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Rationale To put it simply, millions of dog-owners want to travel with their dogs. They will spend their vacation dollars preferentially in dog-friendly destinations.According to an article in Anthrozoos by Gary Patronek of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and Andrew Rowan of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, there are about 52 million dogs living in 35 million US households. The Pet Owner Survey of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) indicates that more than two-thirds of pet owners intended to travel with their pets during the coming year. Any way you slice those figures, it is clear that dog-based tourism represents a significant economic opportunity.
- Assemble pertinent information about Ithaca as a dog-friendly place to visit; make that information available to the public, first as a Web site, subsequently in a brochure. Information should include:
- accommodations: hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, camping grounds, and other facilities that accept dogs
- restaurants with outdoor eating space where dogs are permitted
- hiking trails and other dog-friendly recreational facilities
- services: veterinarians, pet supply shops, groomers
- online and offline resources: lists of publications, information offices, and Web sites with to broader information about tourism (and life in general) in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region; links to Web sites about traveling with dogs.
- Form a coalition of dog-owners, owners of dog-based businesses, and other concerned citizens to formulate a Dog-Based Tourism Initiative. Likely concerns:
- promoting and facilitating poop-scooping (e.g. by installing and maintaining bag-dispensers such as the one currently maintained by Wegman's at Treman Marina
- persuading more hotels to accept dogs
- promoting dog access to public places (e.g. The Commons) and public transportation
- organizing dog-focused events (e.g. Ithaca Dog Days)
- raising the profile of local dog organizations (training programs, rescue associations, research centers, etc.)
- promoting off-leash recreational facilities (e.g. at Treman Marina; also, off-leash hours and/or days at city parks and on campuses
- Petition Common Council to pass a resolution declaring Ithaca a Dog-Friendly Destination, and requesting that all organizations, businesses, and citizens consider what they can do to contribute to a dog-friendly environment.
- Hold a national conference on Planning for a Dog-Friendly Community.
Please Join Us! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information Pertinent to Dog-Based Tourism
- The March/April Online Newsletter of DogFriendly.com has an article on Top 10 Dog-Friendly Cities To Visit in North America- 2004. The July/August issue has a follow-up article entitled Dog-Friendly Cities -- Honorable Mention. Here is a statement of the criteria used in evaluating destinations:Our ratings are based on the quality and number of dog-friendly places that a traveler would use such lodging, attractions, outdoor restaurants, hikes, beaches and stores. Our list is also intended for local residents who may not need a hotel but who can also enjoy a variety of nearby dog-friendly activities. As part of our criteria for determining dog-friendliness, we focus on places that allow all well-behaved dogs, regardless of size or breed. This year we have also decided to give high rankings for cities that allow both small and large dogs on their public transportation such as buses, subways and street cars. We deem this an important factor because aside from an easier way to travel, it helps to cut down on pollution.In Ithaca, it might be worth assessing dog-handling facilities and expertise at the airport.
- In the Summer 2004 issue of Fido Friendly (www.fidofriendly.com) ["The Travel Magazine for You & Your Dog"], there is an article on "Fido Flight Etiquette" (p. 25) in which the author mentions that the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) [www.aahanet.org] Pet Owner Survey found that more than two-thirds of pet owners will travel with their pets this year...
On GoodNewsforPets.com, Pet Owner Survey Reveals Strong Bond Between People and their Pets by Steven Dale summarizes results of the 1999-2000 AAHA survey. One finding:However, pet love isn't restricted to special occasions. According to the survey, an overwhelming 78 percent greet their pet at the door before their spouse or significant other. Of course, the pets themselves are in part responsible. After all, they dash to the door before even a track-star spouse can make it.
- A compendium from various editions of the AAHA survey is posted at the Web site of Colorado State University's Argus Institute for Families and Veterinary Medicine www.argusinstitute.colostate.edu/hab.htm. Among the interesting statistics cited:21% of pet owners would travel 1000 miles or more to obtain specialty care for their pet (2001 AAHA survey).The Cornell Veterinary School should probably be considered a signficant tourism asset.
- An article in the March 28, 2004 issue of Parade Magazine, "Vacation Tips for 4-Footed Travelers", notes that 10,000,000 Americans travel each year with their pets -- over 80% of those being dogs.More Info
- The "Dog eat Dog World" is No More. Now it's a Dog eat Hors D'oeuvre World. From Krista Mifflin, Your Guide to Dogs.
- The pet market, or more specifically, the dog market is ranked number three on the top ten business ventures for the year 2003, and as more and more dog owners are assimilated into the fold of "dog people", things will only get better business-wise. About.com has a page entitled "Why the Pet Business is Booming," with many links.