Recreation (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Svitlana Iarmolenko


With the decline of traditional agriculture and extraction industries, many small towns in the Southeast US are facing challenges of economic decline and looking for alternative development trajectories. The city of Millen in Jenkins County, Georgia is one of such small towns. With the discovery of a large Civil War heritage resource, Millen’s administration became interested in developing the town’s tourism potential. However, the community possesses neither the resources nor knowledge to develop and promote this potential. In this project, the combination of Gunn’s functioning tourism system model as a conceptual framework and Jamal and Getz’s three-step collaborative community tourism development method was used to create a heritage tourism promotion and development strategy for the town Millen. In the course of this study we conducted an assessment of tourism resources, held planning meetings with the community, as well as collected oral histories and engaged residents in the heritage tourism promotion process. A self-guided brochure of downtown Millen, day-trip itineraries to Millen, and a strategic tourism development plan were the project deliverables provided to the community. Theoretically, this study demonstrates whether simultaneous use of two tourism frameworks results in an effective community-scholar collaborative process.