Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wine Tourism Conference - Tourism Doesn’t Come Without Cost

Wine Tourism Conference Presentations and Conclusions Aside,
Tourism Doesn’t Come Without Cost
By John Olney Nov 27, 2011

Paul Franson wrote his summary review comments about the recently held “Wine Tourism Conference” (Nov. 16-17) in his article, “Wine Tourism Brings People and Profit - Napa hosts Wine Tourism Conference: Why and how to promote your region.” for the publication, “Wines & Vines,( published on its web site ( with date Nov 22). You can read more about the conference and its speakers by visiting the web site

Tickets to the event were $350 each. I could not afford such expensive tickets to attend this undoubtedly prestigious event focused on such an important element of the winegrowing industry of the counties, sub-regions and states of the American Winegrowing Industry in which many of us are involved through study, participation, and writing about it.

Mr. Franson says: “Allen Shoup best summarized the appeal of tourism, however: “Tourism brings in dollars without the need for homes, schools, hospitals and other services. On top of that, tourism creates jobs and makes people happy.”

I find Mr. Shoup’s quoted comment rather interesting. It is, in my opinion, an excellent example of an ox·y·mo·ron: a statement in which incongruous or contradictory concepts are said in the same breath. A couple of examples: “deafening silence, jumbo shrimp, etc.”

He seems to say that tourism increases revenues to a community without requiring reciprocal infrastructure costs. Then he appears to claim that that same tourism creates jobs. Somehow or other I fail to make the same connection that he makes. If tourism creates jobs then it follows that those so employed require housing, roads to get to and from work and their homes, merchants to provide goods, schools for their children, and all the other services that are provided to those in a community not employed directly by tourism.

And, by the way hospitals are needed for the tourists and the service industry employees. How often do we hear about car and pedestrian accidents, heart attacks and clogged throats at restaurants and hotels, recreational boating incidents, and more?

Who is going to pay for the expansion and maintenance of the expanded road system required to accommodate the tourist and those who fill the jobs to provide services to them?

Where are the dollars to provide for the expanded medical, educational, recreational, etc. services to support the tourists in distress and those who fill the jobs created by and for tourism?

Mr. Franson also gives credit to Mr. Clay Gregory, Legendary Napa Valley ( Napa Valley tourism agency), “….for helping to sell a Tourism Improvement District [TID] that adds 2% to lodgings costs to fund promotion. ” I have not yet heard of a tax being collected -- exclusively earmarked for and untouchable by government bodies -- to pay for the costs of the expansion of the infrastructural needs, or for the costs of operation & maintenance of just the existing infrastructure that would be required by an effective tourism promotion campaign until additional infrastructural needs can be constructed.

I am certainly in favor of tourism but not at the expense of not controlling its expansion without developing the co-existent revenue generation plan to support the costs of the changes that we will need to be made to the infrastructure modifications to accommodate growth in tourism and all that such growth requires.

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