November 22, 2017

Our View: Be hospitable to visitors

Posted

With summer fast approaching, it makes sense to plan weekend events and festivals in the county in order to increase the flow of steady tourists to the area and increase profits, but all of that is for naught if tourists aren’t experiencing good manners and hospitality.

To keep a small-town economy booming, residents and business owners must be hospitable not only to locals, but also to tourists. In many cases, the tourist season is what keeps businesses afloat year-round.

While tourism is an essential part of this area’s economy, the area is no stranger to feelings of resentment and sometimes even animosity toward tourists.

Unfortunately, these feelings are not always baseless, as tourists can also mean extra noise, litter and crowds — things people in the city don’t necessarily think twice about, but that can be foreign and unpleasant to rural residents. Sometimes locals can’t help feeling tourists’ lack of respect for the area we live in year-round.

There are always going to be bad eggs, so one of the best ways to show hospitality is to remember not to generalize. Not everyone is like that, and there are residents who show an equal amount of disrespect to the area. Tourists are people like us, and more than that, many are friends and family of residents and pay good money to visit our area.

They also travel great distances to recreate here. When dealing with even the most difficult customer, be mindful that our hospitality and laid-back ways are part of what enticed them here, even if they don’t realize it themselves.

Hospitality should include talking well of other businesses and residents while also treating guests and locals with respect and helpfulness. It’s a good idea to promote other tourist stops — even if they are competitors — so people can get a good feel for the area before choosing to stay or head to a more friendly location. In today’s technological era, it is vital to keep a positive online presence as well.

If tourists are greeted with feelings of animosity, not only will they feel unwelcome, but a dialog will not be started — there will be no chance of an understanding being reached. So maybe some will not want to hear your concerns about their impact; however, you might be surprised what can be accomplished with a friendly tone and a level head.

After all, it is important to get tourists not only to visit, but also to want to return year after year. By increasing awareness of local annual events and other businesses for tourists to visit, we will be ensuring that more people will make our communities yearly

destinations.

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