Letter: Destination marketing or destination management? | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Destination marketing or destination management?

This is not a choice. It’s the same old destination marketing goals: more marketing, more visitors, more development and more unsustainable growth. In fact, no one can even agree on what destination management means.

Another false choice is: “If the community wants more city amenities, we need to promote and market ourselves.” Most folks moved here for the natural amenities, not the artificial and human-constructed amenities. The real focus should be on protecting our natural amenities, which we cannot reconstruct.

We are told we can’t stop the increasing number of people visiting and moving here. If they are all going to come anyway, why do we continue to promote and market for them to come?

We seem to be stuck in a senseless, economic treadmill:

1. Destination marketing.

2. Increased visitation.

3. Increased promotion to second-home buyers.

4. Old businesses expand in anticipation of increased visitation.

5. New businesses start in anticipation of increased visitation.

6. The increased number of businesses now have a smaller piece of the tourist dollars.

7. We need more marketing/tourists to make these businesses viable.

This process has been going on for decades. It reminds me of the futile effort of a dog chasing its own tail and never quite catching it.

This constant marketing leaves us with the following dilemmas:

1. Constant problems with growth.

2. Lack of affordable housing.

3. Shortage of employees.

4. Traffic congestion.

5. Residents feel they have lost their community and voice.

6. Degradation of our unique natural amenities.

7. Loss of the attractive community that fuels our economy.

There is the suggestion that destination management could educate our visitors before and during their visit to reduce impacts mentioned above. Rocky Mountain National Park attempted this during the pandemic and high visitation periods. In the end, it failed, and they are turning to controlling numbers and timing of visitation. … Maybe that is our solution?

Finding a balance between the economic development organizations and the unorganized citizen population that wants to maintain community is an unfair match up. We have put off the solutions to these challenges for so long it has become almost insurmountable, much like avoiding the solutions to climate change.

Typical of human nature, unless we are between a rock and hard place ($20 per gallon gas, multiple low snow years or a long-lasting pandemic), we usually do little to change our future. So why wait until the catastrophe happens? Please tell the city and county to protect what we have before it’s gone.

John Spezia

Steamboat Springs

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