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Tourism Planning & Assessment . Tourism Development Workshop Bethel, Alaska April 5, 2001 Prepared by the Alaska Office of Tourism. Assets. Cultural resources and activities Authenticity Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Assets. Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

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Tourism Planning & Assessment

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TourismPlanning & Assessment

Tourism Development Workshop

Bethel, Alaska

April 5, 2001

Prepared by the Alaska Office of Tourism

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  • Cultural resources and activities

  • Authenticity

  • Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

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  • Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

    • The Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers dominate the landscape of Yukon Delta.

    • A treeless, wetland plain noted for wildlife variety and abundance.

    • Habitat for over 750,000 swans and geese, 2 million ducks, and 100 million shore and water birds.

    • Moose, caribou, grizzly bear, black bear, and wolves inhabit the northern hills and eastern mountains.

    • 1.1 million acre Nunivak Island portion of the refuge supports muskox and reindeer

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Fishing, hunting, and backcountry recreation may be excellent, although aircraft transportation is needed. The Andreafsky is a nationally designated wild river. Visitors may view exhibits and obtain complete information at the refuge headquarters visitor center. 500-800 visitors come to the Refuge annually including school groups. If conference numbers were included, visitors would number over 2,000. The refuge is visited mostly by locals and is accessible only by plane.

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  • To improve and develop tourism Bethel/Delta area might consider:

    • Campgrounds-there are no campgrounds, but plenty of beautiful rivers to accommodate campers and travelers.

    • Place for travelers to rent kayaks, skis, snow machines.

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Assessing the potential of tourism in a community should begin with the assumption that tourism “may” be good for your community. Sometimes “no” is the best answer to the question of whether tourism development is the right economic development strategy.

– Adapted from Community Tourism Assessment Handbook, Western Rural Development Center, Corvallis Oregon

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Benefits of Tourism

  • Employment Benefits

  • Income Benefits

  • Economic Diversification

  • Tax Revenues

  • Visibility

  • Cultural Benefits

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Costs of Tourism

  • Public Facility & Service Costs

  • Promotional Costs

  • Monitoring Costs

  • Staff Costs

  • Business Owner and Employee Training

  • Tourism can be seasonal

  • Congestion

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Benefits of Strategic Planning

  • Provide clear direction and rationale

  • Establish realistic goals consistent with the community’s vision

  • Communicate goals and development strategies

  • Establish a sense of ownership in the plan

  • Focus limited resources on key priorities

  • Provide a framework for implementation and evaluation

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Development Considerations

  • Focus on the authentic

  • Recognize that tourism has limits

  • Insure that development fits in with the surroundings

  • Interpret your resources

  • Remember aesthetics and ecology

  • Make sure the benefits of tourism are distributed throughout the community

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Visitor Motivations

  • Need for Change

  • Need for Achievement

  • Social Interaction

  • Cultural Experiences

  • Pampering

  • Novelty Seeking

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Visitor Needs

  • Access

    (Information, Your Community, Your Business)

  • Attitude

    (Local hospitality, Welcome Signs)

  • Attractions/Activities

  • Accommodations

    (Lodging, Food Service, Personal Needs)

  • Security

    (Emergency Services)

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Tourism Planning Process

  • Where are you now?

  • Where do you want to go?

  • How will you get there?

  • How are you doing?

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Planning Considerations

  • Organizational Development

  • Community Involvement

  • Tourism Product Development

  • Tourism Product Marketing

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Phase I: Where Are You Now?

Step 1: Organization Evaluation

Step 2: Gather Information

Step 3: Identify Community Values

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I(1) Organization Evaluation

Do you have an effective

Tourism Action Committee?

  • Recognized community leaders and leaders of organizations

  • Broad cross-section of stakeholders

  • Committed volunteers and dedicated team members

  • Desire to contribute to community well-being

  • Respect and appreciate views of others

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I(2) Gather Information

  • What are the community’s existing assets and resources?

  • How does tourism fit into the current economy of the community?

  • What are the characteristics of the tourists visiting the area?

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Inventory Assets & Resources

  • Attractions & Activities

  • Accommodations

  • Food Service

  • Transportation/Access

  • Traveler Services

  • Public Services and Facilities

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Economic &Visitor Profiles

  • How does tourism fit within your existing economy?

  • Is there existing data about the characteristics and travel patterns of the visitors already coming to the community?

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I(3) Identify Community Values

  • Are residents kept informed of tourism development initiatives?Meetings, Newsletters, Radio/TV Announcements, News Articles

  • How do residents feel about tourism?

    Resident Attitude Survey

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Phase II: Where Do You Want to Go?

Step 1: Develop a Community Vision

Step 2: Identify Issues and Concerns

Step 3: Establish Goals

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II(1) Develop a Vision

  • How do you see your community after tourism development?

  • What do you want to see happen?

  • What is an acceptable level of change in your community?

  • How much of what type of tourism development fits with your image of your community’s future?

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II(2) Identify Issues & Concerns

SWOT Analysis





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SWOT Analysis Matrix

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Benefits of a SWOT Analysis

  • Stimulates group participation

  • Provides a framework for assessing capabilities and community values

  • Provides a basis for the development of a set of goals that will take advantage of opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats

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SWOT Analysis Tips


  • Be analytical and specific

  • Record all thoughts and ideas

  • Choose the right people for the exercise

  • Choose a suitable leader or facilitator


  • Try to disguise weaknesses

  • Merely list errors and mistakes

  • Lose sight of external influences and trends

  • Allow the SWOT to become a blame laying exercise

  • Ignore outcomes at later stages of the planning process

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II(3) Establish Goals

  • Develop goals that will help the community achieve their vision of the future

  • Goals should be SMARTER

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Goals Should Be SMARTER








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Phase 3: How To Get There

Step 1: Identify projects

Step 2: Prioritize projects

Step 3: Develop an Action Plan for each project

Step 4: Monitor the progress of each project

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III(2) Prioritize Projects

  • What projects will be of value to potential visitors?

  • What projects will be of value to the community?

  • What projects can help your community's tourism industry have a competitive advantage?

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Value to the Tourist

  • Will it fill a vacation motive or need?

    • Motives: Change, Achievement, Interaction, Experience, Pampering, Novelty Seeking

    • Needs: Access, Attitude, Attractions, Accommodations, Security

  • Will it give a reason for tourists to spend more time in your community?

  • Is access acceptable to the visitor?

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Value to the Community

  • Will it help bring in outside income?

  • Is it compatible with your community’s lifestyle?

  • Will it maintain the natural beauty of the area?

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Competitive Advantage

  • Is the project unique?

  • Can the tourism opportunity be provided at a price that is acceptable to both buyer and seller?

  • Can the tourism opportunity provide a better value than another opportunity elsewhere?

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Action Plan Tips

  • List the steps or tasks needed to accomplish each project

  • Steps should be specific and detailed

  • Realistic timelines should be established for each step

  • Identify resources (human or financial) needed to accomplish each step should be identified

  • Identify who is responsible for each step

  • Obtain the consent and commitment of the responsible party

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Phase IV: How Are You Doing?

  • Review the plan on an annual basis

  • Solicit community involvement in the review

  • Review community opinion and critical indicators of success

  • Revise and update the plan

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Update & Modify the Plan

  • Has there been a substantial change in circumstances or assumptions upon which the current plan was based?

  • Are there new issues of local or regional significance that should be addressed?

  • Have any of the projects that have been implemented through the plan failed to achieve the desired result?

    A “yes” to any of these questions indicates an update is in order.

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Assessment & Planning Review

Where are you now? (Research)

  • Organization evaluation

  • Gather information

  • Identify community values

    Where do you want to go? (Planning)

  • Develop a vision

  • Identify concerns and opportunities - SWOT

  • Establish goals

    How will you get there? (Implementation)

  • Identify & prioritize projects that will implement goals

  • Develop an action plan for each project

  • Monitor each project’s progress

    How are you doing? (Evaluation)

  • Review and update the plan on a periodic basis

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Coming Soon from the AOT

  • Tourism Funding Handbook

  • Community Tourism Development Guidelines Handbook

  • Business Permitting Guidelines

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Useful Resources

Alaska Office of Tourism Web Page

Economic Development Resource Guide

Community Profile Database

Establishing a Business In Alaska

Commercial Visitor Services in Alaska

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How To Reach Us

Ginny FayTourism Director


Caryl McConkieBusiness Development, Planning & Marketing


Aneta SynanCommunity Planning & Lands Management


Odin BrudieTransportation & Trails Planning


Lillian RuedrichWorkshop Planning & Training

Our Fax: 907-465-3767

Alaska Office of Tourism, PO Box 110809, Juneau, AK 99811

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