Nov 20, 2011

Support Tourism

World Tourism Day is organized yearly by the United Nations to showcase the importance of global tourism. I agreed with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, when he said, “In a world struggling for peaceful coexistence, tourism can build bridges and contribute to peace.” John and I have found the world to be much safer than what is portrayed in the media. People are generally friendly and want others to like and understand their country. I think one of the most important aspects of travel is learning about other regions, countries and cultures. I like the quote that I think is attributed to Ghandi and often use it. “One third of the world eats with a fork, one-third with chopsticks, and one-third with their fingers and everyone is doing it correctly.”

We traveled behind the “Iron Curtain” in the 1980s, to Vietnam in the late 1990s, and to other destinations not on most people’s radar. We found that when we learned about a country or culture it became familiar not feared. We came to understand that people can not always control their government but that does not make all their citizens evil or dangerous. Myanmar has a very unpopular government but the people are lovely. And, oddly Myanmar’s military government means that, for tourists, the country is extremely safe and there is very little crime. At Myanmar’s Ngapali Beach we were told, “You can leave your stuff on the beach no one will take it.”

Not only is travel a mind-opening experience it is also extremely beneficial financially. The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest and most dynamic industries in today’s global economy. It generated about 9% of total GDP and provided for more than 235 million jobs in 2010 representing 8% of global employment. Beside the obvious benefits of the tourist dollar to hotels, restaurants, modes of transportation, and tour companies there is an amazing trickle-down effect. Think of people who making souvenirs, work in gas stations and stores, and those who provide all the food and supplies needed by restaurants and hotels. There are hundreds of other businesses that are indirectly linked to tourism.

Oswego County may not be a hotbed of tourism, even though I think it could be, tourism is still an important part of the local economy. According to the Oswego County Department of Tourism over 2000 jobs come from tourism. Wages and salaries earned by residents, combined with income earned by business owners due to tourist expenditures, totaled $45,598,000 in 2009 in Oswego County and during the same period tourists generated over $12 million in state and local taxes.

Celebrate World Tourism Day by visiting one of Oswego County’s wonderful attractions, and take someone with you. When was the last time you visited the Salmon River Hatchery, Safe Haven, the Brewerton Block House, the Pratt House Museum in Fulton, or enjoyed a quiet time with nature at Amboy 4-H Environmental Center plus the area around Lake Ontario is a world-class birding area. And if you have been thinking of a trip – locally, nationally, or internationally - but keep putting it off – don’t.

Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
Labels: New York, United States