Editorial: Small tourism makes sense

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gas prices nationwide have climbed, now hovering at just under $3 a gallon.

So the Iowa Tourism Office and Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson are doing the right thing: Marketing small tourism. Since 2001, the number of attractions in the Iowa Travel Guide has increased from 489 to 653.

Most states pick a few big-draw items and market the life out of them. Small tourism is the idea of marketing the little local attractions.

&8220;Trends noted by state tourism officials suggest people are traveling closer to home these days, and taking shorter, more frequent vacations.&160; They are looking for value, and they are making last-minute decisions about where they want to go,&8221; Pederson said.&160;&8220;With that in mind, we’ve put together a cultural tour anyone can re-create. &160;We’re offering great ideas of sites Iowans can visit and activities they can enjoy with their own families this summer.&8221;

TravelIowa.com is the Web site where the Iowa Tourism Office lists things to do, attractions, landmarks, recreation and historical routes.

Here are attractions listed for Lake Mills and Northwood:

– Country School Museum, Lake Mills.

– Family Aquatic Center, Lake Mills.

– Promise of America Monument, Lake Mills.

– Top of Iowa Welcome Center, Northwood.

– Worth County Historical Society Museum, Northwood.

After visiting the site, it’s a wonder that more states don’t think about marketing the small tourism attractions. This is where the real fabric of America is found.

Here are some gems we found within driving distance:

– Hobo Museum & Hobo Gift Shop, Britt.

– Lady of the Lake, Clear Lake.

– Winnebago Industries Visitor Center, Forest City.

– Fort Musuem & Frontier Village, Fort Dodge.

– Lime Creek Nature Center, Mason City.

– Fossil & Prairie Park, Rockford.

– St. Ansgar Heritage Museum.

– Arnolds Park Amusement Park.

– Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center, Le Mars.

– Red Barn Model Railroad Museum, Dundee.

– Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Decorah.

– Little Brown Church, Nashua.