Segmenting the rural tourism market: The case of Potter County, Pennsylvania, USA

Erwei Dong, Yawei Wang, Duarte Morais, David Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Because of its importance in the sustainable development of rural communities, rural tourism has been frequently studied as an alternative form of economic development in rural areas. In the United States, many rural communities rely on tourism for economic growth to compensate for declines in manufacturing, agriculture, extraction of natural resources, and population. Although there is an increased interest in developing rural tourism in many countries, there is little information regarding the motivations of rural tourists in the United States. Therefore, this study aims to understand travel motivations and characteristics of tourists visiting a rural destination to provide a better understanding of rural tourism in the United States. Our study site, Potter County, Pennsylvania, represents a typical American rural area with a population of 18,080, which is currently struggling to pursue economic revitalization by attracting tourists. The findings of this study indicated that visitors to Potter County do not fit a homogenous rural tourist profile due to their broad travel preferences. The findings also suggest that "tourism in rural areas" may be a better descriptor than "rural tourism" in the context of Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Rural tourism
  • motivations
  • segmentation


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