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RESOURCES: PAPERS & PRESENTATIONS
|Author :||Paige P. Schneider, Cynthia S. Deale & Svitlana Iarmolenko|
|School/Work Place :||East Carolina University, USA (Paig Schneider, Cynthia Deale), Pennsylvania State University, USA (Svitlana Iarmolenko)|
Sustaining rural America is one of today's pressing issues. With the decline of family operated farms and the move away from traditional extraction industries, word about the benefits of developing tourism in rural communities and regions is quickly spreading. This increased interest in tourism as a way to diversify the rural economy has also led to widespread interest in and need by local community leaders and governments for information about how to organize resources and systematically implement strategies for tourism development.
The current economic challenges require leaders in rural communities to seek innovative approaches to retain and create jobs. Sustainable tourism and ecotourism have been seen as viable options to diversify rural economies. The development of sustainable tourism requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership, to ensure wide participation and consensus building. This case study describes a project to engage communities, specifically community leaders who were members of the Roanoke River Mayors Association (RRMA) in the Roanoke River Valley Region (RRVR) in rural eastern North Carolina in the southeastern United States (U.S.), in their efforts to develop, establish, and implement strategies to create new forms of economic growth through tourism in the region as a whole and in their own communities.