Tourism dollars could help reduce IOW deficit

Published 11:53 am Saturday, January 11, 2014

To the Editor:

The financial disaster that looms over the county in the next few years is actually the brainchild of the previous Board of Supervisors that were voted out of office a few years ago.

What is now a $400,000 hole will balloon into a $10 million hole in just a couple of years. Yowza! The idea of a hole that large is akin to the $17 trillion our nation faces as a whole. It’s shocking.

Our current board faces a daunting task, of trying to continue to maintain services while chopping this multi-million dollar spending chasm down to get things back in the black.

I do not envy the supervisors their task. But, each one of us has a duty – a civic duty – to offer ideas, suggestions and plans that can play a part in tackling this. Modern politics tell us to sit back and do nothing, while politicians tell us bunk that isn’t true and makes things worse. But civics, if they even teach that course any more in school, tells us that all of us, you and me, play just as much a role in our society and government, and that we all must work together.

So my offering is quite simple: Economics and the free market have made it clear, that tourism is a serious money-maker. If I asked you to give me $1, and in return I gave you back $5, you’d agree that it’s a good deal.

This is how tourism works. Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown – even Virginia Beach – thrive on tourism dollars that flood their communities each year. Williamsburg, with its 10,000 hotel rooms, provide higher paying jobs and flourishing businesses because of out-of-town dollars. Two years ago, Williamsburg was rated the No. 1 destination in America for families.

Our history here is just as rich. As one of the original eight counties in America, our roots from 1634 bring a lot to the table. We must invest in tourism. Gov. McDonnell increased Virginia’s tourism budget and the result was more films in production here: more jobs.

Our county must take advantage of this opportunity. Show our county pride and make sure those visiting families come here. Judy Winslow, as our tourism director, needs county support. We need that $5 return.


Dave Lyons