The Grand County Travel Council Advisory Board plans to spend $500,000 on an advertising campaign to promote Moab to the 30 million residents of Southern California. That news is hard to swallow.
It seems we’ve entered into a never-ending loop. The travel council continues to increase the amount of money spent on advertising and promoting Moab, which subsequently increases the number of tourists that come to Moab and stay in hotels and other nightly rental accommodations (the rental of which includes a 4.25 percent Transient Room Tax). This, in turn, increases the total amount of TRT revenue that goes to the travel council for even more advertising to bring more tourists to Moab, which leads to more hotels and nightly rentals being built, which drives up the price of real estate, making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for local residents and workers to live here, and so on and on and on. It’s a nightmarish loop. And it’s taking a toll on the region’s residents’ quality of life.
Do we really need more advertising for more tourists? The travel council’s director, Elaine Gizler, has stated that the TRT revenues from tourists “are paying a lot of [Grand County’s] bills.” But many of these bills would not exist or would be minimal were it not for the nearly 2 million tourists visiting Moab annually.
So, what can we do about the seemingly limitless advertising and selling of Moab? We should remind our elected County Council members that the appointed Grand County Travel Council Advisory Board is merely advisory to the county council. According to the travel council’s bylaws, it is charged with providing “recommendations concerning the promotion and creation of recreation, tourism and conventions … for consideration by the Grand County Council … [and shall] attempt to reflect the interests of the county as a whole.”
Let’s change the amount and type of promotional advertising the travel council is engaged in. Attend a Grand County Council meeting and let council members know your concerns. They’re the deciders.