Understanding tourism for Michigan communities

MSU Extension’s tourism team develops its first community program to educate audiences on several niche markets that can help sustain one of Michigan’s largest industries-tourism!

Have you ever wondered just how important tourism is for Michigan or for the rest of the world? Have you noticed a number of different types of tourism that have evolved from other industries, such as agriculture or ecology, and unsure as to what they are? Have you wondered just how large the tourism industry really is, but unsure as to why or how it plays an integral role in communities and local businesses? Tourism connects with several industries and is integral to the survival of many.

Beginning in 2014, the tourism team at Michigan State University Extension, a statewide workgroup comprised of both campus and field faculty members, will be offering a program titled “Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities (UTMC)”. The program is directed at communities and individuals seeking to better understand tourism and niche markets that have helped to transform, grow and sustain this global industry.

A description of the program, which is to be offered around the Great Lakes State at various times throughout 2014, offers a glimpse into the educational areas explored during this one-to-two hour program.

Tourism, the world’s largest industry, encompasses niche markets that can foster and sustain tourism growth while supporting other industries as well, such as agriculture, conservation, and/or education. Michigan’s tourism industry is broadening in the 21st century and embracing larger numbers of national and international visitors with diverse interests and spending habits. With this expected growth, more tourists bring new opportunities for Michigan communities to embrace and prosper. Learn of several specific niche markets and how they are and can be employed at local levels to sustain the larger industry as a whole and contribute to your economy.

The UTMC program will highlight active niche markets and their strategies to help strengthen and sustain communities. Ecotourism, for example, is a specific niche area which combines ecology with responsible tourism activities in nature-based areas. Ecotourism’s success comes by way of conducting tours and activities emphasizing the conservation and importance of and appreciation for natural resources in the area via education and direct exposure in a responsible manner.

This specific focus area is just one example where attendees will gain perspective on this popular form of tourism and it’s capabilities of contributing to a more sustainable tourism industry for Michigan and beyond. Other topics in this program address tourism and its relation to food, agriculture, heritage and culture, as well as volunteering.

A series of dates are planned for 2014. Please contact your local MSU Extension office or check the MSU Extension online events page for more information. 

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