¶ … weather acts positively Geoturisim Grand Traverse Region. I point research. First Tourism is one of the most longstanding industries within civilized society. So long as people have the means to travel, they will always desire to access new places where they can experience different cultures, sights, foods, drinks, and ultimately, a variation on the concept of beauty. Partially because of the constant desire that people have to travel and tour various locales, it is necessary to shift this industry in a way so that it is actually beneficial to the area in which people travel to frequently. The concept of "sustainability" (National Geographic, 2012) certainly applies to tourism, as without dedicated efforts to maintain and preserve the sights that people desire to see, they will (at some point) no longer be able to see them. This notion of sustainability is an important part of the concept of geotourism, which is currently offered as a major at a pair of collegiate universities in the United States (Geiger, 2014) and helps to revolutionize the conventional notion of tourism by attempting to make it as beneficial for locals and for the areas being sought after as it is for the tourists. Geotourism is widely practiced within Michigan's Grand Traverse Region; a look at this practice and its implications for this particular local reveals the fact the weather unequivocally acts positively for geotourism in this particular region.
In order to better support the aforementioned thesis, it is first necessary to properly define the term geotourism to clarify how it is heavily reliant upon the weather in the Grand Traverse area. Geotourism is defined as "tourism that sustains or improves the geographical character of a place. The goal is to enhance traits such as environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and well being of residents" (Larcom, 2012). This definition is critical to understanding how geotourism can positively impact a particular location, since it involves cultural and socio-economic factors as well (Newsome and Dowling, 2011, p. 3). Typically, those within the tourism industry are primarily concerned with the monetary benefits that that this industry can produce. Although there is certainly a preoccupation with the aforementioned fiscal boons, geotourism extends this concept to other areas of a region related to its history and its interaction with the overall environment. As such, it provides a more comprehensive experience not only for those visiting the area but also for those who are living there.
It is of equal importance to establish the degree of vitality that geotourism brings to the Grand Traverse section of Michigan, which is predicated in no small part on the weather. Geotourism is "an industry that generates more than $1.23 billion in economic activity for the Traverse City area, according to a 2013 Economic Impact study commissioned by Traverse City Tourism" (Geiger, 2014). Such revenues stemming from geotourism is not a recent phenomenon; in the state of Michigan in 2006 there was $13.3 billion generated from tourism (Walsh, 2013). However, the focus of geotourism is different from that of conventional tourism in that the local enterprises -- rather than national powerhouses such as Sheraton or McDonald's -- are valued and ultimately benefit from the attention of the influx of tourists. From this perspective, it is significant that in 2013 hotels in the Traverse City region experienced a 24% increase in visitors and more airlines are adding seasonal flights from some of the major metropolises across the country (including New York and Atlanta) to accommodate tourists (Walsh, 2013). The fact that these flights are seasonal indicate the fact that geotourism is definitely related to weather concerns. Those seasonal flights take place in the summer and fall, before the cold winter, harsh rains and snows take place. This weather provides the ideal climate to travel in (especially for airline passengers), and makes it advantageous to experience the local environment and its wares.
When determining the ways in which geotourism benefits both the local economy and its community...
In fact, the creation of such industries is one of the defining points of the conception of geotourism as a whole. The subsequent quotation readily substantiates this fact.
"In geotourism, you also look at the jobs that are being created through innovation," says Victor-Burke, noting the wine/beer/spirits-based tourism and culinary/agritourism that is transforming the whole area. "Geotourism is entirely based on place-based tourism and we have a great place to market," says Don Coe,
Managing partner of Black Star Farms…" (Geiger, 2014).
As the preceding quotation implies, one of the specific areas ot thrive both economically and for the larger community of the Grand Traverse area is that which is related to food and beverage consumption. This sentiment particular applies to the flourishing wine industry, which has benefited substantially from the state and nationwide interest that geotourism has spawned. There are a plethora of statistics to support this assertion, such as the fact that 35 of the state's 100 wineries are in the area, Michigan is currently the fourth largest wine producing states, and 2 million people were projected to visit Michigan's wineries in 2013 (Walsh, 2013). Some of the specific wineries to benefit from this influx of visitors attributed to the practice of geotourism include Bry Estate Vineyard & Winery, and Black Star Farms and Winery in Sutton Bay.
Additionally, geotourism has spawned interest in both the real estate and restaurant industries within this area as well. In general, travelers are increasing their expectations for culinary designs during their visits to new places. Some of the restaurants to benefit from the influx of tourists who come to enjoy their cuisines include Cook's House, which is fairly exemplary in its commitment to benefiting both the economy and the community from its exposure due to geotourism since "chef Eric Patterson has a blackboard on the wall with the names of 50 local food supplier" (Walsh, 2013). Not a few of those names are related to the thriving cherry orchard industry that is native to Traverse City., which produces nearly three fourths of the tart cherries in the continental U.S. (Loeffler, 2012). Other eateries of interest to capitalize on the boons of geotourism include local treats such as Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream, Pleasanton Brick Oven Bakery, the Chocolate Den, The Tuscan Bistro and more. These establishments are able to reap the monetary benefits of geotourism as well as to help foster a sense of community among both tourists and local residents so that they continue to patronize these establishments as well as bring tourists to the area. Moreover, the food and sense of community also contributes to the attractive nature of summer and autumn homes nestled against the lakes in the area.
Once it has been suitably established that geotourism is beneficial to the community and economy of the Grand Traverse Region, it is necessary to examine the role that weather plays in facilitating this area as one of the ideal spots to visit within the U.S. The majority of the tourist trappings of the document so far have concentrated on indoors activities, which reveals only an implicit need for weather in the general conception of geotourism (since people are more prone to travel when the weather is nice and less prone to due so in circumstances in which there is unpredictable weather or storms). However, there are many facets of geotourism in the Grand Traverse Region in which weather plays a substantial part of the activity -- specifically those which involve the great outdoors. Quite simply, there are numerous outdoor activities that attract tourists to this region, the vast majority of which hinge upon ideal weather conditions. Although there are attractions to the Grand Traverse Region for virtually all of the seasons (including skiing and snow-like activities in the winter), the most salient of these, and those which coincide with the most opportune possibilities for tourists, are those which occur during late spring, summer, and the best parts of autumn in which sunshine is in abundance, and cold, rain, and other natural phenomenon are relatively obscure.
Another significant aspect of these activities that require positive weather conditions is the fact that they also help to reduce the proportion of wasting energy. Many outdoor activities fit this description, actually, and are useful for limiting the amount of energy that is wasted. In some of the locations and some of the attractions in the Grand Traverse area due to geotourism, however, energy is wonderfully conserved as people supplant artificial power with that of themselves. Probably the most eminent of these localities is known as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The following description alludes to the ways in which tourist activity at this location circumscribes the amount of energy and power required to essentially have a good time. At this park,
"…sand dunes tower up to 200 feet over Lake Michigan. The park offers swimming, hiking, boating and camping. A dunes climb…
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