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Some truths about ‘The Tourism Effect’

First, why does the Herald have “The Tourism Effect“ column? It is a mouthpiece for Visit Durango to blab on about what a great job they do and how we would not have a decent life here without them.

True: Tourism is presently a large part of our economy and makes Durango a fun, lively place. It also has some negative effects.

True: Rachel Brown, Visit Durango’s executive director who writes these columns, makes over $105,000 a year. This is four to five times the pay of the average tourist job.

True: Most of the lodgers tax goes to tourism marketing. None of it goes to provide housing, health care and other services for tourism employees.

True: Durango could use the lodgers tax to encourage higher-quality and better-paying jobs. For example, New Mexico has encouraged the film industry, which pays an average wage of over $56,000 a year.

True: Many Durango start-up companies don't stay here because of lack of housing for employees and other reasons (OK, not all due to just tourism).

True: The goals of VD include environmental responsibility and the community, but its 12-member board is composed almost entirely of people with an interest in bringing more tourists here. It does not include one environmentalist or a person from a community group.

The last truth: Other towns in Colorado have listened to their residents and have literally stopped all spending for tourism advertising (Telluride and Crested Butte). Maybe we need to do the same?

Dave Mehan