Way DownEast Community Destination Academy
March, April, May 2022
The communities of Machias, Lubec, Eastport, and Calais (self-named the Way DownEast area), were provided a unique opportunity to work together with the Maine Office of Tourism and Northern Forest Center on a Community Destination Academy.
The Community Destination Academy (CDA) program brings together a team of business, non-profit, and municipal leaders to build a common set of skills and knowledge that enables collaborative destination development project implementation and marketing.
The Way DownEast Community Destination Academy included 3 professionally led workshops and training sessions designed to prepare Way DownEast communities to collaboratively implement tourism-based destination development and management projects. The CDA includes technical and financial assistance to help communities quickly implement a short-term, highly visible destination development project in their community.
What is Destination Development?
Destination Development is a long-term community planning process undertaken by a group of dedicated leaders & doers – municipal, business, non-profit and residents – to pursue and implement a common vision and strategic plan to increase, decrease, or otherwise manage tourism.
The goal of Destination Development is to create a sustainable community that is economically, environmentally, culturally and socially pleasing to residents and existing businesses, and that attracts new visitors, residents and businesses.
What is a Destination?
A Destination is a “place worthy of travel for an extended visit that has a critical mass of attractions, lodging, dining and services for visitors to stay comfortably enjoying an array of choices to satisfy them for an extended period of time.
Attractions are the magnet that pull people to visit any destination. Destination systems are composed of: Transportation, attractions, meals and lodging, retail opportunities, information, promotion, services, and amenities.
The Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) promotes Maine as a tourism destination and works to support and expand the state’s tourism industry through marketing and PR campaigns, industry outreach, Destination Development, regional and organizational grants, and other programs that highlight the core natural and cultural assets of Maine.
The Northern Forest Center is a leader in Destination Development in the Northern Forest, a vast expanse of forest spanning northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The Northern Forest Center is dedicated to strengthening rural communities and advancing the rural economy. Destination Development is just one aspect of their work.