Capping off a year of unprecedented community engagement, academic leaders from George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies and Confluence Sustainability returned to Jackson November 16-18, 2022 for their third, and final, site visit.
During two “Review and Refinement Workshops,” more than forty participants analyzed the DRAFT Vision, Core Values, and Guiding Principles related to the future of tourism in the Tetons. They then dove deeper into breakout groups to study eight Stewardship Goals determined to be common ground between residents, businesses, land managers, and visitors.
Each stewardship goal broken down into expected outcomes, strategic initiatives, suggested timelines, potential organizations and resources for implementation, and measures of success. During an abbreviated presentation to the public on Thursday evening, November 17, Board members, contract staff, and researchers were present to answer questions and field suggestions from residents.
Primary discussion topics with Town and County officials and the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors included fleshing out a destination management framework for governance to support current efforts, address gaps, and implement a more balanced and concerted approach to embracing and managing tourism. Governance options were further discussed during a final debrief with the Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board Members and ten of the 18 steering committee members guiding the SDMP over the past 12 months.
The final Destination Management Plan (due for late December delivery) will incorporate all feedback received during the site visit, and online public comment through November 29. General agreement that support from local elected officials (including those from surrounding communities) is critical for the SDMP’s successful implementation. As proper formation of any new governing tourism organization takes time, experts and researchers recommend forming an interim ‘Destination Stewardship Council,’ similar to the SDMP steering committee.
The GWU and Confluence teams will take the next few weeks to integrate comments and refine the final plan before delivery to the JHTTB just before the Christmas holiday. On Jan 11, 2022, the JHTTB will hold its annual board retreat to strategize the next steps in rolling out the SDMP to the Joint Powers (Town and County) elected officials and the community at large, all while evaluating existing frameworks and functions with independently contracted Board support.