Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stay with the boat

The Ketchum City Council is the next port of call on the lobbying circuit for the proponents of saving business in the valley by destroying the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau.

Last week, the Sun Valley City Council seemed inclined to strip city money from a marketing contract with the chamber and to create a new marketing board with a "global" marketing campaign.

Ketchum should not follow suit.

There's nothing wrong with lofty goals and aspirations. There's a lot right with allocating a lot more money for marketing. People who travel outside the Sun Valley area know the area is in serious need of a higher profile in the minds of travelers.

However, raising that profile doesn't require destruction of the chamber.

The area has not always had a chamber of commerce. Formed in the 1970s and bolstered by contracts with the cities, the chamber leveraged state and local funding for marketing and events. It helped its 450 business members to quit getting in their own way. It made common cause with small businesses, the cities and Sun Valley Resort and got them to set aside petty local rivalries to meet the bigger challenge of succeeding in the rapidly changing and highly competitive tourism business.

The crash of the national economy showed every valley business and every city that for better or worse they are in the same boat. It's a shame that just when everyone seemed ready to lay hard on the oars that a handful of elected officials decided to call for a new boat.

It's a waste of momentum and time when time is of the essence. The cities should stay in the boat, get all hands in motion and start rowing.

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