How much tourism is enough? | Letter

(Editor’s note: All of the proceeds from the county lodging tax do not go toward promotions, as stated in the letter below. About half of the lodging tax proceeds goes towards promotions and half goes towards local events, like the county film festivals, and facilities, like museums and parks.)

Some time ago I made a visit of my own to the San Juan County Visitors Bureau. I learned it is mandatory that all proceeds from the lodging tax go into tourist promotion in one form or another: ads online, in print, radio and TV. And it’s really working; how many times so far this spring have you seen this on the Washington State Ferries’ website:

“Due to loading/unloading delays resulting from heavy vehicle traffic boarding the vessels, the M/V Chelan, M/V Yakima and M/V Hyak are now running an estimated 30 to 60 minutes behind schedule.”

So the question is, how much is enough?

Isn’t the island close to maxing out?

Isn’t San Juan Island famous enough? Instead of spending all that tax money on excessive publicity why not change the bureau’s mandate to spend some on something that would benefit everybody, not just those profiting from tourists?

Like streets. Lodging money added to the road budget might be enough to fix some of the embarrassing roads in town. Webb and Nichols come to mind. That would benefit tourists too; their cameras hanging out of the car wouldn’t bounce as much – much smoother movies. Maybe there would even be enough money to use real asphalt instead of chipseal!

Denny Kaill

San Juan Island