header 2011
Tourism & U: News you can use

The Tourism Center is a collaboration of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
and the University of Minnesota Extension.

Winter 2012
In this issue
Quality of life
Online is not optional
Carlson Chair funding
Kent Gustafson retires
2012 trends
Quick Links
Tourism Fact

Travel is one of the top 10 healthiest new year resolutions!


We hope your new year is off to an amazing start. Perhaps like yours, ours is starting off with new projects, offices and opportunities!
In terms of projects, we're happy to be sponsoring two new research projects through the Carlson Chair for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality--read more below.

Our offices have transitioned so we're physically closer to our colleagues in Community Vitality...and the Gortner parking ramp for our visitors! We also welcome Jennifer Wagner-Harkonen to the Tourism Center team to assist with administration.
Finally, we're on the hunt for optimal opportunities: don't be surprised if we call or knock on your door seeking input on how we can maximize our collective efforts for Minnesota tourism and its vibrant tourism industry and tourism-dependent communities!
Enjoy this update and share your ideas, concerns and opportunities with us at anytime via phone, email, Facebook or Twitter Happy new year and best wishes for a prosperous 2012.

Ingrid Schneider, Ph.D.
Director, 612-624-4947, ingridss@umn.edu


Quality of life & transportation: Survey results are in!


Groundbreaking research with the Mn Department of Transportation sought citizen input on what comprises quality of life and what role transportation plays in it. The research encompassed three phases between 2010 and 2011: 1) an extensive literature review on quality of life, 2) 24 focus groups that asked Minnesota's citizens about their quality of life, and 3) a mail questionnaire about what matters in quality of life, transportation and their intersection. Perhaps you won't be surprised that Minnesotan's are generally satisfied with quality of life and that our satisfaction increases as we age. Transportation is important to this quality of life and the variety of factors that contribute to this, including tourism-related issues, are the heart of this report.


We presented the first of many analyses in December and anticipate multiple requests in the next 18 months. Find reports from all 3 research phases online:  annotated bibliography and focus group report online and the questionnaire.


This work builds on the similarly innovative 2010 work on the Lake Country Byway and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. We are honored to be invited to present this work at the Transportation Research Board this month.

Online is no longer optional


Despite the fact that the Internet and Google maps continue to dominate consumer search patterns, 60% of some 14,000 small businesses assessed in Minnesota do not have a website. Recent findings by the Minnesota Rural Intelligent Communities initiative suggest that certain parts of the tourism industry have even lower percentages of an online presence! A report specific to tourism businesses web presence and sophistication in Greater Minnesota will be out later this year, sponsored by the Carlson Chair for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality.


Look for workshop offerings in your area to address business online, emobile marketing, DIY webpages and more. Better yet, request one from the Minnesota Rural Intelligent Communities team!     


Carlson Chair for Travel, Tourism & Hospitality funds 2 projects in 2012 


Several project ideas were evaluated by an Advisory Committee subgroup and two were selected for funding: the economic impact of Minnesota museums and use of the Internet among tourism-dependent businesses.  These projects will be conducted through 2012 and culminate in information to improve MN tourism and the communities that depend on tourism.


A heartfelt thank you to all who applied for this opportunity. Perhaps you have an idea to submit for the next round of funding? Consider applying for 2013 funds: applications are due October 1, 2012 and details can be found here


A fond farewell to colleague Kent Gustafson

After nearly four decades of community development work, Kent Gustafson retired from the University of Minnnesota in December.  

Kent is a true community champion whose work embodied Extension's mission to connect community needs and University resources. His contributions to people and communities  made a difference in Minnesota and beyond. He served as a model of what an Extension Educator is, reminding us to use our talents, tempered with humor and kindness, to educate people about the world of events, the opportunities for agri-tourism, and community leadership. In addition to being an outstanding facilitator, he is a mentor and a friend to many.  We are honored to have known, worked and laughed with him! Kent can now be found with his grandchildren, on the tennis court or through his new website: www.gusfacilitation.com

Trends for 2012


Thanks to the USTA for compiling a great list of trend websites!