Letter: What is the plan?
Destination marketing or management is not much of a choice. Is it the same old destination marketing approach: more marketing, more visitors, more development and more unsustainable growth? There is no specific plan for destination management or what sustainable management means at this time, either.
Most folks moved or visit here for the natural amenities and a real community, not the artificial and human constructed amenities. The real focus should be on protecting our natural amenities and community, which we cannot replace.
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, where the increased number of new and expanding businesses and developments have a smaller piece of the tourist dollars. So we need more marketing/tourists to make these businesses and developments viable.
This constant marketing leaves us with the following combination of problems: lack of affordable housing, shortage of employees, residents who feel they have lost their community and voice and a degradation of our unique natural amenities.
Some suggest that destination management could educate our visitors about trash, where to go with less people, avoiding wildlife and being nice to locals before and during their visit to reduce impacts mentioned above. Maybe … but this does not resolve those impacts, and there is still the problem of “overcrowding” and the negative impacts to our community.
When unorganized community citizens are in competition with economic development organizations, they are not always heard. For example, Steamboat Springs City Council held a community meeting at the Steamboat Airport around 1999 to discuss funding support for the Chamber. The executive director of the Chamber promised council they would find another source of marketing funds if they received their funding from the city for that year. That was 22 years ago.
Do we have to wait any longer? The lodging/resort/chamber group needs to come up with a sustainable plan and a funding source for marketing and management.
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 we lose our community? Please tell City Council to protect what we have before it’s gone.
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Rather than protest at a rally to raise awareness of an alleged problem, Steamboat Springs High School students should file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.