Schenkat: Scottsdale tourism effort fueled by money, but little focus

Who do we want as visitors in this world-class city?

Sandy Schenkat

Scottsdale government seems to be scrambling around trying to figure out who they want to attract as tourists and consumers.

Scottsdale collects almost $20 million in funding for this mission from bed tax. You would think with that sum of money, someone would get a good handle on who the likely candidates should be that would want to visit Scottsdale and spend their vacation money in this city.

Tourism is Scottsdale’s biggest industry.

Wouldn’t you think that, in itself, would dictate a group of serious stakeholders who would know who to hire and how to promote the city? Experience Scottsdale’s website showing a Hummer racing through our desert, with bon fires and young people drinking under our night skies does not exactly conjure up what this world-class city is all about.

Our elected officials at City Hall have given close to $10 million to Experience Scottsdale and that is the image they share with over 2 million people who click on their website. The other $10 million is spent to attract tourists through events and capital expenditures. That is again a lot of money and are we getting a decent return of attracting visitors from this money spent?

This city was founded on arts and culture, dining and resorts.

Are the Millennials supporting these venues? We have council members who only think about the Millennial generation and want to capture that market. We have an entertainment district, which seems to be re-adjusting their attraction from the loud music, drug-and-alcohol crowd to a bowling alley.

We have high rises for those people who want to live within that atmosphere. We are building more high rises near our famous shopping center, the Fashion Square, with no real determination of who will move in whether they are high-end condos or office buildings with no specific architecture requirements.  The only issues are that the buildings can be 150 feet with 20 foot set backs. Who makes these kinds of sound decisions but our council majority?

This marketing of our city should not be so difficult but seems to have gotten off-track. We have high-class shopping, dining, arts and culture, and resorts. The people that patronize these types of venues, do not ride around in Hummers in the desert.

The desert of which the citizens have paid dearly for and who many are now trying to protect from more development of the wrong kind of venues. Whose city is this? Who really cares?

If residents want to keep their taxes low, they better start paying attention to who is wasting their money and get the right people elected to represent them in 2018.

Editor’s note: Ms. Schenkat is a resident of the city of Scottsdale

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