Welcome to our monthly blog - Moments of Clarity ! Here, we will share examples of data and insights to spark ideas on how to leverage your place-based assets. The results will benefit your residents, businesses, and visitors.

Moments of Clarity will also share examples of how we—or our trusted colleagues—have acted on that interesting “place-based” data. We'll give you more ways to tap what’s special about your community, news of how others are working to solve common issues or problems, and more. We hope these resources provide inspiration, clarity, and confidence as you work to enrich your destinations and communities.


Tools and Techniques

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. We've teamed up with FirmoGraphs, a business intelligence and data science firm, to tap into the power of GIS mapping to understand and analyze all types of location-based data. Maps can help explain the relationships between destination and community assets and infrastructure. They can also show where and how infrastructure (or lack thereof) affects competitiveness. 

Seattle Southside1

We use GIS mapping to "jump-start" destination assessments. It allows us to create a visual inventory of destination product and identify areas of synergy between the tourism industry and broader local and regional economic development goals.

The map above is an excerpt of work we're doing to support Explore Seattle Southside. Drawing comparisons and insights from visualization using the maps is much more revealing than looking at raw data.

Industry Insights

Through our data-driven approach, we monitor policies or investments in place-based assets and share insights with you. That way, you know what Federal or State-level initiatives may be available to help strengthen your destination's competitiveness. This "listening" also allows us to track what product investments are being made. Here are two examples of recent drivers we have been following: 

Travel and Tourism Gains Federal Voice

Why It Matters: In a huge win for the tourism industry, the United States will finally have an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism in the Department of Commerce. This first-ever position gives the travel and tourism industry a high-level policy voice at the Federal level.

Summary: The Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act was included in the overall Omnibus 2023 US Government Spending Bill, which was signed into law on Dec. 29, 2022. The Act will assist the United States tourism industry by creating a Assistant Secretary of Commerce of Travel and Tourism position to coordinate tourism strategy across the federal government. The bill will also

  • Authorize the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to accumulate data on domestic travel and tourism,
  • Require the development of a national travel and tourism plan every 10 years, and
  • Report on the outcomes of the pandemic recovery programs for the travel and tourism industry. 

Learn More 

New Tax Deductions Could Increase Business Travel 

Why It Matters: If passed, the Act would encourage business travel spending by extending the 100% deduction for business meals and reinstating the 50% Entertainment Business Expense Deduction.

Summary: The Service Worker Economic Stabilization Act was introduced before the House of Representatives on Oct. 25, 2022. The law would help revitalize the tourism and hospitality industries, which were severely impacted by state-mandated closures and continue to face the negative effects of inflation and high costs. The Act would reinstate the 50% Entertainment Business Expense Deduction. It would also extend the 100% deduction for business meals (which was set to be reduced back to 50% at the end of 2022) through the end of 2024.

Learn More 


What We're Reading

Our team has handpicked these articles as ones that interested us and may be of help to you,

Future of Tourism Podcast: New Model to Assess Destination Capacity, Compression and Comfort
(Video / Audio
We're excited to share this interview about our new CAPCOM tool featuring Eliza Voss of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. She joins David Holder to discuss how Aspen is using the tool to make decisions based on data, not emotion, and keep businesses performing well while respecting residents' input on visitation levels.

A National Tantrum at a National Park
Both smiles and strife are on display at national parks in the West, and one nonprofit is modeling ways to be Outside Kind.

Taking Back the Mountains
Ski resorts are opting out of multi-mountain passes and focusing on sustainability, nonprofits are welcoming diverse skiers, and rural residents are fostering community skiing.

This Olympic Sport Has Come to JFK—and You Can Try It on Your Next Layover
See how an airport is following one of our top ’23 trends, focusing on transforming the visitor experience and offering curling.


Meetings and Conferences

Check out these meetings and events that can help you better support your destination and its economic development.

Meetings in the First Half of 2023