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The Economics of Heritage Development

Executive summary

Buffalo's Opportunity

The Idea of Heritage Development

Urban Design and Heritage Development

Exhibit of Historic Views

Heritage Development
- a Case Study

Group Discussion Sessions

A Summary of the Conversation

Content Analysis
(coming soon)


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The travel market is largely dominated by older Americans, mostly people over 55. High disposable income, higher degree of disposable time, and increasingly, specific interests. Very specific interest that are not theme park expenditures. Senior day at Kingís Dominion down near where I live in Virginia is not a big deal. Senior day at the museum or the waterfront site or the waterfront festival or the arts festival is a very big deal. Again, people choosing to vote with their dollars where theyíre going to spend time and money.

Households, aged between 55 and 64, in particular, spend nearly five percent of all their spending money on travel. Thatís a lot of bucks. Aging baby boomers have travel as a very high priority both in the time between now and the time we retire, and after we retire. Assuming we ever get to retire. And if we retire, travel is the single highest priority. Even higher than education, because continuing education is a big deal for all of us. We want to feel we are continuing to stay on the edge.

Travel is the highest priority for retired baby boomers looking ahead saying, what are you going to do with your time? What are you going to do with your money? ďIím going to travel.Ē Where are you going to go? ďShow me whatís out there.Ē So, the demographic horse is riding in the direction of an opportunity that is at your door.

Americans are also working longer than they did. According to a recent survey by the Department of Labor, we are now working 26 percent longer per week than we did 30 years ago. Twenty-eight hundred and four hours in 1969 per year versus 3,500 hours in 1997 and itís worse now. One fourth more were working longer hours, were working all the time. And a lot of itís masked as, ďwell, Iím working at home. Well, Iíll just check the e-mail,Ē or ďwell, maybe Iíll just call in, you know. I need to go in on Saturday to wrap up a couple things.Ē Weíre all working too much.

Denizens of Boston's West End. - Homer Russell, Boston Redevelopment AuthorityNow, what that means is weíre desperate for down time. Weíre looking for a way to take the pressure off and that translates into shorter and more frequent trips. Thatís good for regional tourism. And you happen to sit in a fairly significant density of population within a three or four hour travel time. So, the opportunity is out there if your offerings are, I think, packaged a little differently.

Two-thirds of all trips ó remember the trips we talked about Ė two thirds of all trips in the United States are leisure or pleasure-based trips. Two-thirds. Sixty-six percent. Seventeen percent are business. We hear a lot about the value of the business traveler. And, itís true. The business traveler does spend more because, typically, somebody else is paying for it. And, itís driven by business. But thatís only 17 percent of all the trip numbers that we have in the country. Sixty-six percent is for leisure travel. Thatís a huge opportunity.

Only about four percent are combined business and leisure, although thatís a growing segment because we work too much. A lot of people who travel for their work are now taking their children or their spouses along and combining a business trip with a long weekend, combining a conference or business session with a short vacation. So, thatís a growing segment but itís still very small. And about thirteen percent of travel is for personal or other reasons. So, less time means shorter and more frequent trips, if people know what you have to offer.

Now, whatís the economic impact of the travel industry? Well, in 1999, the number of person trips in the United States ó remember thatís 50 miles or more for one person ó was over one billion and I do know the difference between a billion and a trillion. One billion person trips happened last year. Thatís a lot of zeroes. Thatís a lot of moving around this country. Thatís people moving all the time.

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