The kids are out of school and vacation season has official begun. Pack the minivan, start your engines, and see who owns the checkered flag at the Wright Memorial Bridge.
Over the weekend, as we experienced scorching temperatures, I was thinking about how ocean breezes would cut the “feels like” temperatures to bearable. Just think walks on the beach, watching the ocean, snoozing under an umbrella (no sunburns for me) and breakfast at Nags Head Pier Restaurant.
No worries about tourism at any of the barrier islands. Seriously, do you know anyone who does not like the beach? The only thing better is a beach without people.
Tourism can be fickle. The Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach or any beach always draws a crowd when it is warm; not just the East Coast but year round in Florida or other sunshine states.
If you do not have sun and sand, how do you attract tourism dollars? Tourism is the icing on the cake for localities with a specific attraction.
The Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce (H/PG) held its third tourism workshop, which helped the group focus on “assets we have and those we need to develop to succeed in a competitive travel and tourism market,” said Becky McDonough, CEO of the H/PG Chamber. She referenced Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s recent announcement that Virginia’s tourism revenues reached $22.4 billion in 2014 – a 4.1 percent increase over 2013. Tourism supported 216,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in-state and local revenue last year. Local statistics for 2014 are not yet available.”
The group, which also included Petersburg and FOLAR (Friends of the Lower Appomattox River) and others, concluded that developing the Appomattox riverfront would be a tourism tool that could further their plans for increasing the number of visitors and dollars to the locality.
Riverfront development in Chesterfield on the James could not hurt our area. We already have the cornerstone with Henricus Historical Park, why would we not use our connection with history to increase tourism dollars?
We have a bounty of historic sites to develop, and, while I believe sports tourism is an opportunity, it makes more sense to use what we have in our colonial and Civil War sites.