Tourism Improvement Strategies; Sea of Oman, UAE, 2014

Sea of Oman2,UAEThe Northern Emirates of the UAE are graced with rugged mountains, world heritage sites, abundant marine life and clean beaches on the Sea of Oman, Indian Ocean.  These tourist resources are untapped potential.  Relatively unknown and rarely visited, these assets present a new economic development opportunity.  Crane Associates, with a team of consulting experts, is collaborating on a Tourism Master plan for this region.  We are currently creating a Tourism Cluster of related business and supporting industries and developing strategies to produce sustainable jobs and increase local employment.  Strategies include nurturing new tourism entrepreneurs through business education; creating a hospitality training center; and designing new tours, activities and destinations.  Project is ongoing. Client: Emirate of Fujairah.

Eco-Tourism Feasibility Study, Kurdistan, Iraq 2010

Our Story.MDC and friend ski.KurdistanKurdistan is a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq that is safe, tolerant to other cultures, and rich with historic and natural resources.  However, because it is located in Iraq, public perception is that it’s unsafe to visit.  Visitors to the region are numerous but are primarily business related.  Crane Associates was hired to conduct a market feasibility study of developing and marketing eco-tourism related products and services throughout Kurdistan.  The work involved explorations of white-water rafting, backcountry skiing, mountain hiking, birding, and cultural tours.  It also involved extensive interviews with relevant business owners and potential tour guides. The project was featured internationally on BBC, CNN and National Public Radio and drew the attention of international tour operators.  The project resulted in a report to President Talabani’s office where detailed follow-up is occurring. WATCH THE VIDEO…

Village Marketing and Promotion Plan for Stowe, Vermont

StoweVillage VTStowe’s traditional village has experienced a steady decline in business development and expansion in the past two decades while the majority of new development took place along the Mountain Road and at the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort. The primary goal of this project was to design a number of actions that would improve the viability of downtown businesses and strengthen the community as a whole. Crane Associates collected a wide array of data including a statistical survey with over 900 respondents, 44 personal interviews and focus groups, and 19 site visits to analyze the visitor experience. The research revealed a number of common perceptions and misperceptions about how Stowe is perceived through the eyes of the tourists and the “locals.” The analysis measured the untapped potential of new markets in dollars and visitors. The results developed new market profiles and convinced village promoters to market toward new areas. The final report has 23 detailed recommendations in areas of marketing, physical infrastructure, niche development, events, and administration. Two months after the report was completed the Selectboard adopted the plan and appointed a special committee to oversee its implementation.

Creating Vibrancy in Belfast, Maine

Belfast ME.MainSt.PJTThe local economy of Belfast Maine has faced many challenges. The shipbuilding, poultry, and seafood processing industries have come and gone, leaving Belfast with an industrial waterfront. The Route1 bypass allows tourists to essentially ignore Belfast on their routes along the coast. Many downtown merchants don’t have enough foot traffic to earn a full time living. The population is declining and aging. This coastal Maine community wanted to increase vibrancy in the city but didn’t want tourism to dilute its cultural core. The goal of this study was to increase sales activity in the local economy without being overrun by tourists. The study used an Asset Based Community Development approach to identify Belfast’s greatest assets that can be used to market the city. Crane Associates analyzed regional and national economic trends and matched those trends with Belfast’s unique assets. The result was an action plan that showed how the city can tap into those trends while still remaining true to its traditions. The study provided detailed recommendations in six major categories including marketing, events, business retention and improvement, infrastructure, institutional changes, and aligning with national trends. The City is now implementing this plan. Creating Vibrancy in Belfast Maine

Recreation 2015: A 10-Year Recreation Master Plan, Stowe, Vermont

Stowe.PJTStowe is an internationally recognized tourist destination with over 770,000 visitors per year. It also has 4,800 residents who call it home. The Stowe Recreation Commission recognized that the changing demands of residents and visitors alike have presented the Town with new recreation challenges. These dynamics warranted a new vision, careful planning, accurate analysis, and efficient implementation actions. The Recreation Commission acknowledged in their request for proposals that the time is ripe for a “serious contemporary study” because there are far more “recreation activities and capital investments for the Commission to ponder than can possibly move forward in a challenging fiscal climate.” This recreation Master Plan helped the Commission determine which recreation investments and activities would serve the greatest public good. Crane Associates determined the supply of and demand for recreation programs, land and facilities by residents, second homeowners and visitors. Statistically accurate public surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and targeted market analyses all contributed to determining recreation demand. Current supply of facilities, programs, infrastructure and lands were inventoried, catalogued, mapped and inspected to determine their longevity. The difference between the supply and demand for a variety of recreation activities was then documented in a Needs Analysis. The plan concludes with a chapter on how to meet those needs through an implementation program over the next ten years. Stowe 10 Year Recreation Master Plan

Master Plan for Browns River Park, Essex, Vermont

Browns River VTTown of Essex was given 5 acres of land along a river and wanted to create a public park that met current recreation needs, was affordable and took advantage of the site’s unique natural features. Crane Associates used aerial photography to analyze the historic course of the river and help determine potential neighboring property conflicts. We created over 250 GPS points to document all significant natural features and to make original slope and elevation maps of the site. We conducted over 10 field visits to inventorying the site’s natural resources and scouted 8 miles of river from the park site to neighboring Westford village for potential boating hazards and flow conditions. The public was involved in the planning process through a public survey and public meetings. This project resulted in a Master Plan for a new park for the Town of Essex Vermont that included landscape renderings, sites maps, permitting processes and construction costs.

Recreation Master Plan for the Fitchburg Waterfront, Fitchburg, Vermont

Community Development.Cover.jpegThe North Nashua River runs through the heart of Fitchburg with a long history of industrial uses and misuses. Crane Associates worked with the City and a landscape Architecture firm to determine the best options for river recreation in the City. The study analyzed the market and provided answers on local and regional demand for a wide array of river-based activities. This information was used to improve the feasibility of the plan and fine-tune the physical designs.



River Recreation Market Assessment for Connecticut River, Windsor, Vermont

COveredBridge2'sThe Connecticut River is one of Windsor’s greatest economic development assets yet remains untapped. The town is faced with how to improve its economic vitality without harming the environmental integrity of the river. The study included an examination of market demographics and spending patterns of river users and tourists. Market information was tied to river based activities and uses. The river’s physical condition and natural resources (depth, flow, bank conditions, aquatic resources, etc.) were examined to determine recreation potential, which activities are marketable in Windsor, and its market share.


River and Park Management Options for West River and Jamaica State Park, Vermont

Our Story.MDC canoe.HOMEThe West River release is a 25-year semi annual gathering of whitewater boaters who come to paddle the temporary Class III water. As the water surges so do the number of users and potential for conflicts. The study examines a series of different management and policy options. A statistically valid random sample survey of park users is used to test their preferences and opinions of a variety of park uses and the boaters economic impact to the local and state economy.


INGRED: An Interactive Geographic Recreation Database System

INGREDINGRED (INteractive Geographic REcreation Database), was built and copyrighted by Crane Associates in 2004. The “database map” is an interactive GIS map so users can see where recreation opportunities exist in town and search their features. The map uses different symbols for different types of recreation amenities. Users click on symbols to see a listing of information on the facility or land including: acres, hours of operation, recreation opportunities available, amenities offered and regularly scheduled programs. If the user requires more details about the facility she can click on a hyperlink to be taken to a spreadsheet that will include detailed information. As facilities or programs change, town staff can easily update more information. The inventory can also be uploaded to the Town’s web site or on an information kiosk for public access. The project was funded by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning and completed in 5 New Hampshire municipalities as part of their “Hearts and Parks” obesity and diabetes prevention program.

Recreation Assessment on the Clyde River, Vermont

Floated the river at three different flow levels to identify and describe recreation potential of the Clyde River. Report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for Hydroelectric Dam relicensing.

Streambank Survey for the Winooski River, Vermont

Floated 90 miles of the river to document stream bank erosion, public access points, and sensitive aesthetic areas. Documented recreation opportunities from headwaters to mouth of river.