Empire Editorial: Participate in online tourism poll

Posted: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

As promised, Juneau citizens are just a few days away from being able to participate directly in the first of five online polls associated with the City and Borough of Juneau's Tourism Management Planning Project. Although a bit overdue, the polling will begin 7 a.m. Saturday.

This type of survey is an historical first for Juneau. The polling will be done online via computers with the data gathered and processed very quickly to reveal the results at the end of each of the five surveys.

The city and its consultant, Egret Communications, have taken great care to ensure the integrity of this form of public information gathering. Therefore, each participant will be issued a personal identification number to be used to access the Web poll.

On Friday, some 17,000 registered voters will receive a mailing from the city containing the directions and PIN numbers. Residents should be on the lookout for an ivory-colored tri-fold brochure entitled "Web polls on tourism." Only the registered voter to whom they've been assigned can use the PIN numbers. Residents are urged to retain their PIN number, as this information will be used throughout the next seven weeks.

Registered voters who do not receive a PIN number in the mail but wish to participate in the poll may call the city at 586-5240 to get their number.

Residents (registered voters) who don't have a computer at home can use computers at any of the three city libraries, the UAS library and at the State Office Building. There is no cost associated with participating in the polling.

Each weekly poll will be activated at 7 a.m. on Saturday and close at 7 a.m. the following Thursday. The first three polls will occur over the next three consecutive weeks. After a two-week break for the Thanksgiving holiday, the final two weekly polls will be taken.

Polling results will be aggregated and also broken out by precinct. Students at Floyd Dryden and Dzantik'i Heeni Middle Schools have also been invited to participate in the poll. The results of each poll will be posted on the Internet and in the newspaper.

In this first poll, some fairly straightforward questions are asked to establish baseline data and management objectives. In subsequent polls more complex issues will be addressed, including the relationships and priorities necessary to arrive at a tourism plan that meets the needs of residents and the businesses that operate in Juneau.

The future of tourism worldwide has been impacted by the tragic events of Sept. 11. Juneau's economy is strongly linked to the future of its tourism industry. The issues of quality of life, noise, traffic, jobs, the overall health our local economy and opportunities for future generations weigh in the balance.

Juneau residents have already seen forward movement on pollution and trails. Flightseeing studies are almost finished and implementation of solutions is conceivable in near future. The tourism master plan is far more than a study; it is designed to produce action and results.

We hope to see broad participation in this process. This form of public input should prove to be extremely valuable, as it requires very little time and effort and should provide a very fair gauge of public opinion.

More information about the long-range tourism plan is available at juneauempire.com/tourism/ and www.cbjtourism.com.

Don Smith



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