Tourist trap

By AL DIAMON  |  October 19, 2011

All the fancy websites and full-page newspaper ads a few million dollars can purchase won't influence anyone to change their weekend plans if the forecast calls for driving rain and unseasonable temperatures. But if the sun shines and the Atlantic Ocean warms up enough to sustain life forms other than penguins and polar bears, places like Massachusetts, Quebec, and New Brunswick will empty out as their populations head for Maine.

Tourism-related businesses can continue to print slick brochures (good for the paper industry) and buy radio spots (good for the radio industry). But if they insist on following the fruitless marketing methods the state has employed for the past decade, they should foot the bill themselves (an approach that's been good for most other industries). Or the B&Bs, waterslides, and art galleries specializing in paintings of waves breaking on stormy shores could opt for a common-sense approach, and forego the ads in favor of more competitive pricing and spruced-up appearances (this has also been shown to be productive for most other industries).

Many in the tourism biz will howl that they've paid millions in taxes and therefore deserve to have the state subsidize their marketing. To them I say, ordinary workers have paid even more millions. In return, they're getting deteriorating roads and decaying schools.

Let's prioritize. Contrary to what the experts say, that would make balancing the state budget as easy as relaxing on the beach watching the tide slip away.

Vacation tips (no, I'm not going to North Korea again) and other comments may be emailed

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