Monday, April 22, 2024

Tourists, welcome

| May 26, 2020 11:06 AM

Where would we be without tourists?

Sorry, but those of you jumping up and down for joy at the prospect of a weak tourism season are missing the much bigger picture. And admit it: How many of you were tourists at some point before moving here?

While some extra traffic on our streets and sidewalks can cramp leisurely styles on warm sunset evenings, the bodies attached to those legs and wheels infuse millions of dollars into North Idaho’s economy every summer. Thanks to a virus you might have heard about, many of those big bucks are in jeopardy this year.

Do you really want to see what happens if they don’t materialize?

According to the article in this issue by Bill Buley, Idaho’s $3.7 billion tourism industry employs more than 45,800 Idahoans and generates $475 million in local, state and federal tax revenues. That amounts to every Idaho household receiving the equivalent of a $740 stimulus package toward their taxes every year.

But there’s more to it than that. Few things are more satisfying than living someplace so many others can only dream of calling home. When tourists come calling, it’s a compliment to the region and a testament to the work locals have done to keep this place pristine and inviting.

Virus be damned. It’s time to open our doors and our grateful hearts to visitors we depend upon for a nice slice of our quality of life.

— Mike Patrick, editor