Tourists are missing out if they pass us by.
I've been fortunate to have access to a summer cabin for most of my life. My parents bought a place on the Sunshine Coast when I was a kid, and I used to spend the better part of the summer up there.
When I was dating my future wife, we'd jump on the motorcycle each weekend and head over. We even dreamed of living there in the summer and commuting into town for work.
Then we moved to Tsawwassen, and we've hardly been up since.
It's not the ferry lineup, it's not the fact the bike has been replaced by a minivan and it's not that we now have three extra people to take with us. It's because of the feeling we contemplated before - living in a summer haven and commuting to work - we found right here.
During the summer, we have Centennial Beach, Ladner Village Market, Splashdown, Tour de Delta and the Tsawwassen Sun Festival.
Toss in a BIA Movie Night and we can always find something fun to do in our own back yard.
If it rains, we catch up on all the stuff we've DVR'd (don't tell me who won the Tour de France, I'm still on Stage 14).
While we enjoy spending the summer in our own little piece of heaven, it's been interesting to read the back and forth in the media regarding Delta's tourism program. Coun. Sylvia Bishop believes we need a tourism champion, while the mayor countered that the municipality has made a significant investment in tourism. I think they are both right, in their own way.
I like the strategy outlined by the mayor - provide funds to an outside group that can run the program. Give it the resources to be successful, and get out of the way.
I also think Bishop is right to ask if it is working or not. Making the money available is the first part; making sure it is working is important, too. After all, it is tax dollars being used here instead of somewhere else.
Regardless of the work invested to attract tourists, we have to look the result. A drop of 12 per cent in visitor traffic to the tourist info centre is only one measure, and not a positive one at that. It would be interesting to know if we had a similar drop in visitors or economic activity, but those are very tough measures to find. We should also compare it to the broader tourism numbers province-wide to really see how we are doing.
Here's my question: Is Delta a destination or a stop along the way to somewhere else? If we consider Delta a destination, we have a lot of competition for tourist dollars. If we are a stop on a longer journey, we might be able to siphon off a few dollars here and there, without having to invest as much to attract them. Both are viable options, but the strategy to capitalize on each is very different.
You don't have to convince me, though. I know what lies down the exit from the highway, and I'm staying.
But I haven't done my share helping out at the cabin for a while, my dad tells me. Guess I'll have to sacrifice and leave for a few days.