect and distribute news articles, web sites and other information that may be of interest to community members wanting to start a business.

5 Develop a resource library. A book is a great tool for empowering people with knowledge that will boost their business ventures.

horses
Courtesy of Chantelle Pence
If the local people want to have maximum control and involvement in the tourism scene, then the local people have to be the ones to meet the needs of the tourists.

 

This Tribal member has plans to develop an eco-tourism business offering trail rides and wilderness cabin rentals.

 



F. Supporting Local Business Development - Example
PART 3

flyer


G. Community Beautification

If you invite a guest into your home, most likely you will clean your house before they arrive. The same is applicable when inviting people into your community. Before you encourage people to come to your community, you may want to consider ways to beautify the surroundings.

  • Is there trash on the ground? If so, then try to involve the community in cleaning it up. Even if it is so common that the locals do not notice it, the tourists WILL and the trash may make a bad impression.
  • How do the homes in the community look? Do they need minor repairs such as painting? Sometimes simple things like painting a house make a world of difference.
  • Are there old, abandoned vehicles around the community? Abandoned vehicles are a common problem. One suggestion is to designate an area for all the junk cars to be moved to until they can be properly disposed of.
junk cars
Over 200 junk cars were removed from Mentasta and Chistochina as a part of their community beautification efforts.
Courtesy of Joan Herrmann

MORE IDEAS:

  • Plant flowers! Hang flower baskets from signs, help people make flower beds in their yards and create a native plant garden with the traditional name (and use) on a small sign next to the plant.
  • Encourage artwork. Almost every community has one or two people who can draw or paint. Ask them to consider donating their art in the form of a mural on a community building or signs around the community.
A clean community is a beautiful community!

 

A community recycling bin in Chistochina has a mountain scene painted on it to make it attractive and to encourage respect for the community and land.
Courtesy of Chantelle Pence

End Chapter

 

This material is based upon work supported by the Environmental Protection Agency Grant No. GA-97002201-1. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Environmental Protection Agency.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

UNDERSTANDING TOURISM
Part 1

  1. General Tourism Development
  2. Eco-Tourism
  3. Cultural Tourism and Cultural Interpretation
  4. Tourism With Integrity

SUPPORTING COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Part 2

  1. Strategies For Involving The Whole Community
  2. Workshops
    Sample Workshop Agendas
  3. Conducting Surveys
  4. Follow-up
  5. Identify Your Core Group

NUTS AND BOLTS OF TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
Part 3

  1. Identify Where Your Community Is In The Tourism Development Process
  2. What Do You Do If The Community Doesn't Want Tourism?
  3. Tourism Management
  4. Marketing
  5. Encouraging Good Relations Between Local Businesses
  6. Supporting Local Business Development
  7. Community Beautification

 
 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Contact
ANKN
Last modified September 27, 2006