You don’t always have to travel to experience the benefits of tourism. The sad fact is most people have never experienced their own town from a tourist’s perspective. Considering that tourism often makes up for a significant amount of your town’s local business and job opportunities, it is a good idea to become familiar with the tourism in your own city.
If touring your city as a local makes you feel uncomfortable and out of place, try dressing up like a tourist would. This can be in your best clothing, or something extravagant. Take a camera with you and take pictures of your favourite local tourist attractions. You just might find some hidden gems that only the tourists knew you had in your own city.
To make it more interesting, bring a friend or two along with you. Start by trying out your local cuisine, preferably a place that use locally grown ingredients. Look into cafés and hot spots that you’ve never been to before. Now is not the time to go for exotic tastes and otherworldly flavours. It always nice to ask questions about where the ingredients for your meal are coming from, and most restaurant owners and employees love to boast about their establishment.
If you’re not sure what tourist attractions to start with, try your local tourism office and pick up a brochure. Often these include art galleries, perhaps paddle boats on a river, a festival or market, museums and musical attractions. You may want to pick up a book on your city’s local history and take a tour of historic buildings in your area.
At each attraction, take pictures of your friends being silly or have a real tourist take a picture of you. Then later you can put them in a scrap book or just tuck them away for your own enjoyment. These would make great postcards to send to friends and family that live far away.
Peruse souvenir shops for unique treasures based on your city and the culture there. You don’t have to buy anything if you find it too pricey, but it might be fun to take a little something home with you. Many shops carry homemade items and by asking about the products you may learn a lot about your local history or the crafty people living there. Artistic people always have the best stories to tell, and every handmade item will have its own story.
Local entertainment is worth checking out as well. Music is a universal art, and often come sin a wide variety within each city. There are probably some musical events nearby that you can listen in on. There may be a play on at the local theatre or an exhibition of art. If you can’t find anything, see if the local schools are putting on a show. Supporting the youth of your city can create a bright future for all.