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Tourism and Community Development

Resources and Applied Research Clearinghouse


Dear Visitors:

Tourism plays and increasingly important role in the development of communities throughout the U.S. Lake States.

The benefits of tourism include both tangible (e.g. job creation, state and local tax revenue, etc.) and less tangible (e.g. social structure, quality-of-life, etc.) community effects. In addition, tourism can, and often does, result in less desirable effects on the economic, social, and environmental fabrics of communities. These benefits and costs provide ample opportunity for creative public policy debate.

The University of Wisconsin - Extension (UWEX) has a long and rich history of developing and supporting partnerships throughout the state and the region. Significant tourism educational programs began more than 40 years ago with the work of Professor Isadore Fine and the UW - Madison School of Commerce. Fifteen years later, this initial programming effort was formalized through the formation of the Recreational Resources Center (later named the Tourism Research & Resource Center). This center provided educational programming to assist in community-based tourism planning and applied research.  The center was eliminated in 1996 after its budget was reallocated to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Since 1996, many county-based Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development (CNRED) educators have continued to develop and deliver quality tourism programming throughout Wisconsin and beyond. In addition, there continues to be a modest support network of specialists that conduct applied research programs addressing tourism development. Examples of issues addressed in this programming include business development, marketing, outdoor recreation planning, natural resources and amenity-base development, heritage tourism, nature-based tourism, festivals and events, tourism economics, tourism infrastructure, traveler research, and hospitality training. These local, regional, and state-level tourism efforts can greatly benefit from sanction, guidance, support, and packaging in creating an overarching umbrella for CNRED Tourism Programs.

Tourism has been and will continue to be an important component of our social, economic, and environmental heritage. The “Tourism Team” has an opportunity to engage CNRED educators, tourism professionals, and applied tourism researchers to share expertise and practices that are transferable to communities in the Lake States and beyond. By doing so, this team has an opportunity to rapidly establish a collaborative network to help strengthen community-based tourism education and applied research. The literature and web-based resources captured here provide an organizing component intent on fostering this engagement.

This clearinghouse of community tourism resources is created as an evolving resource. We are interested in your suggestions for additions and future directions. Please direct comments to us using the following contact information. We hope you find this useful. On behalf of the UWEX CNRED Tourism Team …


Ian Scott and Dave Marcouiller
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
University of Wisconsin – Madison/Extension

(608) 262-1004  email us here  


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File last updated: March 23rd, 2005
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