Article featuring VBSR member Outpatch discusses how tourism impacts local communities
Can tourists be doing more to ensure their travel dollars actually end up benefiting the communities that host them?
It’s no secret that Vermont’s economy benefits greatly from and is arguably dependent on tourism. Besides obvious links to the ski and outdoor industry, which so many tourists come to Vermont to enjoy, an incredible multitude of local businesses are inherently linked to the tourism economy. Restaurants, hotels, and outdoor gear stores to name some obvious ones but also all manner of boutique shops along with the multitude of service trades that support tourism’s infrastructure (ex. construction, maintenance, etc). According to Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development tourism generates $3 billion and supports over 30,000 jobs in the state.
Despite the unquestionably positive impact that tourist dollars have on Vermont, there can still be some disconnect between what tourists are spending and the benefits to local Vermonters. This disconnect actually has a name, tourism development professionals refer to it as “tourism leakage” – the amount of tourism dollars that don’t end up staying in local economies.