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LETTER: RVA Tourism Strategy Lacks Road Map

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"Accidental Tourists" included a quote from Mayor Dwight Jones that offers direct insight into his administration's inability to get anything done after five years of trying: "I mean, a plan is just pulling all of the stuff we're doing together."

That loud noise you just heard was the buzzer going off indicating a wrong answer. The purpose of a plan is to provide the reasons why and how you do stuff, not the other way around. Equally important, a plan defines what specific benefits are expected in return for doing stuff to make sure the stuff is worth doing. Finally, a plan offers one road map for all of the people doing different stuff and gives others, in this case the residents of Richmond, an understanding of what is being done in their name, why, and how they can help.

For me, the major specific benefit of tourism is the income and revenue it can bring to Richmond businesses and the city. The beauty of tourism is that it can happen fast, especially if you happen to be the City of Richmond in the middle of the five-year sesquicentennial of the Civil War and emancipation.

Our community desperately needs the benefits of tourism now, but that's not happening because we don't have a plan to make it happen. As a tourism commission member and the director of the Museum of the Confederacy, Waite Rawls, said, "We're missing a huge economic opportunity." Well, the mayor better get his stuff together quickly because he's going to need a really good plan to figure out how he's going to deal with hundreds of thousands of people for the 2015 bike race when there are only 18,000 hotels rooms in the region.

Rick Tatnall
Replenish Richmond

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