I'm actually going to begin this letter with two reasons that will not attract tourists to our area. First is our latest attraction, the $18,000 sea dragon, which incidentally could have been built by local people for probably less than $5,000 and would last a lot longer. The second item that will not draw tourists to the community is the proposed $80,000 bandstand. Gimmicks like these will not draw tourists. When we do have quality musical events here they are normally small groups in small venues. Nothing else needs to be said about the dragon.
Now to the real point of this letter. I volunteer at the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau (LBPVB) and regularly see the quality paid employees as well as other volunteers in action. The paid employees work very hard to promote tourism for the entire peninsula. The volunteers, under their guidance, do an excellent job also and promote all areas of the peninsula equally.
There are about six reasons that tourists come to this community. Two are cleaner beaches than most other coastal communities and a beautiful ocean. Two others are the excellent places to stay (motels, RV Parks, Bed and Breakfasts) as well; as great places to eat. Another reason for tourists are, of course the great events that take place on the Peninsula such as the Kite Festival, Clamshell Railroad Days, Rod Run, Jazz and Oyster Festival, Garlic Festival as well as the Saturday Market. There are many others too numerous to mention. Another reason for tourists coming here are the museums - Heritage, Kite, Cranberry and one that I try to point out to people in the summer, the Willapabay Information Center. There are other reasons for tourists to be here but, as far as I'm concerned, none of them need a dragon or a bandstand.
Two others need to be mentioned in this letter because of their valuable contribution to community promotion, Carol Zahorsky and Keleigh Schwartz of Beachdog.com. Carol has the marketing contract and does a fabulous job and Keleigh produces the Beach Vacation Planner as well as the website for the Peninsula, www.beachdog.com.
I will point out that almost every day that I work I receive phone calls from folks asking about our area who have seen advertising or the peninsula web site and often comment about the outstanding quality of both. Almost every day a visitor comes through the front door of the facility and comments about the friendliness, cleanliness, and valuable information that they receive. I have often heard the comment, "This is best visitors facility that I've been in."
One last thing is a note to the business owners and others who choose not to join the LBPVB. You are making a big mistake as the cost is pretty minimal and you will lose more money than you save because of a lack of membership. We do promote everyone who is a member and, over a season, belonging to the LBPVB will actually make money for you.