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4 Critical Steps to Take When Measuring Tourism’s Impact in Your Region

March 7, 2018 by Sarah K. M. Gross

IMPLAN can be used to quantify the impact of a given industry on its local economy, including ones as varied and nuanced as Tourism.

Late last year, we published an example of this—a case study highlighting how the City of Baltimore and the Waterfront Partnership illustrated the need for reinvestment in its Inner Harbor using impact analysis. Much news media attention and high level support (from the city’s then-mayor and the CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee) for the reinvigoration of the harbor was garnered as a result of the analysis using IMPLAN data. You can read that case study here.

So how can you take what was learned from the study conducted by the Waterfront Partnership on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and apply it to your own tourism impact analysis?

In our new white paper, “The Tourism Impacts Primer for Economic Developers”, we detail the critical steps necessary to track the economic impacts of tourism on your local economy. These include:

  • Set the scope: Consider what you want to measure as well as how frequently you’d like to repeat the study. Describe the study area in great detail.
  • Define terms: Define what “tourist” means for your study region. Consider what the tourist season really consists of and clearly define your parameters for qualification.
  • Craft a rock-solid survey: Avoid broad survey questions. Structure your questions to gather data on the same level of granularity the model uses to calculate impacts, and really hone the information that will be most useful for your analysis.
  • Make the results accessible: Make your results publicly available online. Sharing insights gleaned from your analysis with the public can result in unexpected benefits to your community.

Using these steps to frame your approach lends clarity and form to studying how tourism impacts your region. Making the results public and using community feedback to fact check your findings helps illustrate the interconnectedness of your community and the businesses that shape it. Most importantly, synthesizing your findings to create a compelling narrative the way Baltimore’s Inner Harbor did will assist in securing support for proposed initiatives to improve your local economy.

Download the white paper 'The Tourism Impacts Primer for Economic Developers'

Topics: Data, Economics


Put simply, IMPLAN is built for everyone.

Together, our software and data give you a window into your region of study — like one gigantic transaction log for the local economy. Chances are that if your project or business has a financial component, then IMPLAN can reveal some sometimes surprising detail about how your project relates to the local, state, or national economy.

What used to take economists weeks can be done in minutes. By anyone!

But you're not alone, IMPLAN's best benefits go beyond the work done in the tool:

  • Easy to learn and use
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