This guide was developed by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, and Texas Department of Economic Development, Tourism Division.  

Preparation of this guide involved a number of people who deserve special note.  From Texas A&M University, Clare Gunn, Carson Watt and Sarah Richardson were the major writing contributors.  Bruce Wicks coordinated editing.  Over the years, Susanna Coppernoll, Rebecca Childress, LeAnne Alsup, Daniel Cox, Cheryl Gaudiano, Donnell Ocker, Julia Hamilton, and Jennifer Dittrich were responsible for producing the drafts and final visual product.  The 1999 edition was reviewed and edited by LeAnne Alsup Romo, Carson Watt, and Tazim Jamal of the Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University.  Janice Langlinais of the Texas Department of Economic Development, Tourism Division also reviewed and edited the document.

  Despite the many reviews solicited from practitioners, the authors realize the document will be in a constant state of revision.  Our desire is that it be a practical document and a hands-on tool for local tourism leaders.  We sincerely encourage candid feedback and we solicit examples that illustrate the “how to's” of community tourism development.


Texas Agricultural Extension Service
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas 77843-2261

Texas Department of Economic Development
Tourism Division
P. O. 
Box 12728
Austin, Texas 78711-2728

The Texas Department of Economic Development is an equal opportunity employer program.

Auxiliary aids and services will be made available upon request to individuals with abilities.



The Promise of Tourism

Tourism, one of Texas' largest industries, promises to breathe new economic life into many Texas communities.  As changing economic conditions have raised concerns in traditional agricultural and petroleum industries, state, and local leaders as a vehicle for economic change have targeted tourism.  Citizens of many Texas communities, rural and urban alike are considering tourism as a way to revitalize, stabilize, and diversify their economies.  They recognize that successful tourism development in other communities has generated new income, jobs, and tax revenues. 

Tourists' expenditures filter through communities to create a chain of economic and social action.  Some tourism jobs are filled by youth and other traditionally disadvantaged labor markets.  Tax revenues generated by tourists' expenditures can contribute to supporting public facilities and services that a community might not otherwise afford.  Playing host to "guests" often fosters a sense of community identity and pride.

This publication has been prepared to help you consider and initiate tourism development within your community.  Five purposes were kept in mind:

Section I          To introduce tourism as an emerging industry in the United States and as a strategy for economic development in Texas.

Section I presents some basic facts about tourism in Texas and provides important tourism definitions.

Section I I        To help you understand how tourism functions as a system of interconnected parts ¾ attractions, services, transportation, communication, and markets.

These parts together create tourism "products," (i.e. mixtures of experiences and benefits) that tourists receive.  Section II will help you to understand the tourism system and the ways those community tourism products can be developed and marketed to select tourist markets.

                 Section I I I     To assist you in evaluating tourism as an economic development alternative that addresses community needs.

The benefits that tourism delivers should be compared with your community's specific needs to determine if it is an appropriate economic development alternative.  Section III of this publication will help you evaluate the potential benefits and costs of tourism development in your town.

Section IV       To present a planning process for tourism development that will help you establish tourism goals, assess, and build upon your community's special characteristics to achieve these goals.

While every community has its own unique attributes, general guidelines for tourism planning are applicable to all.  Section IV of this publication outlines the steps of the tourism planning process.  Worksheets are provided to help you apply the process to your community’s location, leadership, financial capabilities, and markets.

Section V        To assist you in identifying important tourism networks that can complement your efforts.

Networking involves linking with other agencies and organizations to maximize efforts, share ideas and approaches, and learn from the experience and perspective of others.  Networking is vital to effective community, regional, and statewide development.  Individuals and organizations that represent each of these areas should be part of your tourism network.  The companion publication Sources of Assistance for Tourism in Texas identifies organizations that will help to meet your ongoing tourism information needs.


Who Is This Publication For?

This publication has been prepared for business and community leaders within governmental, commercial, and non-profit organizations.  These leaders include:

• councils of government, elected officials, and public administrators

• chambers of commerce, and convention and visitors bureaus

• tourism-related business owners and managers

• concerned citizens

   local and regional planners, and economic development officials

While many of the concepts, issues, and processes described within this manual will help individual organizations and businesses to more effectively respond to tourism, this publication has been prepared with a community approach in mind.  That is, it focuses on the cooperation between public, commercial, and non-profit interests to achieve tourism benefits for an entire community¾rather than just a single organization or enterprise.  Processes and methods for gathering resident support and involvement are included as a key aspect for ensuring that tourism development contributes to the well being of those who host the visitors in their town and regions.  Special emphasis has been placed on assisting smaller Texas communities.  However, the concepts, issues, and processes presented here are relevant to communities of any size or location.  The focus of this publication is on the development of pleasure travel in your community, although the same process is appropriate for business travel markets.

Table Of Contents


        I      INTRODUCTION
Tourism:  An Emerging Industry

What Drives This Expanding Industry?

Foundations Of Tourism In Texas

Defining Tourism And Tourism

                        Foundations Of Community Tourism

What Can Tourism Do For Your Community?

Balancing Benefits and Costs: Sustainable Tourism

                        The Market-Destination Principle

                        Understanding And Identifying Target Markets

                                Market Segmentation

                                Motivations For Pleasure Travel

                        Components Of Successful Leisure Destinations




                                Two Kinds Of Destinations

                        The Tourism System



                                Who Is Responsible For The Tourism System?

                        Conditions For Effective Tourism Development

                                Identification Of Market Niche

                                Regional Cooperation

                                Community Support

                                Financial Support


                                Tourism Networking


                        Assessing Community Needs

                                Benefits Of Tourism

                        Considering The Trade-Off Of Benefits And Costs

                                Costs Of Tourism

                        Assessing Community Interest In Tourism


                        Organizing and Leadership For Community Tourism

                                What Is A Tourism Task Force?

                                What Are The Advantages Of A Tourism

                                        Task Force?

                                Who Should Serve On The Tourism Task Force?

                                What Does A Tourism Task Force Do?

                                What Is Involved In Tourism Planning And


                        The Tourism Planning Process

                        Step 1:  Community Analysis

                                What Are Tourism Strengths?

                                What Are Tourism Concerns?

                                Assess Community Attitudes And Values

                                Assess Attractions

                                Assess Commercial Services

                                Assess Public Facilities And Services

                                Assess Transportation

                                Assess Communication Strategy

                                Assess Government Regulations And Policies

                                Assess Local And Demographic Climate

                        Step 2:  Market Analysis

                                Local Markets And Tourist Market

                                Identifying Target Markets

                                Ranking Market Segments

                        Step 3:  Create A Vision Statement And Set

                                Tourism  Goals and Strategies

                                Existing Markets:  Short-Term Opportunities

                                        For Tourism.

                                Potential Markets:  Long-Term Opportunities

                                        For Tourism

                                Tourism Objectives

                        Step 4:  Establish Action Steps

                                Who Takes Action?

                                Publicize Opportunities Locally

                        Step 5:  Evaluate Progress



                        Fallacies And Half-Truths

                                Tourism Does Not Use Natural Resources (Half-Truth)

                                Tourism Is Easy To Develop (Fallacy)

                                Tourism Development Is Exclusively

                                        Government’s Role (Fallacy)

                                Tourism Has Nothing To Do With Other

                                        Economic Developments (Fallacy)

                                Tourism Is Unstable (Fallacy)

                                Tourism Is Always Beneficial (Half-Truth)

                         A Final Word


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