Last night, at the Tourism Board meeting, Margaret Morris, alderman-elect for the First Ward, raised a question about how tourism was being defined by the Tourism Board. Reacting to some of the projects whose expenses were being approved for reimbursement, Morris commented, "One of the missions of the Tourism Board is to increase tourism and revenue from tourism, but it doesn't seem any of these things have been quantified into contributions to the public purse." She went on to say that cultural events, such this year's Latinx Heritage Festival, were important to the community and should be supported, but they are not tourism-related.
Tourism Board member Chris McManus responded to Morris's comments by telling her that the board had redefined tourism, and according to their definition, she was a tourist. He went on to say the board did not look at tourism as an industry but as "something much more." Morris objected to being called a tourist, asserting that she was a resident, and there was a difference between a resident and a tourist.
The following pages from a document called "A Planning Framework for Hudson 'Tourism,'" created by the Tourism Board in April 2021, illustrate what McManus was talking about.
Responding to Morris's question about quantifying the impact of the projects receiving funding from the Tourism Board, Alderman Ryan Wallace (Third Ward), who now chairs the Tourism Board, said they were working on a survey to be distributed to hotel guests to determine what brought them to Hudson.
At last night's meeting, the Tourism Board also heard a report from Gary Purnhagen, project manager for Warren Street Seasonal Usage Program. In his report, Purnhagen shared the results of a survey of businesses that participated in the program this year. Of the more than thirty businesses that expanded into the street in 2021, only eleven responded to the survey. Overall, their responses were favorable. Purnhagen reports that:
- 64 percent of respondents strongly believe that WSSUP had a positive impact on their business.
- 46 percent feel their customers' responses to the program were entirely positive.
- 71 percent would participate if the program were offered again in 2022.
- 64 of respondents said they "never" heard complaints from customers about parking issues.
formed in 2020, four members have resigned, and three new members have been appointed to replace them (there is currently a vacancy on the board), and Ryan Wallace has replaced Calvin Lewis as the board chair. It is rumored that three people now serving on the Tourism Board have expressed the desire not to be reappointed.
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