This month in Moments of Clarity, learn how our data storytelling can help you visualize your destination's competitiveness. Discover how two states are hoping to support small communities and enhance destination assets. See what we're reading and what meetings and conferences you should attend.

Moments of Clarity is proud to bring you data and insights to help you leverage your place-based assets. Your residents, businesses, and visitors will benefit.


Tools and Techniques

Cute girl with colorful glowing photo memories conceptWe've teamed up with FirmoGraphs, a business intelligence and data science firm, to help you understand how competitive your destination is.

By tapping the power of Qlik Sense, a data analytics platform, we can aggregate multiple data sets that: 

  • Tell us about your destination and its assets (and your competitors’) and
  • Test how those assets affect each destination's competitiveness. 

With Qlik's data visualizations, we can show you information in an easy-to-understand way. We can compare destinations and their visitor products, give you our recommendations, and answer your questions using Qlik’s data storytelling.

For example, the dataset snippet below shows the number of attractions and hospitality infrastructure elements (e.g., amusement parks, museums, campgrounds, etc.) near all the airports in the United States. Using data visualization such as this helps us understand where airport assets are located, their size and capacity, and any planned capital improvements.

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FirmoGraphs is collecting place-based data from over 60 national datasets to give you access to a wealth of information from Federal agencies, state agencies, and associations and nonprofits. 

Using FirmoGraphs’ extensive database, we layer on data related to your destination’s product and visitor infrastructure to show the totality of your destination’s product. We also identify areas where the visitor economy aligns with broader local and regional economic development goals. Using this data, you can make informed decisions about your next steps.




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: 

Boardwalk trail along the pond at Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.WV May Create Loan Program to Encourage Trails on Army Corps of Engineering Land

Why It Matters: The bill would encourage development or expansion of tourism projects such as trails on U.S. Army Corps of Engineering land, where tourism projects are difficult to fund. Your state could pursue this approach.

Summary: Many West Virginia State Parks, trail systems, and resorts are constructed on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. Because the properties on the land have no collateral for loans, expanding tourism and development projects in these areas is unattractive and financially difficult. Through House Bill 3370, the state will guarantee a loan of up to $5 million from the West Virginia Department of Economic Development to further develop properties to encourage economic development and tourism. 

Only entities that have an existing private or public partnership with the state on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, on West Virginia State Parks and Resorts, and on hybrid tourism properties (such as trails) can use the loans. The state will co-sign on loans between public and private partnerships and will only pay if a party defaults.

Learn More 

Think Big Shop Small sign in a conceptual image

Maine May Establish a Small Communities Tourism Fund

Why It Matters: The bill would establish a fund for small communities to promote tourism and events and could be a nationwide model.

Summary: In Maine, legislators are considering a bill to create the Small Communities Tourism Fund, which would be used to promote tourism and support events in small communities. Funds would come from appropriations, allocations, and contributions from private and public sources. The state’s Office of Tourism would establish rules for how funds could be used.

Learn More 



What We're Reading

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

Meetings and Conferences

Check out these meetings and events that can help you better support your destination and its economic development. The Clarity of Place team is planning to attend the meetings marked with an asterisk. 

Meetings in the First Half of 2023