Travel has gone from going to SEE things to going to DO things. Next, I predict, is going to MAKE things.
— Robert Reid (@reidontravel) December 30, 2013
Here’s another travel trend that small towns can excel at: the shift to more active, even productive, tourism.
Right now, you have a chance to suck visitors in to participate and be part of your events. In a small town, it’s easy to let visitors be part of the action. Maybe they can’t ride a bull in the rodeo, but they can scoot a boot at the street dance. You can teach them to rope, too, and to make apple dumplings in a dutch oven for the dinner.
This is much easier in a small town. We’re friendly, to start out with. Our events are on a smaller scale, so we can work in visitors much more easily.
At Bradt’s Menagerie near Alva, Oklahoma, you will learn all about how pioneer farming families kept chickens and turkeys back in the 1900’s. But you’ll do it while holding a chicken in your hands and feeding sweet treats to a baby sheep. You’ll be part of the experience first, then you’ll learn. Who cares about driving somewhere just to see some farm animals? But who can resist the warmth of a real live chicken in hand?
So start including your visitors in the action. Do you already have ways for visitors to get in on the DOING and the MAKING? Tell us about it!
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.