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Purdue Expert: Space, Sustainable Tourism Can Work and Grow Together
Indiana Ag Connection - 10/12/2021

As space enthusiasts line up to purchase suborbital and orbital flights, communities that want to be known as space tourism hubs have a great opportunity to plan for future developments on Earth.

Jonathon Day, an associate professor who specializes in sustainable tourism in Purdue University's White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences, says community leaders and business owners should look at what makes their communities special as they prepare for tourists.

"Space tourism is offering these communities and regions an opportunity for economic development," Day says. "We know these activities are going to increase the number of visitors to these destinations. Now would be a great time for the community leaders to take a deeper look at things they will need for the future."

Sustainable tourism has three main parts: what a destination is doing today and in the future, community engagement in planning for that future, and the need for recognizing the need for development and growth while also balancing the community's culture and environment.

"These parts all combined together give us a road map for how we can make sure that tourism actually creates benefit for the people in the community, as well as the guests who are coming," Day says.

As communities are continually changing, it will be important for destinations to support increased tourists with tourism infrastructure -- places to stay, dine or even gather to watch launches -- as well as having business owners identify the need for hiring more staff, increased hospitality training and customer service to provide those great experiences.

"Tourism is often about playing catch-up," Day says. "If a destination can get in front of that and get in front of potential challenges of increasing numbers, then it will be to the advantage of everyone and not lose the character and flavor of the location."

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