Northern New England and the Perceived Importance of Tourism

Authors: Jochen Wirsing*,
Topics: Economic Geography, Sustainability Science, Tourism Geography
Keywords: Rural Geography, Rural Development, Tourism, Rural Economy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Southdown, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study focuses on four counties in rural northern New England – Essex (VT), Oxford (ME), Coös, and Grafton (both NH) – an area that used to be heavily influenced by forestry and paper mills and experienced a tremendous decline in those industries over the last years and decades. Social and economic shifts are therefore ensuing and in the process. Tourism has been shown to be a potential motor of regional economies in remote, rural environments. We use survey data collected in July 2017 to examine opinions and beliefs that impact the perceived importance, and support (or lack thereof) of developing tourism in the area. The four counties vary structurally and in their historical economic backgrounds, so different scenarios and environments could be taken into account. We find a divide between traditional and progressive positions, as well as a strong impact of educational attainment. Furthermore, we see Coös County being the most supportive of the development of tourism, despite great within-county variation.

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