I got a comment from Wes on my recent post, Lets Grow Peas. I'm creating a new post and featuring it because I think this is an important discussion for our community to have.
WES SAID: I have a tourism marketing book that talks a lot about the health of local economies. Some tourist economies are very healthy and some are not. The ones that are the most healthy are the ones that have a high "multiplier effect" a high multiplier effect is where the money that comes in from the tourism keeps on getting recycled in the local community and has a very low likelihood of being exported out of the community. If all of our bed and breakfasts and hotels used produce from the Farmer's market and purchased artwork from local artisans and saved their profits into local investments instead of off island banks we would have a much higher multiplier effect. Our islands are definitely turning into a Martha's Vineyard style destination.
PEGGY SUE REPLIES: Thanks for your comment Wes. You make some excellent points. I was thinking more about real estate speculation than tourism in my complaint. I do think there are good kinds of tourism. I think cruise ships are great because they bring an older group of visitors to town without bringing cars onto the Island. These visitors shop and are otherwise low impact. Also, I work at the Whale Museum. People come here from all over the world to learn about Whales and and again tend to shop, eat in local restaurants and are primarily low impact. Elderhostle is another positive form of tourism that provides visitors with enjoyable educational activities without leaving a big footprint.
You are absolutely right about the Martha's Vineyard Syndrome. For some of us it is deeply disheartening to go from a rural fishing and farming economy, not to mention culture and aesthetic, to a yuppie condo bourgeoisie elitist foo foo town. Hence my sentimental recollection of the old pea farms and cannery.
Its real estate developers that I consider the most destructive. Real Estate speculation does not improve life on the Island for anyone but the speculator. As property speculators "make a killing" the cost of living goes up for those of us on limited incomes. Real Estate speculation caters to people who do not live here yet on the backs of the people who do.