As noted previously, tourism and economic development have a hand
in glove relationship. In communities such as Kingman where we are fortunate enough to have a twelve month tourism season and an array of diverse attractions that ensure we can market the city as a destination to almost any demographic, this relationship is even more important for long term, sustainable economic growth. Tourism and its development is also quite useful in fostering development of a sense of community. And that takes us to the title for today’s post, tourism and you.
The community that provides tourists with experiential opportunities and that makes them feel welcome always wins in the tourism game. What, you may ask, is an experiential experience? More specifically, what experiential experiences can the traveler find in Kingman? Well there is Grand Canyon Caverns with wheel chair accessible tours or spelunking as well as trail rides. We have one of the states top mountain bike/hiking trail systems in the state of Arizona. We have not one but two award winning microbreweries, as well as an award winning distillery and wineries. Through Promote Kingman, there are historic district walking tours that are increasing in popularity. Kingman based Desert Wonder Tours is offering an area of area tours and trips, customized adventures, and related services. We can offer white water rafting and the Grand Canyon. Did you know a very small town on Route 66 in Illinois, with less to offer than we do and only a nine month tourism season, had more than 100,000 visitors last year?
Now, let’s discuss ways that you can make the traveler feel welcome. As a caveat there are an array of personal advantages to developing a few skills that ensure the traveler leaves Kingman with a smile. First, get to know your town. Know where the post office is, as well as a bit of the towns history, and the hours of operation for restaurants. Be bold. When you see people looking a bit lost, or when they ask directions, assist with a smile. Familiarize yourself with Google translate, or find an app that will help you communicate with people that use English as a second, or third, language. And your really ambitious, set up an account with Duolingo and learn a new language!
In the coming weeks we will have a bicycle tour company stopping in Kingman during their Route 66 adventure. The first European Route 66 Tour will stop in Kingman on May 15, and Ken Conaway and Gene Kirkham, the fellows behind Chillin’ on Beale, working with the Route 66 Association of Kingman, the Promote Kingman initiative, and author Jim Hinckley, are arranging a reception. A foreign car club from Burbank, California is coming to Kingman for two days in April. An Australian and New Zealand tour company, and the Canadian Route 66 Association, are bringing groups to town for the Route 66 Fun Run. Then there are the thousands of travelers that will be exploring Route 66 this year, or driving through Kingman on the way to the Grand Canyon.
Together we can roll out the welcome mat. Together we can make Kingman a destination. Together we can give our economy a boost.