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Community Tourism Development

The University of Minnesota Extension has a long history of assisting Minnesota communities that seek to promote local economic growth through tourism. Our Community Economics educators work with communities at all stages of tourism development — whether your community is in the early stages of development or working to diversify a mature tourism industry.


Cynthia Messer
Extension Professor
University of Minnesota Tourism Center
448 Coffey Hall
St. Paul, MN 55108-6005

Extension > Community > Community Tourism Development

Tourism Assessment Program

The Tourism Assessment Program can help your community open up to new visitors and strengthen your local economy. When your community conducts a Tourism Assessment Program, a team of community leaders and University faculty members gather and review data to analyze the community's tourism assets and potential for tourism development. The program includes a visit by the team to the community. What they uncover is provided back to the community in a written report and discussed with the community at a public meeting to spark discussion of potential next steps in tourism planning. The community can then use the information to help set priorities for local tourism development efforts.

Community Tourism Development Guide (3d ed., 2010)

Community Tourism Development manual

Some communities prefer to manage the tourism development process independently. A core tool for assisting communities, the Community Tourism Development manual applies theory to real life -- delivering the essentials of planning, developing, and managing tourist destinations from a community standpoint. This research-based, hands-on guide takes you step-by-step through successful tourism development planning. Stories of how communities have found success with tourism serve as examples to help illustrate core concepts.
View a sample
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Second Homeowners bring benefits to communities

Thinking regionally with tourism

Tourism isn't important just to the individual community. When people visit a place, they look around to see what else is going on in the area. Listen to an episode of Rural MN Radio, Jim and Marnie talk with Cynthia Messer, an Extension educator and tourism specialist with the U of M Extension's Tourism Center, about the impact of tourism in rural Minnesota and the importance of working regionally.

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