Tourists are getting older and resorts and towns that cater to them must grow as well or risk losing the tourism sweepstakes, says a Park City, Utah, city planner.
Miles Rademan, who also is president of Rademan and Associates consultants in Park City, spoke Friday at the three-day Governor's Conference on Tourism in Coeur d'Alene.He said that 10 years ago, the 18- to 34-year-old segment was the fastest-growing population group. But that distinction now belongs to a 35- to 50-year-old age group that is wealthier, travels more and demands more luxury.
So fierce is the competition among resorts and resort communities for vacationers that amenities must constantly be upgraded and services improved, Rademan said.
"If you are resting on your laurels, your laurels are in the wrong place," he said.
As a rule, 10 percent of yearly gross sales should be spent upgrading facilities, Rademan said, and the burden should not be borne solely by resort operators.
In Utah, the resort industry persuaded lawmakers to approve an incentive plan in which the state kicks in $1 for every $3 invested by ski resorts. He said city planners and officials also must recognize what additional tourists mean and anticipate the extra burden on services.
While operators and communities relying on tourism must constantly evaluate their clientele now, they also must look to the future. Rademan said he expects areas with pristine, nearly untouched environments to be the biggest draws in the 21st century.