Michigan State University Extension educator Andy Northrop presented before the Michigan House of Representatives Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee about the program Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities at their standing committee meeting on Sept. 9. Andy is the current chair of the MSU Extension tourism group, which has been providing the program to rural communities around the state since last year. Rep. Bruce Rendon, Michigan House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee chair, learned of the unique MSU Extension program and asked Andy to present an abbreviated version to the committee.
During the presentation, Andy focused on showing the representatives what the program is and how it is used as well as the results they have seen from the program this past year.
Designed for people trying to develop tourist attractions in their local communities, the Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities workshops show participants how tourism is changing and how they can use their assets to increase best practices in their communities. The typical audience attending a workshop ranges from Chamber of Commerce members to college staff to the public. In 2014, the MSU Extension tourism group hosted seven program workshops across Michigan, reaching over 150 participants.
The program aims to focus on niche markets, including promoting creating a niche market in the community through agricultural, nature-based and cultural tourism.
Andy said, “Putting up water parks and shopping malls doesn’t always work for every community.”
The program emphasizes regional and community collaboration, encouraging communities to work together to see how they can leverage their assets as a team.
I would like to commend Andy on an excellent job presenting to the committee. The presentation raised awareness for MSU Extension’s work in this area of tourism. Thanks to you and the team, and congratulations on your success and recognition for this program!