Tourism has increased in the past 24 years, said the congressman, who is an outdoors enthusiast. He pointed to such projects as The Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail and others.Swell.
"We are getting a huge amount of visitation from all over the country," he said. "The Virginia Creeper Trail has become a tremendous success. Damascus has been revived and is now a tourism destination."
"It's a clean, non-polluting industry," he said. "It is also recession-proof. We've only begun to tap that potential."
At what point does someone start asking the obvious?:
- What is that "huge amount," Rick? Can you put a dollar figure to it? We can tally the millions that have been emptied into that hopper; what exactly has it spit out?
- How can you claim, in the same breath, that "[t]ourism has increased in the past 24 years" and yet we've "only begun to tap" that potential? After a quarter of a century of trying, we've just begun to see results? If this is a long-term strategy, tell us how many centuries from now can we expect to have achieved full "tapping?"
- Define this for us: "The Virginia Creeper Trail has become a tremendous success." By what standard? According to a study I read, fully 91% of the people who walk the trail are "day-users," meaning they drive in, hike, and drive out at the end of the day. Do we consider it a success if they stop at a lemonade stand along the route? It's time to quantify it for us, Rick. Something with a dollar figure attached and not this "huge" and "tremendous" crap.
At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I'll speak for the taxpayers of Southwest Virginia. You've sold us this bill of goods for years now. Most of the citizenry have bought into the snake oil (we can't very well argue against "a clean, non-polluting industry" that is "also recession-proof") and most patiently await results.
But, there are those of us who look at the demographics and the economics and are growing impatient. We feel we're long past due for a reckoning. And it's coming, pal. Sooner rather than later.
Just speaking for myself, November 7 isn't soon enough.