It is tourist season! Hooray for them. I know that we who are blessed to live here enjoy the less traffic along with the peace and quiet. So do the tourists. I remember coming to Yosemite and Bass Lake on vacations with my family. We always came in August so we always saw this area during the busier times and yet having driven here from Los Angeles it seemed so very tranquil.
That is what the visitors seek; the peace and quiet. Since they do not know how wonderfully quiet it is in the off-season, they are delighted with what they do see and experience.
We need to make sure that we help them have a great time so that they return year after year. While I am a public school educator I am also in the tourist industry. We are all in that industry as we all depend upon it to support this area. If the tourists fail to return, this place will dry up and disappear. The restaurants would close their doors because the local trade just isn't enough. Same with the gasoline stations and the hotels and motels. Those people who are employed there would leave to find jobs where the tourists are visiting and then the dominos would begin to fall.
The local stores would not have the number of customers after the tourists and service folks have departed and then they begin to layoff folks. So every store and industry in the area is cutting back and going out of business. The last guy remaining can just turn off the light and depart.
Given that we all understand that we all benefit from those tourists and their dollars, we need to help enhance their vacation visits to our area. Just last weekend during the Triathlon a number of the athletes commented on the friendliness of the folks who reside here. One guy shared with me that he talked with more Bass Lakers this weekend than he has talked with his own neighbors in Orange County in the past two years! He stated, "I am coming back here again; for sure!"
There are many things we can share with our visiting friends. We can offer suggestions for dining experiences that we enjoy. They recognize the fast food places and they frequent them to be sure but the visitors don't know about Woody's, Millers, The Forks, Ducey's, Crab Cakes, Pizza Factory, El Cid's DiCiccos, Todd's, Sweetwater, and the many other fine establishments. They may not know we have a five star dining experience in Erna's Elderberry House and they surely don't know about the Hot Dog cart outside of the Sierra Star office across the street from the phone company.
Tell the folks about the Melodrama productions along with directions to the local museums. Don't forget to tell them about the Children's Museum of the Sierra. Let them know that they and their family are welcomed in any one of our local houses of worship and be sure to tell them about the great movies that show each week at the Met Cinema.
Encourage them to shop locally for their picnic supplies and then share with them great spots to picnic in Yosemite, around Bass Lake, or on a trail. Remind them that we get to enjoy stars in the sky most evenings and maybe lend them a "Star Chart" like I do with the visitors on my street at Bass Lake.
Economists tell us that every tourist dollar spent in an area generates $12 into the local economy before it leaves the area. Do the math!
It is fun to see them return and to watch the families that understand time together on a vacation is priceless. Become an ambassador of our area to our visitors. Treat them as we would want to be treated.
They are coming so let's get ready and make them feel welcome here.