Byways 101

Part 1: Program Overview

What Does “Visitor Experience” Mean?

The “visitor experience” of a place involves both the tangible and the intangible, together meeting travelers’ needs and expectations. A good scenic byway accommodates these needs and interests to create a rewarding experience. Think about the places visitors should go, the people they could meet. How will you provide and enhance that experience? Is the byway open and ready for business? What do visitors need and desire? What intrudes on the visitor experience, and how can those intrusions be handled? Is the experience continuous, or is it fragmented?

Effective wayshowing (the communication of information to aid travelers to find their way to and along byways), interpretation, visitor information centers, design elements, and marketing are among the many variables that influence how travelers discover and remember your byway and its story. What helps them appreciate the byway story and treasure its intrinsic characteristics? By understanding the visitor experience, byway organizations can offer a safe, rewarding and authentic experience that travelers will want to repeat.

The National Scenic Byways Program, through grant awards, supports projects that benefit the byway traveler’s experience. Those projects might help manage the byway’s intrinsic qualities, shape the byway’s story, interpret the story for visitors, or improve facilities along the byway used by visitors.

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