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This handbook is designed to provide main street coordinators, committees and planners with visitor economy related concepts and directions that are user-friendly, strategic and tactical. It is being developed over a 12-month period using a range of delivery, research and engagement tools. Input from main street coordinators, committees and others from the hospitality industry is welcome.

Introduction to Handbook and Visitor Economy 

Monday, Oct 25, 2021 webinar

1. Introduction to the Handbook

This section provides an overview of the handbook’s objectives and discusses the themes, ideas and defines ‘main street,’ while identifying a range of main street challenges and issues. It is organized around the following subsections:

  • 1.1 Preamble
  • 1.2 Handbook objectives
  • 1.3 Initial themes/concepts/ideas
  • 1.4 Background
  • 1.5 Defining main street
  • 1.6 Challenges and opportunities   

2. A Review Of Main Street Initiatives

Part of our project’s research involved investigating a wide selection of main streets to expand our understanding of what is currently being done and what might be possible. In this section, we have provided brief summaries of key initiatives that we felt were relevant in developing the handbook. The theories, concepts and approaches in these various examples will be used throughout the handbook. We also present the results of the work of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Institute at Ryerson University.

  • 2.1 UK High Street Task Force
  • 2.2 The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program
  • 2.3 The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) Bring Back Main Street Program
  • 2.4 City of Toronto’s Response to the Main Street Issue
  • 2.5 BIA Study Carried Out by the for Hospitality and Tourism Management Institute, Ryerson University
Section 3 - Introducing thee Visitor Economy

3. Introducing the Visitor Economy

An important mandate of many main streets is to attract and welcome visitors from outside their immediate area for the added economic and vibrancy value they bring. In this section, the visitor economy is defined and explored as the potential and actual value add activities for main streets.

  • 3.1 What Is the Visitor Economy
  • 3.2 The Benefits and Challenges of Visitors
  • 3.3 What Is the Product in the Visitor Economy
  • 3.4 The Visitor Journey
  • 3.5 Key Questions in Considering the Visitor Economy
  • 3.6 Conclusion

Visitor Led Main Street Strategies

Section 4 features  a series of short, practical thought pieces and case studies of what our research has identified as essential elements that provide opportunities to better understand the role of the visitor economy in reimagining main street.

If you have identified other areas that you feel should be explored, please let us know and we would be happy to discuss how you could contribute.

Section 4.1 - Main Street Storytelling Manual

Section 4.1

Main Street Storytelling Manual

  • 4.1 Foreword
  • 4.1.2 What is storytelling?
  • 4.1.3 Understanding the audience
  • 4.1.4 Planning for storytelling
  • 4.1.5 Storytelling media
  • 4.1.6 Summary


Section 4.2 - After 6 Planning and Managing Main Street

Section 4.2

'After 6'

  • 4.2.1 Foreword
  • 4.2.2 Starting to Understand Main Street ‘After 6’
  • 4.2.3 Advantages of the ‘After 6’ Economy
  • 4.2.4 Does Your Main Street Have What It Takes?
  • 4.2.5 What Can Happen ‘After 6’
  • 4.2.6 Achieving Your Main Street’s ‘After 6’ Potential
  • 4.2.7 Making It Happen
  • 4.2.8 Conclusion
Main Street Residents and their visitors
Section 4.3

Main Street Residents and their Visitors

  • 4.3.1 Introduction
  • 4.3.2 Residents attract visitors and affect their behaviour
  • 4.3.3 How does hosting visitors affect residents?
  • 4.3.4 Possible applications, messaging and channels
  • 4.3.5 Conclusion

Main Street Reimagined Through a Visitor Lens: Partnerships and the Visitor Economy

Monday, December 6, 2021

Section 4.4 Visitor Led Main Street Strategies: Developing Partnerships for Visitor Economy Engagement

Visitor Led Main Street Strategies: Developing Partnerships for Visitor Economy Engagement

  • 4.4.1 The benefits of partnerships and collaboration
  • 4.4.2 Types of partnerships
  • 4.4.3 Practical examples
  • 4.4.4 Considerations and tips
  • 4.4.5 Conclusion
Section 4.5 Visitor Led Main Street Strategies: Mapping your Main Street

4.5 Visitor Led Main Street Strategies: Mapping your Main Street

  • 4.5.1 Introduction
  • 4.5.2 Objectives of a mapping exercise
  • 4.5.3 Who should do the mapping?
  • 4.5.4 Putting yourself in the visitor’s shoes
  • 4.5.5 Possible visitor related 6 resources and experiences
  • 4.5.6 Possible data sources and data 7 gathering techniques
  • 4.5.7 Accessing and using the data
  • 4.5.8 Key takeaways

This section will bring together the major ideas, concepts and lessons learned from the various parts of the handbook. Also look at suggestions for further development work.

This section will bring together case studies using a standard format and will be produced by a range of practitioners in order to provide examples of best practice.

Our team, together with its various partners, have identified a number of resources that may be useful to main street committees and practitioners.

This material will be made available at a later date.

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Creating Main Street Experiences and Mitigating Risks

Mon, Jan 31, 2021,  1 - 2:30 p.m. EST