To the Editor:
I read with interest the article regarding Western Carolina University and the regional tourism conference with hopes of learning something new in the industry. Disappointment set in knowing that the same-old, same-old hadn’t changed over the years.
It was like watching one of the network soap operas, once in 2001 and again in 2010 ... pretty predictable.
• Tourism and its effect on the local economy: a storyline from the 1970s still being played as an ace card.
• The need for regional marketing cooperation: thought that was the responsibility of Smoky Mountain Host.
• Determining why visitors come to the mountains: fairly obvious, etc., etc.
I think the area tourism industry continues to lay a foundation and once that’s done, move over and lay another foundation without really building much of anything.
What needs to be done is to play the game smarter and move forward. But what I see is tourism wheels spinning in the same old ruts. While the bed tax concept has been historically good for a local community, it divides a region.
Too much bickering on the local levels. Monies and energies that could be used to accomplish much-needed goals are being wasted.
We will never be able to compete monetarily with Sevier County (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville) or the state of Florida; however, finding some “smart, out-of-the box” avenues for promotion just might be the ticket.