Record editorial: Sustainable tourism must still sustain the Park City economy |

Record editorial: Sustainable tourism must still sustain the Park City economy

Record editorial: Sustainable tourism must still sustain the Park City economy

Ask a Park City retiree about tourism and the person may rattle off complaints about traffic, lines at restaurants or a parking shortage.

Ask a member of the Park City workforce about tourism, however, and the answer could be quite different as the person talks of their next paycheck and the due date for rent.

As the community continues discussions about the future of local tourism, the chasms between the various sides of the issue cannot be dismissed.

The Park City Chamber/Bureau is leading the important work of authoring a plan for what is known as sustainable tourism, or, essentially, a sort of tourism that does not crush a community. Although the efforts are not a direct result of the overwhelming crowds of the recently concluded ski season, the discussions are unfolding with so many people still displeased with what transpired during the winter. The balance between the citizenry of Park City and the visitors to Park City, long a delicate one, clearly was unbalanced.

The talks, then, will likely be tilted toward those who are most worried about the tourism industry. Their concerns are undoubtedly important since it will be difficult to pursue the worthy ideals of sustainable tourism if coming ski seasons resemble the one of 2021-2022. The overcrowding and irritability we all witnessed hardly belong in a plan for sustainable tourism.

But those who are most worried cannot be granted the opportunity to control the upcoming talks about tourism. There are other interests that will be crucial to the dialogue, including, perhaps most importantly, the substantial segment of the population that relies on the tourism industry for its livelihood.

A Chamber/Bureau report covering sustainable tourism notes visitors spent nearly $1.1 billion in Summit County in 2019. That level of economic activity can broadly lift the fortunes of people across the lower, middle and upper classes, whether it be an executive earning a six-figure salary or someone being paid entry-level wages while toiling in laundry rooms or in kitchens.

One of the challenges for the Chamber/Bureau and the others involved will be to craft a plan for sustainable tourism that also assures a sustainable Park City economy.

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