Navigating the Visitor Economy, with Josiah Brown

Episode 328

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Josiah Brown’s mission in life is to “Inspire people forward.” After traveling 750,000+ miles promoting New York State as a travel destination and the industry that supports it, the New York Sherpa has a few stories to tell…

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Josiah Brown about the trends and challenges facing the tourism industry in a post-COVID visitor economy. Josiah shares his philosophy on effective destination marketing, building quality of place, and the importance of the visitor economy in economic development. We also highlight the importance of metrics, staying relevant in the digital space, and tourism’s value as a catalyst for economic growth.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • Why rural communities often view tourism as a threat and lack understanding of its positive impact
  • Metrics you can use to measure your in-person engagement
  • How tourism can contribute to economic development and help to address workforce challenges and sustainability
  • The challenges faced by one or two-person departments in managing the future of the visitor economy
  • How to communicate effectively with rural communities to help them understand the workforce challenges of the future and how the visitor economy could help
  • The seven-pillar model of effective destination marketing and the importance of building quality of place

How Current Events Impact the Visitor Economy

On the podcast with Josiah, we explore the state of the visitor economy and how it has been affected by recent events. We discuss the challenges faced by rural communities who struggle with viewing tourism as an asset, the need for strategic communication around the visitor economy, and how the industry may fare in the coming years.

One key challenge highlighted is the negative perception some rural communities have of tourism. Many residents view visitors as a threat to their way of life and don’t understand the benefits that tourism can bring, such as fresh capital, investment, jobs, and increased quality of place. Josiah also discusses the importance of educating locals on the positive effects of tourism and demonstrating how visitors can help the community in many ways.

Strategic Communication

Another key theme is the need for strategic communication around the visitor economy. Josiah notes that so many people, particularly in rural communities, do not understand the workforce challenges of the future, the sustainability of their communities, or the success of a post-agricultural or post-industrial community, all of which rely on the visitor economy.

Josiah advocates for the seven pillars of destination management to promote the importance of tourism in economic development, which include strategies such as branding, marketing, sales, education, and a community calendar.

The Potential of Tourism

Finally, we explore the potential of the tourism industry in the coming years. While many industries may suffer from a recession, Josiah predicts that the tourism industry may not fare as badly because people are eager to travel again. He notes that there has been a wave of pent-up consumerism in the industry, with people valuing travel experiences more than before — which is why it’s so important to stay in the marketplace and bolster your brand’s visibility to ensure success in a post-COVID visitor economy.


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