Commerce + Interpretation: A Shared-Use Study from the National Trust

At the recent AASLH Annual Conference in Louisville, a panel discussed the opportunities and challenges of including for-profit operations at historic sites. While public-private partnerships have been successful at numerous locations around the country, the National Trust is providing a transparent look into the process for managing a historic site  with a section operated by a commercial partner. Cooper-Molera in Monterey, which includes nine roofed structures, will dedicate the original adobe buildings as interpreted spaces while a developer (Foothill Partners) uses a socially responsible business plan to operate the other buildings as commercial retail and restaurant. Key lessons learned from this collaboration: community engagement and involvement in the discussion for final use is essential; sorting out the legal structure and terms of agreement is also imperative. This $6.5 ... [Read More]

Marketing vs. Management

As destinations mature, the challenge for many convention & visitors bureaus - also known as destination marketing organizations (DMOs) - becomes less about messaging and more about tourism management. Are the scenic vistas, pristine beaches, lush landscapes and quaint Main Streets appearing in ads and promotional brochures really what visitors experience when they arrive at their destination? Or instead are visitors exposed to litter, traffic and long lines at various attractions?  Sustainable tourism management relies on destinations understanding their carrying capacity (how many people can engage in a given activity without compromising the resource or the experience) and establishing controls to help manage the flow of participants. DMOs often describe this as "delivering on the brand promise" - where reality exceeds perception. However, the delivery of experience extends ... [Read More]