Title of Paper

Residents’ Perceptions of Tourism Development in Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

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Abstract

The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) is made up of 18 counties which are located in the central Appalachia, a region rich in natural, historic and heritage resources with great potentials for tourism development. In order to know more about tourism development in the area, a study to understand AFHA community residents’ perceptions of tourism opportunities, issues, and potentials was conducted with funding from West Virginia University Extension Service. Results indicated that participants considered people, natural resources, and historical/heritage resources as the most valued assets that their communities can use for tourism development. They were also very positive about the environmental, social, economic, impacts of tourism on their communities. The study recommended that top priorities should be placed on strengthening community leadership; increasing financial investment; and promoting marketing for tourism development in the AFHA communities.

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Residents’ Perceptions of Tourism Development in Appalachian Forest Heritage Area

The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA) is made up of 18 counties which are located in the central Appalachia, a region rich in natural, historic and heritage resources with great potentials for tourism development. In order to know more about tourism development in the area, a study to understand AFHA community residents’ perceptions of tourism opportunities, issues, and potentials was conducted with funding from West Virginia University Extension Service. Results indicated that participants considered people, natural resources, and historical/heritage resources as the most valued assets that their communities can use for tourism development. They were also very positive about the environmental, social, economic, impacts of tourism on their communities. The study recommended that top priorities should be placed on strengthening community leadership; increasing financial investment; and promoting marketing for tourism development in the AFHA communities.