Tourism plan flawed

Posted: Tuesday, April 09, 2002

I have just read the tourism draft and I must say I was surprised and alarmed with it. It would appear Egret did not take the time to find out exactly what a CVB did or how it markets the community. The CVB is a member-driven organization and although it is responsible to market the community as a whole, it is most beholding to the members who support it through dues (and often substantial dues at that). Bed taxes are specific to them because those folks will benefit most. It takes time to cultivate relationships with cruise lines, convention contacts, trade show participants, overseas contacts and to have a "contract" awarded on a yearly review basis would be (excuse me) stupid. You could not plan a budget, solicit for conventions (often given as long as five years in advance) or know how to plan at all. This plan appears to be giving Egret a big chunk as an "advisor" and created a system that is already in existence and runs well already.

They have a new director (although the last two had done the job well and went on to bigger and better things). The CVB is not a city department (most CVB's are not) for the very reason that they do stay clear of specific politics. They already have a capable board with diverse members from many businesses and industry.

Where is the money to come from to support a $110,000 job (including benefits) and a second $45,000 job? The first is more than the current director makes and the second job would be underpaid! Where (in Juneau) would they find an office to rent for $30,000 a year including phones, office equipment, etc.? Not sure what community they could do that in, surely not Juneau! I will be greatly disappointed if this passes. If the CBJ goes with this plan then shame on them. If they allow a parallel organization to supervise the already existing one, shame on them. If they are unhappy with the current Convention and Visitors Bureau they need to talk to them, not cripple them, which this plan would do. Please read the plan carefully and then turn it away for the health of the community.

Government involvement in state tourism has in effect destroyed the marketing of the state. It would do the same to local marketing as well. Additionally, they have gone backward with the duties of the Harbor Department and the others. They are suggesting they do things they are not equipped for and that would most likely result in increasing their staffs as well. Think long and hard before going ahead with this very flawed plan.

Bea Findlay


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