Asset-Based Economic Development

Every community has the capacity to capitalize on its unique attributes as a means of attracting visitors.

Heritage Tourism, as defined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past,” and heritage tourism can include cultural, historic and natural resources. The Historic Preservation section of this Toolbox explains how communities can use historic structures and landscapes to attract and serve visitors, protect historically significant assets, and leverage economic development opportunities.  

Eco-Tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that also conserves the environment. Hiking, fishing, bird watching, kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking for example, provide tourists with exciting ways to engage with the environment. These activities may also provide revenues that help to protect parks and waterways. Eco Delaware highlights the eco-tourism opportunities that already exist in the First State.

Agri-Tourism is being used by many small farms and rural communities to generate income. In addition to harvesting crops and raising livestock, farmers can add seasonal amusements like corn mazes and u-pick fruit stands. Other kinds of agri-tourism include rural bed and breakfasts and selling products made on site. Agri-tourism has been bolstered by the growing number of people interested in knowing origins of their food.  Delaware farmer’s markets showcase the state’s locally grown foods that support farmers and producers.

Coastal Tourism is a well-established industry in Delaware. Tourists flock to the state’s beach towns to experience clean coastlines, resort amenities, boardwalk attractions, award winning restaurants, tax-free shopping, small town charm, and a relaxing way of life.

Arts and Cultural Tourism uses local artists, performers, crafts people, and musicians to generate tourism. Visitors may enjoy visiting artists’ studios, attending performances, or even making their own creations with the help of professionals. Downtown Milford, a nonprofit working to develop the downtown district, is blending arts and economic development to create a stronger sense of place, attract visitors, and generate new business.City of Milford Logo for Art on the Riverwalk Tour

Culinary Tourism gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy a new place along with locally made food, wine, and beer. Enthusiasts might choose to attend a cooking class with a local chef, tour a craft brewery, or enjoy a wine tasting. Culinary tourism can be used by almost any community, from large cities with ethnic neighborhoods to small towns that have access to locally grown produce.

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