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Tampa tourism image not so clear to tourists

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Ok, Mayor Buckhorn, what is it going to be?

Tampa the dynamic emerging center of commerce of the Southeastern U.S.

Tampa the mecca for all things fun in the sun.

Ok, The Mayor has just returned from a trip to Panama where he was beating the drums to promote our city as the place to bring your business, and they liked him so much they even gave him the key to the country, er, city.

And the folks over at our Tampa Convention Bureau, now led by Buckhorn's former Main Man who is now the Rain Man in charge of all plans to bring every tourist dollar it can wring out of the hard working hands of all those up there in the North who have the expendable income to come to the Sunshine State for that fun in the fun.

But, let's face it, you wouldn't want to take a honeymoon trip to the City of Tampa.

And we are not exactly Margaritaville, there's not a beach in sight unless you want to count Rocky Point, which, living up to the name is basically a bunch of expensive condos, hotels and...rocks adjacent to the buzzing Courtney Campbell Causeway.

You want a beach in Tampa Bay you go to the glorious sand mounds of Clearwater and St. Petersburg and all those other swell beach towns on the Gulf Coast.

You come to the city of Tampa for a beach romp, and you're going to end up on your balcony at the Sheraton staring down at the Hillsborough River at a bunch of skulling college athletes and a few manatees.

Ok, we have a lot of cruise ship people who pass through the city on their way to the floating palace of their choice in the Port of Tampa, but they're only here for a couple of days before and after the cruise, and given recent incidents in the cruise industry, that after stay may be lengthened, but guaranteed the people who flock to the hotels here to recover from the cruise would not be in any shape to take advantage of all that Tampa has to offer.

Unless they want to go to Ybor City late on a Saturday night and get shot right in the butt, or worse, by one of the many party animals who gather there having come straight from their home, mostly likely a zoo.

Face it.

Orlando has Mickey and Donald and Goofy.

Key West has, well, they have Jimmy Buffet and the Six Toed Cats.

And Miami has South Beach and Joe's Stone Crabs.

We have Ye Mystic Crewe, and a few hundred thousand half naked people armed to the teeth with swords and knives and barrels and barrels of run.

Yes, we are talking about the once a year Gasparilla, whose success is usually measured in how many arrests were not made.

And therein lies Mayor Buckhorn's problem with Tampa's image as a tourist spot.

Ya can't have it both, we are either going to be a dynamic emerging center of commerce and industry and culture and will attract the best and the brightest here to help us do all of that.

Or we are going to be the city whose city logo should be a grinning Mayor Buckhorn, clad in pirate hat and bandana, brandishing a sword and yelling, "Come to Tampa, bring money. I am your captain now".

Go for it, Mr. Mayor, Exminer votes for the dynamic, emerging, bustling, energetic commerce center of the Southeastern U.S.

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