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Bed Tax editorial misses the mark, marketing is never a bad idea for local business

Posted: June 5, 2014 - 6:31pm  |  Updated: June 6, 2014 - 8:54am

Response to “Bed tax may not be the best route for the borough”. The individual who wrote this article was very well spoken and polite. To this individual, thank you for shedding light on your perspectives, however, I have to refute this opinion article. Do you remember the folk tale, The Little Red Hen? “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” Let’s take a look at the big picture, think with logic; Let’s think like a business man/woman for a minute. Do we market less when business booms? Do we market less in a recession? Do we market less when the fish numbers are low? Did you know that the 3 top reasons people come to Alaska are because of our mountains, glaciers and wildlife viewing?

The Kenai Peninsula is abundant with all three of these attractions. We are rebounding from the recession. Ask a local and look at the numbers. Seward and Cooper Landing anticipate a record year. In September, I personally look forward to hearing how well these communities prospered.

Weak salmon runs are a far greater issue. Weak salmon runs effect our tourism industry here on The Kenai as well as what I get to put into my freezer. Again, does that mean we market less? NO, we market harder playing the melodies the tourist love hearing, mountains, glaciers and wildlife. Don’t believe me, ask any entrepreneur whether marketing is important to their business. There were a few remarks that lead me to believe that a face to face conversation with the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council has not yet occurred.

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council has been asked several times, over many years, by the borough, to find a sustainable funding mechanism. This has been a requisite, not a “this is what we want” situation. To the Author of the opinion article - “Bed tax may not be the best route for the borough”, I challenge you to have a conversation with the Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council. She is very bright, very well spoken like yourself and will share absolute facts with you.

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council is the marketing arm for the Kenai Peninsula. Anchorage has their marketing arm with a budget of around 7 million dollars, Mat-Su’s around $850 thousand and Fairbanks is around $2.9 million dollars. Your marketing arm is talented, solely focused on the benefit of the Kenai Peninsula’s economy. Seriously, the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council’s mission is “To promote, develop and coordinate visitation to the Kenai Peninsula, and create an awareness and understanding of tourism’s effect on, and enhancement of, the local economy and residents’ quality of life.” That’s good for you, me and business right? The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council and the tourism industry’s businesses are literally squeezing diamonds out of rocks to the benefit of all Kenai Peninsula residents. I ask you, when is marketing a bad idea? We can only reap what we sow.

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jford
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jford 06/08/14 - 07:01 am
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Marketing

The question is do we use public tax money to market private business?

Tourism isn't the only thing that brings people to the area, do we use tax money to market other business? No, we do not.

Business interests should take care of their own marketing and be responsible for their own profits. Not rely on public funds to support their private profits.

The argument is always made that more and more tourists coming will create more sales tax. Maybe so, but more and more tourists will create more of a burden which will require more infrastructure to support more tourists. Additionally, more tourists will further degrade quality of life for residents.

More and more tourists will put more stress on our already fully utilized parks, rivers and streams. Much of the recreational opportunities and wilderness qualities many people moved here for are now over-run with too many tourists, wilderness is degraded, river banks are churned to mud, our parks are certainly not the quite camping sites of yesterday. More tourists won't help improve any of that.

I've got a hunch most residents aren't in any hurry to see our community turned into a tourist oriented theme park. Most residents don't care to compete for space with parking lot campers when they go to the grocery store.

When too much of a good thing becomes not such a good thing, it's time to look beyond the short term profits of tourism. There is a limit, beyond which even the tourists will start to avoid the change. Much of that is already happening. Because of the overcrowding, many tourists are seeking less crowded destinations, that's the nature of tourism all over.

Tourism, once it's over-sold, it loses it's luster. Even the tourists can sense when they're being over-sold. More and more tourism will not produce a positive result.

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