• Tue. May 30th, 2023

Study of extended-term management of Outer Banks visitor economy lays out roadmap for subsequent decade


May 26, 2023

From Wobx.com

Following a nine-month-extended course of action, that incorporated public town hall meetings, a poll of residents, concentrate groups, a activity force composed of representatives from a range of regional agencies and the visitor economy market, the Outer Banks Guests Bureau has released the findings of a study that lays out a road map for the future of tourism in the area.

Entitled “Long-Variety Tourism Management Strategy 2023-2033“, the 65-web page report was compiled by MMGY NextFactor, a consulting firm specializing in travel and tourism, for the Dare County Tourism Board and the guests bureau.

“There weren’t a lot of surprises from the information that we saw,” mentioned Dare County Tourism Board Steering Committee chairman Tim Cafferty.

“The items I see as a company owner, day-to-day came out in spades on this report,” Cafferty mentioned. “What can I do to assist and what can other individuals in my function in other locations do to assist?”

Roughly 30 islanders attended a meeting in Buxton in January 2023 to give feedback for the Lengthy-Variety Tourism Management Strategy.

Cafferty is also President of Outer Banks Blue Realty Solutions, a home/getaway rental management and true estate solutions corporation primarily based in Kitty Hawk.

Tourism spending in Dare County topped $1.83 billion final year, the fourth highest county in North Carolina, with a single of each and every 3 jobs either aspect of or supported by the visitor economy.

The report was initial presented to the tourism board at their month-to-month meeting on Wednesday, and then later that evening to a gathering of a number of dozen residents, company owners, and elected and government officials, at the Ramada Plaza in Kill Devil Hills.

“We have a legislative mandate to market overnight visitation, but there’s practically nothing that says that we can not give some thing that is a worth and use for the persons that reside right here as well,” mentioned Outer Banks Guests Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles.

“I assume everyone on the tourism board, undoubtedly the guests bureau, had been inspired (by the findings),” Nettles mentioned.

Lee Nettles opens the presentation on The Outer Banks Lengthy Variety Tourism Management Strategy. [Sam Walker photo]Created by MMGY NextFactor, a consulting firm specializing in travel and tourism, each presentations on Wednesday had been led by MMGY NextFactor Senior Vice President of Location Stewardship Cassandra McAuley and Executive Consultant Shelly Green.

The pair also led the town hall discussions held in Buxton and Kill Devil Hills in January.

Along with the town halls, a lot more than four,500 residents responded to an on the web survey carried out final fall, and detailed interviews had been carried out with a lot more than a dozen stakeholders inside and outdoors the hospitality and tourism market.

“To mitigate the challenges connected to the considerable effect of tourism on the Outer Banks, especially for the duration of the peak summer time season, the following strategic suggestions will help a balanced development situation, making sure residents and guests advantage from the visitor economy, with a clear concentrate on sustainable and manageable visitation,” according to the study’s executive summary.

The report incorporated a crystal ball-like peek at what could be attainable a single decade from now, primarily based on following the study’s suggestions:

4 strategic targets had been identified in the report: strengthen resident and visitor engagement, adopt an integrated method to enhancing environmental stewardship, help infrastructure improvement that supports the vitality of the neighborhood residents and guests, and collaborate to advocate for an boost in residential housing diversity.

The report specifics strategies to enhance the resident/visitor connection, like connecting guests with non-earnings and create a “volun-tourism” method, build resident advisory panels, create a visitor pledge to “communicate the vital values of accountable behavior,” build a activity force and employ a Neighborhood Engagement Manager to implement the all round strategy

On environmental stewardship, the report says the Outer Banks can do a lot more to enhance its reputation as a leader in outside recreation and caring for its sources, collaborate with environmentally-conscious partners, advocate for roads, sidewalks, and clean mobility to expand alternatives for non-vehicular transportation, build a Sustainability Committee to give input on minimizing tourism’s impacts on the atmosphere, and investing in information platforms for true-time analytics and use intel for targeting and education.

Infrastructure improvement suggestions incorporate continuing to advocate for beach nourishment and other shoreline management approaches, commissioning a study of density whilst establishing a capacity management strategy, partnering with the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce on a diverse talent attraction campaign, continue pursuing the Occasion Center at The Soundside in Nags Head, increase accessibility for all ages and skills, and help a pedestrian security strategy that components in a range of mobility requirements.

Ultimately, the study calls for a a lot more collaborative work on attempting to boost housing possibilities for residents, like operating with regional government and other partners to advocate for an boost in residence ownership alternatives for a wider base of residents, create strategies to educate about requirements for a lot more housing diversity, advocate for a balance in brief- and extended-term rental and residence ownership possibilities, escalating public transportation and mobility alternatives and workforce accessibility, and companion with regional groups to create public-private housing improvement possibilities.

“I assume the market has to step up right here and do our aspect. And irrespective of whether that is the sustainability irrespective of whether it is the pledge of the visitor, communications, irrespective of whether it is voluntourism,” Cafferty mentioned. “These are all fascinating items that we’ve never ever contemplated just before.”

“But undoubtedly the housing, transportation, we’ve all got to be a aspect of the remedy,” Cafferty mentioned.

“The very good news is guests enjoy it right here,” Nettles mentioned. “And they want to realize the spot superior, they want to really feel like they’re a lot more connected with the Outer Banks and their neighbor. So we just need to have to give them the tools to assist them boost their understanding.”

The report also gave a forecast evaluation with possible scenarios of aggressive and moderate development, and a “retrench” situation.

The aggressive situation has the Outer Banks effectively pursuing the crucial components of the strategy, creating improved visitor spending and financial activity, and in turn bringing in a lot more tax income and jobs, and establishing a comparatively stronger shoulder season which in turn extends seasonal jobs and brings a lot more company into year-round operation.

Below the moderate situation, crucial components of the study are pursued, whilst managing housing, workforce, and environmental stewardship are prioritized, whilst a a lot more modest level of visitor spending is sought.

The retrench situation reflects the pandemic-era development in visitation’s all round strain on the neighborhood, and efforts to handle these challenges from visitor volumes, infrastructure, workforce, and housing garner are not pursued, and final results in reduced development in visitor spending and financial activity which leads to reduced regional tax income and fewer jobs.

Nettles mentioned the moderate situation known as for in the report is a a lot more affordable, and realistic, method for the Outer Banks as a neighborhood.

“One of the other items that comes out of the strategy is there’s a lot a lot more than we can do, and should really do, to not only concentrate on that sustainable development, but figure out how to take actions to superior align tourism activities with the top quality of life for the people that reside right here,” Nettles mentioned.

Nettles mentioned the creation of the Residents Advisory Council and hiring the Neighborhood Engagement Manager are amongst the largest quick priorities in the brief term, and there are a handful of quick products that came from the report that will be addressed at subsequent month’s Dare County Tourism Board meeting.

Moving forward from what the reports calls for from Dare County and the six municipalities should really not be tough, Nettles mentioned, and was currently expressed for the duration of the board’s meeting Wednesday morning.

“Along with representatives from the municipalities, County Commissioner Ervin Bateman mentioned that the strategy was a fantastic tool for land use improvement preparing for municipalities and for the county,” Nettles mentioned.

“Every town, each and every village, has its personal exclusive set of challenges,” Nettles mentioned. “But ideally, there’s adequate that we can agree on, and sort of align the efforts moving forward.”

“I’ve been about that board a extended time,” Cafferty mentioned. “And it is the most vibrant organization I’ve been with, that you truly come in with a commonality.”

“Someone told me lately the old saying: ‘When’s the ideal time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. Second ideal time to plant a tree? Currently,” Cafferty mentioned.

“I assume that is what our board feels, ‘We’re not certain exactly where this is going? But we have a fantastic mindset to push this factor along’,” Cafferty mentioned.

Posted in Top Stories, Visitor Economy