NERCRD expands its tourism and recreation economies portfolio

An exciting development in the NERCRD’s tourism and recreation economies work is the funding of two new projects, both led by West Virginia University, that will examine tourism and resiliency through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rural Community Well-Being: Using Tourism Indicators to Identify, Understand and Address COVID Pandemic Impacts and Strategies for Resiliency

NERCRD TAC Member and West Virginia University (WVU) Associate Professor and Rural Tourism Specialist Doug Arbogast will lead this four-year USDA NIFA-funded project, which was developed with support from NERCRD and will launch in 2022. With a working title of Tourism, Resiliency, and Indicators for Post-Pandemic Planning (TRIP), the goals of this integrated research-Extension include:

  • Identifying economic, social, and environmental indicators for sustainable tourism (across all U.S. counties and in three case-study communities);
  • Surveying residents and visitors in case-study destinations to identify social and environmental indicators;
  • Delivering Extension programming in targeted “gateway” communities using research-based insights generated by the project and the
  • First Impressions destination assessment tool; and,’
  • Assessing change over time and associated impacts, providing a mechanism to regularly update the data, monitor changes, and reflect on community goals.

In addition to Arbogast, other collaborators include: Daniel Eades and Jinyang Deng (WVU); Stephan J. Goetz, Jason Entsminger, Claudia Schmidt, and Harry Crissy (Penn State); Lisa Chase (University of Vermont); and Penelope Whitman (University of New Hampshire).

Learn more at the USDA NIFA project page:

Tourism Resilience and Community Sustainability: Adaptation and Recovery of Rural Businesses and Destinations

Also led by Doug Arbogast in collaboration with the National Extension Tourism Research Committee, this multi-state Hatch research project will examine resilience and recovery through the lens of rural tourism in the Northeast region. Planned objectives include conducting collaborative assessments of rural tourism at the multi-state level; investigating the resilience, adaptability, and recoverability of different components of the rural tourism system; and identifying strategies that tourism businesses and destinations are using to cope with the pandemic. In addition to Arbogast, other team members of this project include:

  • Jinyang Deng, West Virginia University
  • Daniel Eades, West Virginia University Cooperative Extension
  • Charlie French, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
  • Robert Robertson, University of New Hampshire
  • Penelope Whitman, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
  • Stephan J. Goetz, Penn State/NERCRD
  • Jason Entsminger, Penn State/NERCRD
  • Xinyi Qian, University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension
  • Matt Ulmer, University of Alabama Cooperative Extension
  • Miles Phillips, Oregon State University Cooperative Extension

Continue to full article