Friday, January 7, 2011

Needed: local economic data


The cities of Sun Valley and Ketchum have focused the new Sun Valley Marketing Alliance on marketing and the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce on managing a visitor center.

The area now lacks any group designated to collect and disseminate local business data or to analyze it.

For example, the cities collect local-option tax data.

The state collects lodging tax information and tracks employment.

Friedman Memorial Airport tracks the number of flights and the numbers of passengers that pass through the terminal.

The Chamber of Commerce is still collecting current lodging and condo occupancy reports and putting out forecasts. It may also be tracking the number of visitors it serves and the number of calls it receives requesting travel information.

In its previous incarnation, the chamber assembled all the data and also acted as a clearinghouse for general information on tourist-based economies and what factors might be affecting them.

Today, the data aren't being assembled in one place and thus can't help inform decisions by local businesses or the cities.

It matters not if business is up or down. Economic data are useful for allowing businesses and governments that depend on them to see the success or failure of their efforts and to identify trends that may help them reach their goals.

Because the cities are wholly dependent on the health of the local economy and are fully in control of the business-generated tax revenues that constitute half their budgets, they should fill the void and take on the responsibility of assembling important local economic indicators for public consumption.




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