May 4, 2009 (CHARLESTON, SC) – The new economic Stimulus Package’s proposed spending on broadband Internet access could prove to be a huge boon for recreational tourism and economic development in rural regions that could greatly benefit from tourists’ dollars, according to recreation planner Edwin Gardner of Heritage Strategy Group in Charleston, South Carolina.
In a recent article posted to his blog “Heritage Strategies” (heritagestrategy.wordpress.com) Gardner applauds the fact that expanding the base of broadband into rural areas is a priority in the President’s package.
“The Internet is by far the most cost-effective way to reach the traveling public,” he writes, “and it allows a location’s message to reach a target audience far more effectively than the traditional shotgun approach of printed brochures, tourism guides, and other print media.”
That’s especially significant for undiscovered rural locations that are rich in natural, historic or culture opportunities the general public simply doesn’t know about.
“Once these regions figure out how to use the Internet effectively, they will be found by a growing visitor market,” Gardner writes. “If a desire to stay closer to home and save gas returns as a prime motivator, scenic rural counties within two hours of a big city will be more and more in demand.”
Assuming that could happen, Gardner warns that decision-makers in rural areas must learn “the principles and practices of sustainable tourism and quality growth planning before they get flooded with visitors. Otherwise, as in so many other ‘discovered’ areas, they end up killing the goose.”
Heritage Strategy Group is a planning initiative to develop recreational areas and scenic byways in a manner that allows local businesses and other stakeholders to enjoy growth and prosperity while the natural, historical and cultural heritage of the effected areas are preserved and enhanced.
“A heritage planner’s central mission is to enable local businesses to prosper,” Gardner says. “A strong entrepreneurial focus yields the best justifications for conservation and preservation of a place’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage. And a good heritage planner never gets between a people and their heritage.”
Heritage Strategy Group is a subsidiary of Studio A, Inc., a full-service architecture firm based in Charleston, SC. For more information visit www.studioa-architecture.com.
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