For many people, working in the tourism industry is a temporary occupation. They spend a couple of years as ski instructors or life-guards and then move on. However, there are many other people who enjoy the experience so much they want to make tourism their permanent career. For these folks, a great option is starting your own tourism business. When people think of ‘entrepreneurship’ Silicon Valley comes to mind but actually many tourism-centric states such as Alaska and Florida are in the top ten states to start a business whereas California drags at 27. Here are some thoughts on how to go about starting a tourism business.
Tourism is, by nature, seasonal. Many of the considerations of your business will depend on whether your tourist season is summer or winter. Although ski resorts experience a different side of life with hikers and bikers in the summer and brave surfers will still venture to the beach in winter, realistically, the majority of your revenue will come from that season so be prepared. Those with professional ambitions in the snow industry will most likely head to ski centers such as Colorado, Nevada or Oregon. Important considerations for ski based businesses include choosing a location for your business convenient for tourists and visitors near popular resorts. Avoid opening too far from the mountain, as it will be difficult to attract customers. Provide adequate parking space and bear in mind that many of your customers will arrive on skis so provide space for them to securely store their gear too!
If sun is more your thing than snow then try heading to states such as Hawaii. South Carolina or Florida. Starting a business in a resort is a popular option, but if you want an even more authentic feel and are happy with your business staying small you could even start a business on the beach itself. These on-the-beach businesses are typically smaller so you might want to consider what is advantageous for small businesses, such as being an Limited Liability Company instead of an S corp. For example, if you’re starting an LLC Florida offers great tax perks and flexibility of operations. Whatever the size of your sunny business, bear in mind that beaches often have restrictions such as zoning requirements so be sure to contact the planning department of the City Hall that regulates the beach you want to start a business on.
Not all entrepreneurs want the big city lifestyle. Starting a tourism based business can be a great way to turn your passion into a long term fulfilling career. If you do your research, choose your location wisely and work hard it’s very possible to turn your dreams into a reality.