Small towns are full of character and characters, and that’s what makes travel across this country so great. Meeting interesting people, trying new restaurants, exploring the unknown and learning a little about an area are the reasons I enjoy being a tourist.
However, when you meet a tourist in your own town, are you excited to tell them about your community, or do you struggle to find something nice to say?
You can be an advocate for your town, and if you are, the economic impact is beneficial to all.
So, how can you be an advocate of your town? First, you need to become a tourist, and here are a few ways to make that happen:
1. Visit the local museum or historical sites. Most towns have a museum or two, and some have historical landmarks. You may be amazed at what you learn. For instance, the first time I visit my town’s museum I learned that the region used to be covered in cherry orchards. This was news to me, and explained why the community celebrates a Cherry Pie Festival every summer.
2. Try a new restaurant. We all have our favorite hometown eatery and often we fear branching out and trying something new. But if you don’t stretch your taste buds a little, you won’t know everything your town has to offer. The new bistro down the street may have the best eggs benedict in the world, but if you don’t try it out, you’ll never know.
3. Visit your town’s parks. Driving by a park every day is a very different experience than stopping and sitting down on a bench for a little while. This summer, make a point to go on picnics in your town’s parks. We lived in our community for several years before discovering a renowned sculpture park, and now we always take visitors there to share this amazing place with them.
4. Visit your Visitor Center. Sound strange? It is very possible there are interesting things about your community you haven’t yet discovered. It’s also helpful to know how your town is being branded, and this all happens at the Visitor Center.
5. Attend a festival or event. A local celebration is the perfect way take to the pulse of a community. Every town is different and often a festival is where you can identify the uniqueness.
Once you start looking at your town through new eyes, you’ll recognize that you live in a delightfully interesting place, thereby enabling you to become an advocate for your town. When citizens feel proud of their community it leaks into their speech and actions, and speaking with optimism about your town does have a positive impact on your town’s economy.
“The word on the street” has more sway than ever before because the Internet and social media have made “the street” a lot bigger. How you feel about your community does matter and people are listening.
Become an advocate for your town today, and become part of a thriving community.
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