2nd Quarterly Report. 2021. Appalachia Sustainable Tourism Collaboration, LLC

Updated: Nov 28, 2021


Even though ASTC is an LLC, we are not in competition with others. Our legal structure does not require us to be transparent with stakeholders, but our value innovation prevents us from hiding information from others. ASTC becomes stronger when stakeholders better understand the atmospherics and economic development potential of tourism in our 5 state service area.

Our primary objective for 2021 is to network and develop our brand while making our 3 websites more robust,

ASTC Home. Appalachiastc.com

Touring Events & Activities. astctour.com

Stakeholders astcstakeholder.com


Overview

The major focus for this quarter was getting our model set up to interact with trip planners, and travel agents, and provide paid services out in the field. We researched Travel Agents both near and far that we may work with one day, and started to complete paperwork and operational protocols for a special use permit on public domain land. Like last time, much time was devoted to Twitter. We wrapped up the quarter by sending out emails to various Chambers of Commerce to let them know we were going to be operating in their area in the near future.


Press Release

There was no press release for the 2nd quarter.


Just as in the 1st quarter, we have learned much about our 5 state service area.

Off work hours, the President of ASTC toured much of southern West Virginia and some of eastern KY. There are distinct tourism ecosystems in these two states.

As seen in our Entrepreneur Blogs, we are beginning to focus more time developing the Coal Country areas from the more developed tourism areas. But it is important to understand why we just elsewhere than the Coal Country Areas:


It forces ASTC to stay out of an echo chamber. This allows us to see what thriving tourism communities are doing.


It helps potential tourists with their trip planning. The more things they find in the region, the more likely they will plan a trip. Once again, the Coal Country areas do not need to compete with the established areas, but compliment them. This is already being done by the organization called Appalachian Highlands. They understand that many people have moved from Far SWVA into NE Tennessee, so instead of competing across state lines, they highlight each other's strengths and network with stakeholders who cross state lines weekly.


It allows us to see what we call Tourism Ecology Succession. For example, the New River Greenbrier Valley tourism district in SE WV is far more developed with nature based tourism than Southwest WV, and Southeastern KY, and Far SWVA, but does not have the decades of tourism development that the Middle East, TN tourism district has (Knoxville, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Gatlinburg). This may have been brought on by 2 things.

1. The Coal Industry may have begun to decline at an earlier time than in Southwest WV.

2. The New River Gorge offered rich natural resources in the late 1970s (when the Bridge went up) for organizations to capitalize on.


When looking at our websites and tweets, it forces stakeholders in Coal Country to get outside their echo chamber and see how things are done in areas that are more developed with tourism. The thing that we are the most vexed about is how basic websites and calendars are not updated. Websites are not updated monthly, or yearly! It costs about a dollar a day to maintain a website. What’s more surprising is how state capital tourism leaders do not seem to motivate towns to improve their marketing and information. There could be a huge divide between small towns and big capitals.


Once again Twitter took a lot of our time. However, by late April we had a healthy 475 tweets to build off of to make 5 tweets a day. By the end of the 2nd quarter we had over 1,100 tweets to build off of. This allowed us to create tweets that we believed were far more connected to our mission and vision. One thing we are continuing to develop is our Global Travel Networking list so that we can one day network with Travel Agencies from all over the globe to bring tourists to our region. In late April this list began to pick up members. At the end of the quarter it had 28 followers.


While the website was being reworked to make way for paid services, we ended up rearranging a lot of furniture and greatly improving things.

On the main site there is now a Trip Planning Menu Bar.

The Trip Planning Page is much smaller and easy to navigate.

The Trip Planning page now has links to various Topics found on the astctour site, such as Travel Specialists;

Airports

Trains Stations and Bus Terminals

Car Rentals;

Shuttles;


The Twitter info index page is much smaller and easier to navigate.


Now each state gets their own trip planning page that has a link to their respected tourism website trip planning page; a link to each tourism district we host; a link to a twitter list that has active accounts; and a link to their own featured YouTube Channel.


As we conducted research to find agents and advisors to bring in tourists to our service area we began to gather more contacts. This led us to create a brand new topic on our Logistics category, Travel Specialists.

This is very important for several reasons.

Once we offer Guided services we will already know the organizations that we can work with to make unique trips with

We can make tourism packages together.

It lets stakeholders & entrepreneurs know who they can work with when they create their own tourism services.

New Travel Specialists will eventually get more comfortable sending tourists into Coal Country.


We also created a Tours page for several reasons.

It helps us know what the big time consortiums are developing in our 5 state service area.

How entrepreneurs can capitalize on this.

We spent some time teasing out some details from the sights to help our trip planners make more informed decisions.

Our take away was that there is a lot of traffic moving back and forth from Lexington, KY to the Smokies. Also, WV has a great set up with Amtrak passenger rail.

Current Events

SOUTHERN APPALACHIAN HIGHLANDS CONSERVANCY SIGNS LETTER TO ACCEPT DONATION OF 7,500 ACRES IN THE ROAN HIGHLANDS


Pike County Fiscal Court, makes big moves toward establishing ATV trail system


Mountain Mindful apparel, home furnishing, and self-care products


Amazon will have a work center in Bristol, VA, which will create 100s of jobs.


Techstars joins forces with Tennessee powerhouses to bring the Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator to Oak Ridge-Knoxville in 2022


Eastern KY is creating trails in earnest with a similar model that West Virginia did in the late 90s, and Virginia did 10 years later.


The 680 overpass that connects Harold, KY and Minnie KY in Floyd county is about to be completed.


We will continue to push the agenda that we are on the verge of a huge change in our Coal Country services area. Smith sees West Virginia 'on the cusp of greatness' with entrepreneurship.


Zoom Meetings

They are the second Tuesday of each month.

The 1st zoom meeting was on April 13th. No one was present.


The 2nd zoom meeting was on May 11th. No one was present.


The 3rd zoom meeting was on June 8th. No one was present.

ASTC Community Service

The President of ASTC volunteered with the Piney Creek Watershed Association to work on the Ship Rock Loop Trail behind the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex in

Beckley, WV. Here he met Corey Lilly the Ex/Director, and Gary Morefield, the Trails Coordinator. They are doing great things in the Beckley, WV area. As mentioned above, the Beckley area is in the middle with regards to economic tourism. NC, and TN are the most advanced...


New Sponsors

No Sponsors were created. No interest was shown.


ASTC Hall of Fame

We have some good leads for the 2021 Hall of Fame!

Financial Supports

No financial support was given.


New ASTC Contributors

None.


New ASTC Interns

Internship Program. No Interns. No interest shown.


New ASTC Volunteers

Volunteer Program. No Volunteers. No interest shown.



Community Stewards

None recommended to us.

Community Volunteers

None recommended to us.


ASTC’s 5 Goals for 2021


Logo Submissions:

No submissions. Click here for more details


Help Facilitate a Regional Trail Crew/s:


As mentioned above, we created a Blog on Becoming a Trail Coordinator. There are similarities to this job/career and our 2021 Goal of a Trail Crew/s to help fill the void between small rural towns and the massive acreage on public domain land.

Until we have localities really go up to politicians and give it to them straight, this goal will languish for years to come. ASTC believes the best route to go is to motivate higher education to create certifications and even degree programs. We do this by tweeting about stories of how there will be hundreds of miles of trails built that need to be looked after by future Trail Coordinators and Crew Leaders, and communities.


Adopt an Organization:

No interest was shown here. We did make one update to the basic plan. We added a 5th service. An organization's Logo will be on each state trip planning page that applies.


Entrepreneur Incubator:


We did not have anyone reach out to us for a free consultation. We did add many twitter accounts to the List, and added a few links to the Information and Calendar page.


We signed up with the WV Entrepreneurship Network thanks to the WV Small Business Development Center (WV SBDC).


Tourism and Social Media


Flickr

flickr is a poor platform for ASTC, because sharing is not happening. It would take years for this to actually be meaningful to trip planners. We have no interest in joining FB and Instagram.


YouTube