Response to tourists is choice; we will benefit by being grateful

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Let us unify and build community in response to Les Palmer's column of March 12.

Les is saying that he is speaking for "We Kenai Peninsula residents," and he wants tourism made more palatable. He wonders how the hospitality industry "so called" can exist in this area. Because of the harm tourists are doing "customers are going to get the feeling that they are not welcome here and they will go elsewhere."

I believe we can model the ideal Kenai Peninsula resident for our young and old and project the Native tradition of "It is more blessed to give than receive" or the followers of Christ, who commanded that "We love our neighbors as ourselves as He loved all of us." (We are all only tourists on this planet.)

We can be grateful for every tourist, especially our fellow Alaskans who consider this their vacationland. Tourists are the second highest income producer in Alaska. Oil is No. 1. All of us benefit economically, and we do have a choice as to whether we want to benefit spiritually by sharing our love, caring, wealth and the blessings of this incredibly beautiful place on earth with those worldwide who come here so excited to share what we experience every day.

May our God bless every tourist and bless the residents of the Kenai who welcome them. We can always be thinking how we can unify our community family again with our warm hospitality for others and ourselves.

Jim Kuhnsman, Soldotna

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