Having new people on City Council is an opportunity for new thinking. Too long El Paso's tourism industry and public relations has been dominated by the narrow interests of the Convention and Visitors Bureau under the Philadelphia company, SMG, which manages convention and entertainment venues for cities. (Their work includes stadiums.) They make their money by filling seats and hotel rooms not by heritage, history and culture - those enduring qualities that sustain a people.
The presentation included discussions about Hueco Tanks Historic Site, the Mission Trail, the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Historic Trail, the Oñate Crossing/Hart's Mill/Old Fort Bliss, and the Lincoln Center.
It was pointed out that Mexico is beginning to focus its tourism advertising on the border communities of Chihuahua. Likewise, New Mexico which has long emphasized the northern half of the State is now shining light on the southern half. Where will El Paso be with these trends in regional tourism? Probably with dumb and expensive ad campaigns such as "El Paso: It's All Good". As someone in yesterday's group pointed out: other places don't need to advertise that they are good. They already know it.
Heritage tourism is a potential billion dollar plus industry for the City of El Paso. One veteran observer stated: "The CVB needs to be turned upside down."
Here's my take on "It's All Good":
|Destruction of wildlife habitat in Upper Valley El Paso|
|Demolition of Trost Building in Downtown El Paso.|
|Ubiquitous litter in El Paso.|