Dan Shilling, past director of the Arizona Humanities Council, has recently released the book, Civic Tourism: The Poetry and Politics of Place, the result of a three-year project at Sharlot Hall Museum. Many readers may have attended the March 2006 national conference in Prescott, which was hailed by some as a “landmark” meeting. Another conference will be held this October.
Civic tourism is an extension of heritage tourism, ecotourism, geotourism, and other “place-based” models. The mission is to “reframe” tourism’s purpose, from an end to a means – from a growth goal to a tool that helps citizens preserve and enhance what they love about their place. Shilling suggests three strategies: (1) “Reframe Economics” encourages communities to connect tourism planning to contemporary restorative economic policies; (2) “Connect to the Public” suggests engagement practices that foster support for a responsible tourism ethic; and (3) “Invest in the Story” urges a robust financial and conceptual investment to place-making.
David Weaver, professor of tourism at the University of South Carolina, and author of Sustainable Tourism: Practice and Procedures, writes, “In his groundbreaking book on civic tourism, Dan Shilling invites your community to engage in a conversation about tourism and place that it cannot afford not to have.” The book, which is 128 pages, includes dozens of “conversation starters” and more than 80 best practices and suggestions. It is available from http://www.civictourism.org/, and costs only $12.
The 2008 civic tourism conference will be held October 15-18, 2008, in the Blackstone Valley of Rhode Island, one hour south of Boston and one hour north of Newport, RI. The conversation has gone national now, even international, and the next meeting will feature more people who practice responsible, place-based tourism. For further information visit http://www.civictourism.org/, or call Dan at 602-300-6694.