Following a nine-month-extended procedure, that integrated public town hall meetings, a poll of residents, concentrate groups, a activity force composed of representatives from a selection of regional agencies and the visitor economy business, 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 Program 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,” stated Dare County Tourism Board Steering Committee chairman Tim Cafferty.
“The issues I see as a company owner, day-to-day came out in spades on this report,” Cafferty stated. “What can I do to aid and what can other people in my function in other locations do to aid?”
Roughly 30 islanders attended a meeting in Buxton in January 2023 to offer feedback for the Lengthy-Variety Tourism Management Program.
Cafferty is also President of Outer Banks Blue Realty Solutions, a house/trip rental management and actual estate solutions enterprise primarily based in Kitty Hawk.
Tourism spending in Dare County topped $1.83 billion final year, the fourth highest county in North Carolina, with one particular of each 3 jobs either component of or supported by the visitor economy.
The report was very first presented to the tourism board at their month-to-month meeting on Wednesday, and then later that evening to a gathering of quite a few 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 cannot offer anything that is a worth and use for the men and women that reside right here as well,” stated Outer Banks Guests Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles.
“I feel everyone on the tourism board, definitely the guests bureau, had been inspired (by the findings),” Nettles stated.
Lee Nettles opens the presentation on The Outer Banks Lengthy Variety Tourism Management Program. [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, much more than four,500 residents responded to an on the net survey carried out final fall, and detailed interviews had been carried out with much more than a dozen stakeholders inside and outdoors the hospitality and tourism business.
“To mitigate the challenges connected to the considerable effect of tourism on the Outer Banks, specifically in the course of the peak summer time season, the following strategic suggestions will assistance a balanced development situation, guaranteeing 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 integrated a crystal ball-like peek at what could be probable one particular 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, assistance infrastructure improvement that supports the vitality of the neighborhood residents and guests, and collaborate to advocate for an raise in residential housing diversity.
The report specifics methods to increase the resident/visitor connection, such as connecting guests with non-income 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 much more to increase 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 choices for non-vehicular transportation, build a Sustainability Committee to offer input on minimizing tourism’s impacts on the atmosphere, and investing in information platforms for actual-time analytics and use intel for targeting and education.
Infrastructure improvement suggestions incorporate continuing to advocate for beach nourishment and other shoreline management techniques, commissioning a study of density whilst creating 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, boost accessibility for all ages and skills, and assistance a pedestrian security strategy that aspects in a selection of mobility requirements.
Lastly, the study calls for a much more collaborative work on attempting to raise housing possibilities for residents, such as functioning with regional government and other partners to advocate for an raise in property ownership choices for a wider base of residents, create methods to educate about requirements for much more housing diversity, advocate for a balance in brief- and extended-term rental and property ownership possibilities, rising public transportation and mobility choices and workforce accessibility, and companion with regional groups to create public-private housing improvement possibilities.
“I feel the business has to step up right here and do our component. And no matter whether that is the sustainability no matter whether it is the pledge of the visitor, communications, no matter whether it is voluntourism,” Cafferty stated. “These are all thrilling issues that we’ve never ever contemplated prior to.”
“But definitely the housing, transportation, we’ve all got to be a component of the remedy,” Cafferty stated.
“The excellent news is guests enjoy it right here,” Nettles stated. “And they want to comprehend the spot superior, they want to really feel like they’re much more connected with the Outer Banks and their neighbor. So we just want to give them the tools to aid them raise their understanding.”
The report also gave a forecast evaluation with prospective 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, producing enhanced visitor spending and financial activity, and in turn bringing in much more tax income and jobs, and creating a comparatively stronger shoulder season which in turn extends seasonal jobs and brings much 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 much 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 reduce development in visitor spending and financial activity which leads to reduce regional tax income and fewer jobs.
Nettles stated the moderate situation named for in the report is a much more affordable, and realistic, method for the Outer Banks as a neighborhood.
“One of the other issues that comes out of the strategy is there’s a lot much 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 excellent of life for the people that reside right here,” Nettles stated.
Nettles stated the creation of the Residents Advisory Council and hiring the Neighborhood Engagement Manager are amongst the most significant instant priorities in the brief term, and there are a handful of instant things 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 complicated, Nettles stated, and was currently expressed in the course of the board’s meeting Wednesday morning.
“Along with representatives from the municipalities, County Commissioner Ervin Bateman stated that the strategy was a good tool for land use improvement arranging for municipalities and for the county,” Nettles stated.
“Every town, each village, has its personal one of a kind set of challenges,” Nettles stated. “But ideally, there’s sufficient that we can agree on, and type of align the efforts moving forward.”
“I’ve been about that board a extended time,” Cafferty stated. “And it is the most vibrant organization I’ve been with, that you actually come in with a commonality.”
“Someone told me not too long ago the old saying: ‘When’s the finest time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. Second finest time to plant a tree? Now,” Cafferty stated.
“I feel that is what our board feels, ‘We’re not confident exactly where this is going? But we have a good mindset to push this factor along’,” Cafferty stated.
Posted in Top Stories, Visitor Economy
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