Opinion: Are we future ready on Tahoe’s South Shore?
Tribune Opinion Columnist
One of the only things we can count on in life is that tomorrow will look differently than today did. This is a proven tenet, whether looking at our personal lives or at community and country. One only has to look inside themselves to witness their personal evolution, while a drive down Highway 50 exposes a community in transition; and a few minutes spent looking at the national news reveals startling changes in polarizing politics, technology, along with ISIS and terrorist reports.
Tahoe Chamber and Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (LTVA) both consistently strive to stay abreast with and ahead of international and regional trends in order to ensure that our community is poised to sustain and thrive in the face of change. We scan for tourism trends, economic developments and societal transitions.
Consider for a moment that in California travel generates 200 million visitors spending in excess of $95.1 billion, supporting 875,000 jobs and putting $6.1 billion right into state and local government coffers in the form of Transit Occupancy Taxes and sales tax.
For our community, tourism dollars are critical to our ongoing police, fire, roads and recreational facilities and maintenance, with 50 percent of our jobs directly related to tourism. An important component of this fragile ecosystem is ensuring we have a well-trained workforce to fill existing and future jobs. But, it is only when we are armed with current information as business owners, managers and leaders that we are able to make informed decisions about business products, services, marketing and hiring to serve those visitors and our residents.
One significant change in California and around the world is who is traveling and how they are traveling. Visitors are arriving in the U.S. from emerging markets such as India, China and beyond; and both international and domestic travelers are seeking more authentic and experiential opportunities. And so, it seems, are younger people who are determining where they will put down roots and raise families. Both groups are more educated, experienced, independent, conservation-minded and insistent on their values being met.
Our intention is to bring you an opportunity to dive in with curiosity on what it means for our community to be “future ready.” Hence, the LTVA and Tahoe Chamber are bringing you a forum on April 26 to empower you as a community citizen, leader, employee, manager or business owner to improve your personal financial well-being and/or that of your employees and community. We believe that if you leave the forum more informed about tomorrow’s visitors’ and residents’ needs and desires, you will be better prepared to create economic growth opportunities for yourself and others. You will have confidence in what is on the horizon and how you best can leverage existing resources for yourself or your business.
I hope you will join us for lunch April 26 to hear from three very different and fascinating speakers to be followed by a community Q&A. Jason Broadwater is a creative entrepreneur founding RevenFlo (an internet marketing company in Rock Hill, South Carolina) and Givolio (an app and online tool for giving). He speaks on the new economy’s impact on community development and also serves as a fellow of the Innovation in Economic Development Executive Leadership Program at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Lynn Carpenter is the vice president of marketing for Visit California. Lynn oversees all of Visit California’s marketing, including advertising, cooperative promotions, travel trade and web. She will share some secrets of how this organization markets California and how our region does and can leverage that investment.
Carl Ribaudo is a strategic thinker, thought leader and innovator in the tourism industry. As the founder and president of SMG Consulting, he provides a wide range of services including marketing research and strategies, tourism economic analysis and most recently has developed programs to assist organizations and destinations develop effective change strategies. Ribaudo will speak to what our competition is doing and what we might learn from them.
More information on the April 26 Future Ready Lunch and Forum can be found at http://www.tahoechamber.org.
“B” Gorman, J.D., A.C.E. is the president/CEO of the Tahoe Chamber.