NEWPORT – A new Sullivan County-funded survey is soliciting input from county residents and stakeholders on a range of topics – from restaurant quality to outdoor recreation – to facilitate the county’s ongoing efforts to stimulate regional tourism and stimulate economic growth.
The survey, announced Monday on the Sullivan County Facebook page, is the county’s latest information gathering tool to guide the county’s regional marketing plan, aimed at attracting people from outside the region to the county. The county’s strengths, from its historical and cultural attractions to its diverse outdoor recreational opportunities.
The project, dubbed the Sugar River Region Destination Development Initiative, “is designed to help us grow the economy of our visitors while improving the quality of life for our residents,” according to project officials.
The online survey takes approximately five to ten minutes to complete and the responses are recorded anonymously. A link to the survey can be found on the Facebook page, “Sullivan County New Hampshire Government”. A link to the survey is available at qualtrics.com.
The survey questions focus on the county’s “visitor economy”, a broad term for any economic activity, direct or indirect, resulting from a visitor to the county, regardless of the purpose, the survey explains. .
“In 2020, even during a global pandemic, visitors spent nearly $ 55 million in our county, generating more than $ 2.7 million in taxes and creating 828 jobs for our residents,” officials said. project. “While this is impressive, we know we can do better, given that visitors spent $ 108 million in Cheshire County, $ 512 million in Grafton County and $ 544 million in County of Grafton. Merrimack. “
The survey integrates several question formats, from agreement questions to the classification of elements according to the priority or the quality or the quantity of the offers.
Investigators are invited to assess the region in terms of accommodation; restaurants, shops and nightlife; artistic and cultural places; Historical MARKS; and outdoor recreation, including fishing and trails.
Importantly, the survey results will also inform the county’s Sugar River Region Trails project, a $ 25,000 study and plan being developed in partnership with the Upper Valley Regional Planning Commission. Lake Sunapee.
This project, funded with money received from the US Federal Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will identify and assess each trail system in Sullivan County, identify system strengths and needs, and develop a plan to boost recovery. public engagement in the support and development of the system.
Participants are also invited to give their opinion on the effectiveness of various marketing strategies, such as the use of social media, print or television advertising, advertising events or the offering of promotional packages.
The survey also asks participants to identify the importance of the region’s needs to be an effective regional destination, such as availability of broadband, availability of manpower and parking.
Interestingly, the survey also attempts to assess opinions that might be less receptive to tourism growth, with questions asking respondents if they have any concerns or fears about a potential increase in tourism. traffic or waste in natural areas or changes in communities due to population growth. or development.
The county launched its regional marketing initiative four years ago in partnership with the University of New Hampshire Extension Co-op, which included the hiring of Penelope Whitman, a community and economic development specialist, to oversee the development of the county’s strategic plan.
Last year, the county adopted the brand “The Sugar River Region” to convey the unifying identity of the county. The brand includes a carefully crafted logo that recreates elements of the county’s natural and man-made assets, from its deciduous forests to a distant wooden bridge that crosses the meandering Sugar River as it disappears into a mountainous backdrop.
In addition to the marketing plan, Sullivan County continues to lead a campaign to help create the workforce needed for local industries, which the county is targeting by offering free adult education classes at the regional technical center. of Sugar River Valley, through a partnership with the local vocational schools and employment agency TPI Staffing.
The investigation will remain open until January 31.