Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Too Many in Tourism May Suffer Lack of Mental Character

Too often tourism interests are viewed as superficial because, well, they often are!  Something that sets apart the “best from the rest” among community/destination marketing executives across the country these days is the ability to be “selfless.”

Take outdoor billboards for instance.  Ostensibly useful, cute and quaint in the century before last, today in obsolescence, scientific surveys show billboards are viewed by 7 out of 10 residents as a detraction from communities and a defacement of the scenic landscape.

Unlike the value of other advertising that, beyond the advertiser’s message, subsidizes the creation of or access to overall content in newspapers and magazines and on television, radio and the Internet, billboards provide no valued-added content in return for the desecration they cause while contributing to the ad clutter that is dramatically eroding the  effectiveness of all advertising and creating a backlash among consumers.188186_147711958629510_4221682_n

So you’d think that opposing outdoor billboards and working for their elimination should be a slam dunk for tourism interests and especially community/destination marketing execs, right?

But while many acknowledge the threat, instead of showing leadership and speaking out selflessly on behalf of the very destinations upon which they rely, the majority of tourism interests and DMO execs alike sit on their hands, as a group did recently in North Carolina  because, “oh my,” by speaking up they might lose some donated advertising space.

Equally pathetic, in another very scenic state out west, a DMO bragged about using a digital billboard to communicate the very importance of the tourism, which billboards, by their nature, desecrate.  Tourism isn’t alone in the failure to “get it.”  Other types of organizations, even in communities that ban billboards, like mine, will slip their use in proposals for public funding right under the noses of elected officials.

Don’t get me wrong, the failure by many tourism interests to “get it” has nothing to do with IQ or mental force but it definitely shows a lack of mental character including the courage to “selflessly” defend destination integrity.

So if your community is seeking “best from the rest” leadership in its pursuit of visitor-centric economic and cultural development, look for someone with courage, mental character and the ability to be “selfless.”

For anyone feeling deficient, science shows selflessness can be “learned,” but courage and passion, probably not.  And as a tourism blogger often laments, “just plain stooopid is forever.”

No comments: