About "Assessing and Developing Tourism Resources Tool"

Purpose

This module is designed for rural counties interested in organizing programs to develop and promote tourism in their communities. Most small communities lack the resources to have a full time paid professional leading their tourism effort. Therefore, tourism is guided by a few residents with a vested interest in this segment of the economy. The purpose of this module is to empower a committee of individuals who are interested in promoting tourism in the county to approach tourism development in an organized and informed manner.

The individuals who participate in this project must be willing to assume responsibility for creating the tourism development plan, selling it to the local economic development organizations, implementing the committee's recommendations for the tourism development plan; and finally, evaluating the success of the plan. It is important to work closely with the countywide economic development organization. The tourism goals must be a part of their goals. Most rural communities don't have the resources to duplicate efforts. Working with local economic development organization(s) will help guarantee that the goals targeted by a new tourism development plan will be embraced by local leaders

Overview of the Module

Strategic Planning in 7 (Not-so-Easy) Steps
The strategic planning process is not easy. This online version is comprised of 7 steps beginning with creating your planning committee to writing the final report. This process takes time, but does not have take forever. Using online tools, you are in charge of how your organization works through the process and how much time you allocate to each step. Each step includes interactive worksheets. Using the same login each time you access the site will make certain that you retrieve the information you have previously entered. Your login name also serves as a means to store all of your information.

Organize Tourism Action Committee

Establish Timetable for the Process

Identify Tourism Resources

Evaluate Tourism Resources

SWOT Analysis

Establish Goals, Objectives and Strategies

Measure Your Progress

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What is the Best Way to Use Online Strategic Planning?

Each of the members of the strategic planning committee need to have a good understanding of the planning process. The first step should be to have committee members become familiar with this process by reviewing the 7 steps independently or as a group. Committee members can go online and explore the various aspects of the process. Once everyone is familiar with strategic planning, find a facilitator to help the committee stay focused. If possible, the facilitator should be impartial and objective of the group process - the referee, yet represent the stakeholders interest. A committee member would not make a good facilitator because as a stakeholder it would be difficult to be dispassionate. A member of the University of Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development team is able to serve as facilitator for your committee.

For each work session, the facilitator could set up a computer and projector in the room, go online to access the program and project the worksheets for the committee. If connection speed or access in general is poor, the facilitator can print the worksheets and make copies available for each member of the working committee. The committee can work on the worksheets in small groups and when completed and consensus is reached, the facilitator can input the information online. There are two benefits of inputting your materials online: 1) The information is stored and remembered and committee members can go online at any time to review the materials; and 2) The write-up of the final report is minimized because the program creates report-ready worksheets.

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