Next time you’re strolling down Baker Street put yourself in the flip-flops of a tourist. Think about how you feel when you visit Venice or Portland or Belmopan.
Nelson is a tiny spot on the map, but when you arrive here on a holiday for the first time it’s no different than any other strange city. Though exciting to soak in new sights and sounds, there is inevitably feelings of anxiety when you are looking upon a place with fresh eyes.
That’s where you come in.
One of the greatest keepsakes a traveller can get when exploring a new place is a friendly smile and a little help from a local.
It’s easy enough to do.
If someone looks like they’re from out of town and a little lost, a simple “can I help you find something?” is a great jumping off point. Most times a little conversation will break out and you can share some of your special places in our area. If you have a favourite spot to eat or a tucked away beach, odds are this stranger would be extremely grateful to hear about it. It only takes a moment, but the impact can leave a lasting impression.
In today’s paper there are several items that remind us just how important tourism is to the foundation of our economy. The front page features stories on the slow start to summer and the huge influx of visitors for Shambhala. The letters page provides critical voices from outside who tell us we need to do better. Even the story on the Columbia Brewery is an important reminder of a key export that makes the Kootenay region known across North America.
This is a great time to start swapping flip flops. This weekend the Nelson Rowing Club is hosting athletes from across the west and soon the Shambhala refugees will start rolling back into town after five days of partying.
We are all part of the welcoming committee. In these times of fierce competition for tourism dollars, it’s going to take an extra effort to make sure every visitor that spends time in Nelson leaves with positive impressions. Not only the special surroundings, but the special people who make this town home.