Tourists Fit In Just Fine

How can tourists and snowbirds fit in with year-round residents?

The Scottsdale Republic’s “Sound Off” poll Saturday saw a couple of sensible comments by residents that I wanted to share with you. Given that tourism is one of the four dominant themes of Scottsdale’s iconic General Plan (the others being, “Health and Research; Open Space; Arts and Culture”), I can’t fathom why the Republic was phrase the question this way. Maybe the Republic was trying to be funny?

Kudos to Ms. Flatt and Mr. McAllister for their responses.

I think it’s more constructive to ask, “How can year-round resi­dents best welcome and accom­modate our visitors?” These folks are our guests.

They contribute to our economy by spending their disposable income in our community, which creates jobs for locals. They can go anywhere on vacation. We want them to keep coming here. Our job as locals is to be gracious, warm, welcoming hosts. Give our visitors big smiles. Ask total strangers if we can help them find something.

Thank them for coming. Invite them to come again. Don’t refer to them by the pejorative term “snowbirds.” And don’t complain.

Joanie Flatt, Scottsdale, public-relations executive

To Ms. Flatt’s point, some of the most rewarding conversations I’ve ever had started by observing  someone trying to read a map, and offering to help them find their way.

I have no problem with snow­birds and tourists in Scottsdale. I was one from 1987 to 1989, when I decided that I had had enough of the Kansas winters and moved to Scotts­dale permanently.

They spend lots of money, which is good for business profits and city sales taxes. They are usually classy people with money and a city can never have too many residents like that. I don’t like the extra traffic and crowded restaurants, but I have found ways of working around that mild disturbance. Besides, it’s fun to see people going to the pool on a cloudy 55-degree day.

Jim McAllister, Scottsdale, writer

I went to Sushi Roko at the W Hotel for lunch today (it’s a lot less expensive than the $50 Jim Lane is charging for his lunch at the W next month). My lunch companion and I walked up to the pool deck, which he’d never seen before. To our surprise, there were several women guests in bikinis sunning themselves…on January 21.

I felt a little self-conscious in my sweater, but as my companion said, “This is why we moved to Scottsdale.” The great winter weather, that is. Though the other is nice, too. I would have felt even more self-conscious in THEIR attire:)

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