I had an interesting discussion with my mother the other day spurned by the recent Akron saga. One of her comments…“some towns just aren’t in to tourism”. This started me thinking…all towns have tourism, whether they like it or not. While they might not make it their focus, there isn’t any place on the planet which doesn’t see some sort of visitor traffic.
Now, they can embrace that and build upon it…or not. I’m not sure why you would choose to ignore such a vibrant and financially rewarding business. But, that’s another story for another time.
If a place plays on either end if the experience spectrum, it’s okay…as visitors we get it. If you absolutely don’t care about tourism and are focused on some other industry whether it be coal mining or whatever, it shows. When we get to your town, we understand your focus is not on us…but on whatever. And, on the other end, if you’ve created something remarkable and the vast majority of your resources are poured into a visitor’s experience that’s equally noticeable.
The problems begin when a city, town or region tries to capitalize on visitor traffic without investing in itself and creating a remarkable experience. Half baked and inconsistent products send mixed signals to the audience and hence create dissonance about the experience. Usually, this type of experience is the result of a disjointed approach to tourism with no real plan or community teamwork. We have a little bit of that going on in my town…but, it’s getting better.