Crimes against tourism are being committed every day.
Small town skylines have continued to change over the years and it has not always been for the better. Buildings, in which yesterday’s architects once took pride, now sit along Main Streets in shambles. Unfortunately, not one state in the Union has been immune to this corrosion. Tourists appreciate well-preserved towns like Lexington, Missouri. They spend a great deal of time and money in towns where history has been preserved and evidence that someone cares. If no one cares, then why should tourists?
Fortunate are the towns like Weston, Missouri with tourism entrepreneurs recognizing how the appearance of their buildings reflects on the entire community. Unfortunately, there are proprietors and property owners in other towns who simply don’t get it. They do not see the blight they created as a problem even when it’s sitting SMACK on Main Street in plain view of every visitor passing through town. (See slideshow)
Okay, it’s a given that there will always be people who don’t see their own flaws objectively, but when did community leaders stop caring enough to allow these flaws to take hold in the first place?
When did YOUR community stop caring? Or did YOU just stop noticing?
It might have started when you became a two-income family with a greater focus on your commute to work than the condition of YOUR town.
Or it could have been when YOU became so busy with YOUR own life that YOUR town’s slow deterioration became commonplace. You’ve probably said to yourself: We have one strong tourism site. Why bother with the rest? After all, my neighbors only need the basics today and those can be found along the Fast Track. Right?
Whatever the reason, it’s still there damaging YOUR tourism potential in revenue and reputation. On the unspoken backside, deterioration is equally damaging to retaining families or attracting them in the first place.
So why do YOU find it important to have grocery stores for milk, big box stores for necessities and soccer fields for the kids but fail to see the importance of having a manicured community with a backbone that's strong with a story?
Think back: When did YOU once care? Or when did YOU last notice?
When neighborhoods were strong and important to families, the town’s population increased and travelers enjoyed visiting.
There was a time when families sat on the front porch and watched the kids play. If one kid bullied another or trashed the streets, everyone was witness to it and everyone worked together to correct the attitude and solve the problem immediately.
Why did they bother? Because protecting the neighborhood was priority for their families…for everyone’s sake.
There was a time when a small town struggled, the citizens rallied together, found out the reason why and worked towards correcting the problem. If they saw a troublesome element becoming commonplace, the community protected the town and solved it before the problem got a foothold.
Why did they bother? Because, just like the neighborhoods with bullies, protecting their town was priority…for everyone’s sake.
It’s time to ask: Are the real crimes being committed by the offenders or by YOU turning a blind eye?
If YOUR community has worked hard to develop tourism, why do YOU continue to allow corroded areas to tarnish it?
Perhaps it’s due to tourism leaders lacking support from the community – or YOU not having the courage to expect it. Perhaps it’s the community not grasping the potential of tourism revenue – or YOU not taking the leadership to educate them. After all, tourism development benefits every community on so many levels.
So what now?
Could it be time to set solid regulations validated by examples and prevent it from happening in the first place? Is it time to put a dollar value on the assets in YOUR community and then put the same value on YOUR liabilities for all to see? Once done, it won’t be long before YOUR community realizes regulations are immediately needed and enforced before real progress can take place.
If asked why codes and regulations are needed in YOUR town, reply with this…
Question: Why do cars have brakes?
Answer: So they can go fast.
The driver could be YOU.
The passengers are Regulations.
The road is Progress.
The goal is Taking Back YOUR Community.
The speed is Quickly.
The horizon is A Thriving Community
Safe & Attractive for Families - Preserved & Appealing for Tourism.
It could be a matter of life or death for YOUR town.
YOUR town is looking for a qualified driver.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:
North Dakota Travel Industry Conference April 15 - 17, 2013:
· Workshop: Growing Tourism through Business Development - What you don’t know you don’t know (but your guests do.)
· Keynote: Heritage Tourism Development – The Story, The Assets & The Logistics
Called "The Patron Saint of Small Towns" by Iowa Commerce Magazine
John Poimiroo, Deputy Secretary of (CA) Tourism said:
"I was so impressed by your emphasis on sustaining heritage tourism as an economic development tool."