Civic Tourism Civic Tourism - The Poetry & Politics of Place Now Available! Civic Tourism: The Poetry & Politics of Place By Dan Shilling, Foreword by Scott Russell Sanders
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Mission: Reframe Tourism




Poetry and Politics of Place


Place-based Tourism


Frame Flipping

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Frame Flipping

The way we frame something often determines how we relate to it, value it, and act toward it. Civic Tourism uses "frame flipping" in two ways:

1. Does place serve tourism or does tourism serve place? Historically towns have used (some would say "exploited") nature, culture, and other place-based assets to serve the tourism economy. But if place is only an economic tool, we risk undermining it. Flip the frame: use tourism to serve place. Studies show that towns which invest in preserving place have the healthiest economies.

2. Are you building your town for residents or visitors? Civic Tourism says towns should flip the frame: design communities for the people who live there. Experience suggests doing so will ultimately draw high-value visitors. On the other hand, if towns put too much emphasis on attracting and pleasing outsiders, they risk compromising their place-based products, alienating residents, and attracting mostly "drive-by" tourists.

Bottom line: focus on developing healthy communities rather than only growing tourism economies.


"Tourism Traps"

Some towns seem designed more for tourists than residents, where nearly everyone on Main Street is from somewhere else, where every business serves visitors.

These might be economically vibrant communities, but they are not "real towns" in the complete sense, and they're sometimes not sustainable - economically or environmentally.

When boosters brag that their town attracts millions of tourists ask, "But do I want to live there?"

Now Available! Civic Tourism: The Poetry & Politics of Place By Dan Shilling, Foreword by Scott Russell Sanders

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Click here to watch Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's welcome to the first Civic Tourism conference.