|REPORT ON DFW AREA VISITOR ATTRACTIONS
Most cities want to increase visitors and they need to provide appropriate resources for their growing and diversifying populations. As the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex will be home to about 9 million people by 2027, these imperatives will become more crucial.
Compared with the largest cities and the most popular visitor destinations, Texas cities have a disadvantage in cultural (and natural) resources that requires them to do more with less. They also have a long-standing disadvantage in not effectively utilizing existing cultural resources and potential visitor attractions. The oversight is not only in obvious areas, like historic preservation and education, but also in not fully utilizing and engaging non-profit organizations and philanthropic entities.
Some Texas cities want to increase visitors with campaigns that may partially recognize their cultural resources (particularly using celebrities and slogans) in hopes to develop tourism interests, but without making serious efforts to shore up or improve attractions so that the advertised image and the visitor experience more closely match. The result is that travelers prefer to visit other nationally-prominent cities more than Texas cities. Due to lack of strategy in transforming cultural resources into visitor attractions, their rank in convention business is also disappointing and could be volatile as more cities compete for conventions and trade shows.
This report is for city leaders, planners and managers of unique districts, as well as philanthropic strategists, to consider the best prospects when they take up the topic of visitors and visitor attractions. As an overview, but not a detailed inventory of cultural resources, the report offers helpful ideas and recommendations. It will be useful to involve institutions, organizations and philanthropists.
With the inevitable course of DFW to be a supercity, the proposed goal for the region is not only be a model one, but to join the ranks of the national and international World Class Cities.
"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan." -Tom LandryThis report provides many recommendations about ways to improve cultural resources and visitor attractions in DFW.
While DFW may have substantially more cultural resources and visitor attractions than most other Texas cities, the region faces many problems. It is not cohesive, not strategic, not widely informed, not meeting the region's needs, and certainly not utilizing its full potential.
The report is not a full cultural resource inventory, though that is one of its recommendations. It provides a way to understand cultural resources and the benefits of transforming them into visitor attractions. Where city governments tend to think in silos, mostly out of obligation and necessity, and they may be mired in the reactionary demands of city government, this report promotes a plan to think about the greater DFW area more comprehensively and productively.
Read more summarized content below or continue to the Full Report.
Ranking Texas Cities
The report compares the size of Texas cities with the largest cities in the nation and the way Texas cities rank by numbers of visitors and tourism interests. To help readers understand the relevance of the rankings, it lists many of the largest categories of visitor attractions and tourism-based industries by most numbers of visitors, as well as common levels of visitors. The report may help DFW area cities make more effective plans to improve visitor attractions and increase visitors in the future.
The DFW area is not only Dallas and Fort Worth, along with many inconsequential suburbs. Communities north of Dallas make up a complex larger than Dallas and its 1.3 million people. The cities between Dallas and Fort Worth make up a complex nearly as large as Dallas. North of Fort Worth is a complex about as large as Fort Worth and its .8 million people. Roughly the equivalent of three Top 10 cities and two Top 20 cities exist in the DFW area. But its visitor attractions and services are mostly rooted in thinking just about Dallas and Fort Worth as two separate, but close-by places.
Top Visitor Attractions and Industries
The report explores the top attractions and visitor industries in many major U.S. cities. The following list of the most utilized visitor attractions in many U.S. cities provides a guide for future considerations in the DFW area as it strives to provide for a wider array of potential visitor interests.
Learn more about Visitor Attractions
Like natural resources in the natural environment, cultural resources are the many resources in the human environment, including human relationship with nature. For the purpose of the report, the ones of interest are the resources that produce interests and activities, which is nearly all of them. A fuller understanding of cultural resources will help produce services and attractions that better match visitor interests and build greater enthusiasm for the region's attractions.
The most effective strategy to increase visitors is to effectively utilize the cultural resources of a city or region. Not only to utilize them effectively, but to involve the largest possible segment of the population in developing attractions in order to gain and distribute the benefits. Without the benefits of enjoying events, presenting traditions, experiencing nature, appreciating talented artists, learning new things, knowing history, tasting unique foods, selling interesting products, joining with fans, etc., the city lacks the necessary base of commitment from local populations and has little hope of elevating its attractions.
The following is a list of many reasons people choose to travel, with several highlighted for their possibilities - even tremendous potential - to build on with widespread goals to serve visitors, improve communities, promote education, achieve greater tranquility and overall raise quality of life for the region.
Green = Great Potential Blue = Good Potential White = Neutral Yellow = Caution
Learn more about Visitor Interests
The way the DFW area is arranged, with dozens of small cities and towns sprawling throughout the region, it has the needs of four or five major cities that are unnaturally bound together, but it generally serves two of them. More than a puzzle about how to become a highly reputable World Class City, DFW's could be viewed as a challenge to be an ideal supercity. The following are recommendations described in the report.
Several of the above goals may be met by the establishment and steering leadership of a strategic foundation, tentatively described as Funding Advisory Network of Dallas-Fort Worth (FAN of DFW).
Learn more about the Recommendations
About the Author
The report was written by Mark Lacy for Imagine a Museum.
Lacy lived in Dallas during several of his grade school years - even throwing the Dallas Morning News - before attending college in Houston. After a career working in universities and non-profit organizations, he returned to the DFW area in 2015 to work on an expansive archive of documents and start a publishing company. He was surprised to see how far DFW had come, in many way surpassing Houston. But he recognized it was still far behind other U.S. cities, not only the larger ones, but many of the smaller ones, as well.
Lacy spent many years traveling, creating cultural resource inventories (for education, dissaster recovery, non-profit funding, etc.) and surveying major national attractions. He knows what makes cities great and he continues to study the phenomena. In 2016, Lacy visited Chicago, Memphis, Hot Springs, New Orleans, Miami, Miami Beach, Key West, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Eureka, Seattle, Portland, Port Townsend, Ellensburg, Coeur d' Alene, Cody, Las Vegas, Denver, Boulder, Durango, Moab, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, El Paso, and many others, just because they are interesting places. Learn More
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Continue to the Full Report
Feature: The BIG 5 for BIG D
Five big initiatives for BIG D, or Five big challenges for BIG D
There are many dynamic topics to be consideration and discussed in the future, including:
The case of VIA: Could public rideshare supplant short-run buses in Metroplex communities?
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