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What I Learned on Summer Vacation

Two trips down, one to go.

Hmmm, it is painfully apparent that most tourism people and operators don’t have the slightest idea of what they need to do to make their facility/town/province a destination. Occassionally you stumble apon an operation that is doing it right and they shine like a beacon to all the others. The secret? Its the little things. Landscaping is big. So is a fresh appearance. Pealing paint. Not so good. Weeds and stains. Nope. How about signs that are faded and need to be redone? Not a big puller. It seems that most people in tourism like to pat themselves on the back and keep with the attitude that we have built it so they will come. Not anymore. In the past, information was sketchy. You went on word of mouth and reputation. In the internet age, people can learn all about you, and compare you to a hundred other destinations before they even come. So if you don’t look fantastic on the small screen, they ain’t coming to see it in real life. One other thing. When people do show up, treat them like gold. Not like they are being tolerated. A smile, some small talk and a handshake and thank you when the arrive is worth a lot.

Family vacations should be renamed to family survival trials. I can’t remember the last time we went anywhere as a family and I had a relaxing time. Sober. My children are adrenaline junkies and will take all you can throw at them and ask for more. I can usually oblige, but it takes its toll. DO NOT go zip-lining with a pinched nerve in your back. You tend to get tied up in the pain and forget to do something simple like keep at least one of your safety lines attached at all times. Not only do you get berated by the course staff and sent off for dentention, your children watch their dreams of doing the real “fun” stuff float away as their loser father blows it again. Honestly, I felt like a little boy in school who forgot to bring their books to class.

Distance does not relate to interesting destinations. We had more fun close to home this year than farther away. Conditions of roads means a lot. Travelers do not like having to dodge potholes while they are trying to figure out why they are lost.

Finally, it is a slow year. We have not encountered large crowds anywhere we have gone. A jewel like The Keltic was practically a ghost town. Better for us, not so good for the operator.

Until then, I remain,

A Sour Kraut

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