Developing Agricultural and Nature-Based Tourism in Eastern Connecticut
Norman K Benderand Nini Davis
This chapter explores a regional tourism development project that used a collaborative approach. It reviews the processes used to identify agricultural and nature-based tourism opportunities formulated from regional and community resources and characteristics. This case study also explores planning and implementation activities designed to strengthen community-based tourism's contributions to rural economic development through active involvement of people from a variety of organizations and situations.
The regional project's purpose and history are discussed, along with its objectives and major activities. Highlighted activities include an agricultural tourism committee, a field survey of tourism enterprises, a regional brochure designed for tourists and residents, and an educational tour of agricultural tourism enterprises in a neighboring state, designed for farmers. Finally, the project's outcomes will be reviewed.
In 1994, the Northeast Connecticut Visitors District (NCVD) identified a need for the tourism industry to work with farmers and rural landowners in eastern Connecticut to develop and promote agricultural and nature-based tourism. The region's agricultural lands, woodlands, open spaces, and small towns set the stage for a successful rural tourism program. The NCVD believed that increased tourist visits to the region would contribute to rural economic development, while preserving the area's natural attributes, promoting existing farms, and encouraging agri-tourism.