Rural communities in Illinois face an increasing demand from tourists seeking outdoor recreation activities and small-town experiences. This growth in demand presents an opportunity for Illinois rural communities to reimagine rural tourism and sustainable development strategies that align with the communities' values and priorities, advance local workforce development, support local entrepreneurship, and foster collaboration among rural communities across the state.
This webinar will focus on the challenges and opportunities present in Illinois communities that seek to develop rural tourism and understand tourists' motivations and constraints to engage in rural tourism in Illinois sharing. The first section will cover insights into leadership, regulations, and collaboration to unlock tourism potential. The second section of the webinar will provide insights into rural tourist behavior and decision-making. The presentation will also share resources for community-based tourism development developed from the I-Rural project. The goal of the presentation is to share useful information about rural communities to help develop their tourism industry. The research aimed to understand tourists' motivations and constraints to engage in rural tourism in Illinois. This webinar is one way we are providing statewide dissemination of the findings, tools developed for community use, and clear evidence-informed tourism strategies to help rural communities design successful rural tourism experiences across Illinois.
The I-Rural project is funded by an Extension Collaboration Grant. First launched in 2018, grants are part of an ongoing effort to connect campus-based researchers and University of Illinois Extension field staff to do applied research projects that will improve the quality of life of Illinois residents. The grants focus on addressing critical issues in food, economy, environment, community, and health. Illinois Extension and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences provided 17 grants in the current round of funding with financial support from University of Illinois’ Office of the Provost Investment for Growth Program.
About the presenters:
Sharon Suiwen Zou, Asst Prof., Dept of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joelle Soulard, Asst Prof., Dept of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sponsored by University of Illinois’ Office of the Provost Investment for Growth Program (Extension Collaboration Grants).