MTU SBE Ecotourism MSU

the Western Upper Peninsula is filled
with breathtaking natural beauty it may have some of the best eco tourist
attractions in the nation our project will consist of identifying business
opportunities and strategies to create revenue in the Western U.P. this
project was in conjunction with Michigan Tech’s business development experience
class it was a student-led faculty guided project funded by the University
Center of regional economic innovation at Michigan State University ecotourism
as defined by the International ecotourism Society includes activities
that promote responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the
environment sustains the well-being of local people and involves interpretation
and education the objective of the business development experience team was
to develop high-level recommendations that will help to improve ecotourism in
the Western Upper Peninsula a research process consisted of analyzing the
project contents of the previous group conducting our new high-level
recommendations evaluating strategies and business opportunities that are
available identifying possible technological innovations and financial
aspects and finally figuring out the possible regional economic impact of
ecotourism there were five main categories
identified for ecotourism in the Western U.P. the five categories include
lighthouses trails national and state parks water and waterfalls and ski hills
the goal is to develop recommendations meant to impact more than one area of
ecotourism and develop sustainable revenues through identifying
opportunities with new or expanded features and services after reviewing
the ecotourism categories that are available in the Western U.P. we have
developed high-level recommendations that will impact multiple areas of eco-tourism for each recommendation these recommendations include improved rental
and purchasing of equipment fee based tours improved advertisement of the U.P.
Travel mobile app and strategic collaboration fee based tours will allow
tourists have guided excursions of eco- tourist attractions there will be
package deals of attractions across the U.P. that encourage tourists to visit
more than one attraction these packages would include attractions such as ski
hills and trails businesses will have the opportunity to sponsor these tours
other business opportunities include tours that will incorporate the
historical aspect of the Western U.P. and kid friendly tours to attract families
technological innovation an interactive mapping system would allow tourists to
have a better user experience during their tour for the financial aspects of
the fee based tours state and local grant funding would help the fee based
tours get started once started revenue would come from the tour’s themselves rental equipment as for a rental
equipment strategy local businesses and tourist locations with foreign business
plans designated at transporting equipment to customers the
implementation of a website would help allow customers to either rent or
purchase equipment ahead of time so that the local business can have the
equipment ready at the desired location by making the business transportable
there are many opportunities for marketing within the area and even
promotion opportunities when it comes to implementing new sport products and
sponsored races a possible technological innovation would be the development of a
website this website would make it easier for customers to rent or buy
equipment ahead of time and it will also allow them to leave reviews on the
equipment that they have used a business will then be able to place descriptions
of each different piece of equipment starting how it was used and a what
attraction sites as for financial aspects predicted income would come from
the revenue of selling and renting equipment revenue can also be generated
by sponsoring races or other events that incorporate the use of equipment there
would be minimal costs when it comes to implementing a website but one of the
larger expenses will deal with transporting of the equipment from the
primary store to the different attractions the Upper Peninsula travel
and Recreation Association has developed a mobile app U.P. travel this app
reflects all the recreational activities and attractions that the Upper Peninsula
has to offer the mobile app gives information about each category of
eco-tourism yet it is significantly underutilized the recommendation for
U.P.T.R.A. is to enhance their advertisement of their mobile app U.P. travel with
improved awareness about the app it will provide information to tourists to plan and
better prepare for a more fulfilling trip to the Upper Peninsula based on
their end destination to further improve the mobile apps benefit it can be
integrated with existing technology such as other travel mobile apps for instance
a tourist with a travel itinerary plan for exploring the Upper Peninsula could
book hotels for the duration of their trip
if U.P.T.R.A. could collaborate with hotel apps such as Expedia the U.P. Travel
mobile app will be able to enhance a tourist trip even more this will enhance
convenience efficiency and more time to explore for tourists improving the
awareness and advertisement of the U.P. Travel mobile app will be fairly
inexpensive hosting flyers in restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and
attractions such as ski hills will also be economical strategic collaboration to
make this collaboration successful there needs to be cooperation among eco-tourism organizations across the Western Upper Peninsula this includes Michigan
welcome centers, MDOT facilities, and other tourist agencies such as the Keweenaw convention Visitors Bureau and the Upper Peninsula Travel and
Recreation Association the optimal way to boost this collaboration between the
eco tourism attraction, activities, and tourism organizations is to develop a
system that enables these aspects to be highlighted this system should be easily
accessible to tourists when they visit Tourism Organization and Welcome Center
we recommend developing digitized Michigan Department of Transportation
welcome centers this system could be an interactive kiosks that could be put in
MDOT welcome centers these interactive kiosks will support tourism
organizations to work with one another to crowdsource a variety of information
regarding eco-tourism attractions and activities strategic collaboration is
all about the cooperation between eco tourism organizations across the Western
Upper Peninsula to collectively share information regarding the ecotourism
industry of the U P ensuring that these centers and agencies are working
together to promote all aspects of eco- tourism is essential in order for the
eco-tourism to be a revenue generator for local businesses the technological innovations for
strategic collaboration focuses on developing an improved way to
crowdsource information to tourists and eco-tourism organizations this
collaboration of information must be done in an interactive way in order to
spark people’s interest in exploring the U.P. this will allow for a wide variety
of shared information to be displayed including attractions, events, business
products, and services such as rentals tours and transportation the initial
purchase of the kiosks will be the most expensive part of the recommendation
after extensive research prices varied between a thousand and three thousand
dollars depending on the size of the screen as for funding these kiosks can
potentially be funded by grants since these kiosks may be placed in MDOT
facilities as possible they would be willing to help fund the cost of them
although the kiosks may only seem like a way of crowdsourcing information it
could potentially generate revenue local businesses can develop advertisements to
promote themselves and attract tourists to their businesses discounts given on
transactions made through the kiosks may also be an incentive to increase salary
and income economic impact the economic impact of following these
recommendations will have both costs and benefits one benefit would be the
development of job opportunities across the region with improvements to current
infrastructure such as buildings and Visitor Center the education of tourists
will impact environmental conservation efforts and sustaining the natural
resources of the U.P. investments in the eco-tourism industry should sustain the
well-being of local businesses through increased revenue resulting from higher
traffic and repeat visitors each of these high-level recommendations can
offer potential business opportunities that can provide sustainable revenue for
ecotourism businesses in the Western U.P. this ranges from renting and
selling equipment to income up guided tours to sponsored business advertising
in conclusion we believe the Western Upper Peninsula has the natural
resources available for creating a strong business model there are business
opportunities and potential revenue sources highlighted by our high-level
recommendations our next step would be to approach local businesses to open a
dialogue about the potential feasibility of our recommendations

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