Rapid Rail Transit and Tourism Development in the United States

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Management and International Business


In March of 2009, the US President announced a plan for the development of a rapid transit rail system that would eventually connect the continental US with a system of high-speed trains similar to those in the developed European countries. This paper explores the impact such a system could bring to tourism development through a focus on the rapid transit rail system proposed for the US Gulf Coast corridor. Historical insights gleaned from an extensive literature review are applied to anticipate the potential for key stakeholder groups in the Gulf Coast region to offer resistance or support for the project. The paper also summarizes results from a study which examined consumers' perceptions about, and anticipated uses of, the proposed rail system. Findings were overwhelmingly tourism-centric as participation in touristic activities was the primary reason identified for supporting the future use of a rapid rail transit system. Respondents were also positive about the potential for such a system to reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption while minimizing parking problems. In sum, the research supported the premise that opportunities for integrative tourism development existing during the early stages of rail system planning will be lost forever if not acted upon judiciously.

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Tourism Geographies





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