Iowa Tourism Industry Strategic Plan
The strategic planning process was organized into three distinct phases, with the primary goal of maximizing stakeholder input from across the state.
|Unify industry around shared long-term vision
|Amplify awareness of Iowa’s tourism brand
|Ensure Iowa’s tourism experience is welcoming to all
|Ensure tourism readiness
|Drive an increase in long-term tourism investments
During the discovery phase, we analyzed industry data, listened to and learned from industry stakeholders, and developed the Situation Assessment to serve as the current context for strategic planning. The process included:
- An evaluation of existing tourism programs and products.
- Two industry surveys (653 respondents).
- Four cross-industry focus group meetings.
- Eighteen interviews with tourism leaders and decision-makers.
- Ten stakeholder meetings listening sessions across the state.
The resulting Iowa Tourism Situation Assessment identified the following themes:
- Improved alignment between industry leaders and state and local officials can enhance the competitiveness
- Iowa’s tourism industry is currently fractured.
- Stakeholders want the Iowa Tourism Office to lead statewide tourism efforts but are concerned about their lack of resources and support infrastructure.
- Increased and stable funding is needed to drive growth of the industry.
- Development of tourism offerings and infrastructure is needed to improve access and experience.
- Iowa needs a unified brand and enhanced industry marketing to elevate the state’s competitive position.
- Tourism growth requires strategies that ensure diverse communities feel welcome.
- Tourism industry programs are underutilized, lack broad awareness, and fail to articulate measurable impact and value.
A strategic planning team consisting of Iowa Tourism Office staff, Iowa Economic Development Authority leaders, and regional and local tourism representatives utilized the Situation Assessment and additional stakeholder input to develop Iowa’s first ever Five-Year Iowa Tourism Industry Strategic Plan. The team developed a plan that seeks to unite stakeholders, grow the industry and enhance tourism investments across the state.
To bring the strategic plan to life and ensure successful implementation, Iowa Tourism Office staff and industry stakeholders are engaged in a process to operationalize the plan, including identifying resources and partners, prioritizing and sequencing initiatives, and collecting data to monitor success.