Tourism: the love/hate relationship

An editorial looking at the cost and effect of tourism.

Tourism is the future.

Or I suppose the more common phrase around here is, tourism is the future of Golden.

I hear that phrase all the time, and the more I interview tourism-based business owners and workers, the more I realize how important tourists are to the local economy.

I didn’t grow up in a tourism town, but the six months I spent in the Okanagan made me see some of the pitfalls, or maybe a better word is annoyances, that come with being a tourist destination.

The people in Vernon, where I lived, referred to May Long Weekend as “Invasion of the Red License Plates.”

Careless drivers race through the community, outdoor enthusiasts don’t give the same respect to the area that locals would (leaving garbage, wrecking trails, and bothering wildlife), the town is just plain busy, and I suspect many people move to communities like these to get away from the busy cities.

And anyone who has worked in the customer service industry knows how difficult it can be to deal with an angry, frustrated tourist.

However, the good side of tourism, I firmly believe, far outweighs the negative side.

Happy people on vacations from all over the world, are looking at the attractions around town with an enthusiam and sense of awe that you lose after living in a place for a while.

More times than I can count, I’ve struck up a conversation with a happy traveller in a pub or on the street, listening to the stories of their adventures around town, and how different it is from wherever they came from.

It’s a breath of fresh air.

There are many different adventure tourism companies around: rafters, paragliders, ATVers, snowmobilers, and even the ski hill.

I have heard the argument that those companies don’t employ true locals, they employ transients in their 20s who stick around for a season or two and then move on.

But for that season or two, they are living in Golden, paying rent, buying groceries, eating at local restaurants and shopping in local stores.

I have a friend who works in the wedding industry, and of the 42 weddings booked this season, only one is local.

Tourism brings in tourists, workers, busixnesses, and most importantly, money.

A few weeks ago the Golden Star conducted an informal (non-scientific) online poll, asking whether people would like to see more tourists in Golden.

Thirty per cent of the people who answered the question said no, they wouldn’t like to see more tourists around town.

I understand that there are families who have lived in Golden for generations, and don’t want to see the town they helped build change.

And the majority of people who participated in the poll voted for more tourism.

But this figure still astounds me.

Since long before I got here, tourism has been the life blood of this community.

I first arrived in Golden just before last fall’s municipal election. I interviewed many of the candidates, and was at the organized debates.

One common theme with all the candidates, and many of the questions posed at the debates was how the Town planned to bring more tourists into the community.

It’s an important question, and one I hope will remain in the spotlight during the upcoming byelection.

I only hope that the 30 per cent of people who don’t want to see tourism grow, realize the ways it could improve life for the people in Golden.

 

Just Posted

Category 3 fires to be prohibited in Southeast Fire District

The prohibition will take effect at noon on Wednesday, June 12

Editorial: We’re already ambassadors to our community

There are many ways to spend your extra time in Golden. Have… Continue reading

Data shows nine years of Tourism Golden growth

Tourism Golden has seen its ninth consecutive year of substantial growth in… Continue reading

Protecting small mammals after logging near Golden

A team of biologists are keeping an eye on small mammals in… Continue reading

Business profile: IGA celebrates 50 years of business in Golden

IGA has been providing the Town of Golden with their groceries for… Continue reading

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Most Read