Mon. Jun 5th, 2023


Following a nine-month-extended procedure, that integrated public town hall meetings, a poll of residents, concentrate groups, a job force composed of representatives from a assortment of nearby agencies and the visitor economy sector, 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,” mentioned 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 mentioned. “What can I do to aid and what can other people in my function in other areas do to aid?”

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

Cafferty is also President of Outer Banks Blue Realty Solutions, a house/getaway rental management and true estate solutions business 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 element 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 many 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 absolutely nothing that says that we can not give a thing that is a worth and use for the individuals that reside right here also,” mentioned Outer Banks Guests Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles.

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

Lee Nettles opens the presentation on The Outer Banks Extended Variety Tourism Management Program. [Sam Walker photo]Developed 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-line 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 sector.

“To mitigate the challenges connected to the substantial effect of tourism on the Outer Banks, especially for the duration of the peak summer season 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 feasible one particular decade from now, primarily based on following the study’s suggestions:

4 strategic ambitions had been identified in the report: strengthen resident and visitor engagement, adopt an integrated strategy 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 facts methods to enhance the resident/visitor connection, which includes connecting guests with non-income and create a “volun-tourism” approach, produce resident advisory panels, create a visitor pledge to “communicate the critical values of accountable behavior,” produce a job force and employ a Neighborhood Engagement Manager to implement the general strategy

On environmental stewardship, the report says the Outer Banks can do much 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 solutions for non-vehicular transportation, produce 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 involve continuing to advocate for beach nourishment and other shoreline management approaches, commissioning a study of density even though building 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, enhance accessibility for all ages and skills, and assistance a pedestrian security strategy that aspects in a assortment of mobility demands.

Ultimately, the study calls for a much more collaborative work on attempting to raise housing possibilities for residents, which includes operating with nearby government and other partners to advocate for an raise in property ownership solutions for a wider base of residents, create methods to educate about demands for much more housing diversity, advocate for a balance in quick- and extended-term rental and property ownership possibilities, escalating public transportation and mobility solutions and workforce accessibility, and companion with nearby groups to create public-private housing improvement possibilities.

“I consider the sector has to step up right here and do our element. And no matter if that is the sustainability no matter if it is the pledge of the visitor, communications, no matter if it is voluntourism,” Cafferty mentioned. “These are all thrilling issues that we’ve under no circumstances contemplated ahead of.”

“But definitely the housing, transportation, we’ve all got to be a element of the resolution,” Cafferty mentioned.

“The excellent news is guests appreciate it right here,” Nettles mentioned. “And they want to fully grasp the spot greater, they want to really feel like they’re much more connected with the Outer Banks and their neighbor. So we just need to have to give them the tools to aid them raise 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 important components of the strategy, producing elevated visitor spending and financial activity, and in turn bringing in much more tax income and jobs, and building a somewhat stronger shoulder season which in turn extends seasonal jobs and brings much more company into year-round operation.

Below the moderate situation, important components of the study are pursued, even though managing housing, workforce, and environmental stewardship are prioritized, even though a much more modest level of visitor spending is sought.

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

Nettles mentioned the moderate situation named for in the report is a much more affordable, and realistic, strategy 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 really should do, to not only concentrate on that sustainable development, but figure out how to take methods to greater 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 quick term, and there are a couple of quick 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 really should not be challenging, 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 village, has its personal one of a kind 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 seriously come in with a commonality.”

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

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

Posted in Top Stories, Visitor Economy


By Editor

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