I know that you have heard me say, on more than one occasion I’m sure, that “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” and I’m going to do it again.
The following is excerpted from the Golden Star dated January 5, 1940, some 73 years ago. The headline read “Prepare for Tourists.”
“For the past few years strong efforts have been made by the Board of Trade of the various centres to have the Big Bend Highway completed and opened for traffic. This year will see the official opening – but are we ready for it?
According to reliable estimates there will be thousands of cars pass through Golden over this highway during the coming summer. What benefit will this traffic be to our town? How can we accommodate those who might desire to stay here? What entertainment do we have to offer? Furthermore, what attractions have we developed to induce those travelers to spend a few days in our midst?
True, The Rod and Gun Club has been stocking the lakes in the district yearly with fish, while we have a bountiful supply of game for the hunter, but the summer tourist does not come during the hunting season, and a great many do not enjoy fishing.
Some years ago a start was made to lay out a golf course, and a couple of greens were made. Interest lagged and the effort of the faithful few was all for nought. This ground can still be made into a respectable course with little effort and expense.
In the matter of accommodation, we have need for a great many additional cabins and grounds for tourist campers, while there it is doubtful if there is sufficient restaurant accommodations during the travel season (if estimate of motorists is anything like accurate.)
A tourist on a holiday trip must have several requirements. Reasonably good roads, attractive scenery and routing, and satisfaction in the way of entertainment and accommodation. We have the scenery – the best on the continent – the rest is up to us.
If the original travelers over the Big Bend Highway are satisfied, then there will be no need to worry about future travel; but should they be dissatisfied for any reason, the most scenic drive on this hemisphere will suffer and gradually dive entirely.
Surely the expenditure of several million dollars on the Big Bend Highway, and the money spent on the Kicking Horse Trail and other approach roads, should warrant an effort by all concerned to make and keep the travelling public satisfied and content to use this scenic route.
The coming season should be a banner one for tourist travel in Canada. The conflict in Europe will discourage traffic to that country.
Let us, therefore, get united action as soon as weather conditions allow, to be prepared for the greatest tourist season this district has ever experienced.”
I’m sure that I don’t have to point out the similarities we still face today. The predictions of 40 years ago that thousands of tourists would pass through Golden has definitely come true – but they are still just passing through. Most just believing that what they see on the highway is all there is.
Until we figure out as a community, how to bring them off the highway and in to Golden they will continue to pass through with a glance at the scenery on their way by.
The odd one that is interested enough to come down town will not be greeted with the level of service they expect because we are not training our front line service people to be ambassadors for our community.
In fact, I’ve been in several lineups in the past couple of years where I learned about parties and their participants, who sells drugs and the restaurants to avoid.
Lets work together to bring the Superhost program back to Golden and get everyone selling Golden in a positive, professional manner and keep them for those extra days.
As they said in the 1940 article “We have the scenery – the best on the continent – the rest is up to us.”