As I think about the tourism industry and its future in Volusia County, I can’t help but think about the beach and the natural beauty that defines our area. The beach, in particular, is what launched the industry here and what sustains it today.
So included in this issue is an essay from Bob Davis about driving on the beach. We also take a look at a few of the thousands of people who make their living from tourism – from those who have managed to keep their businesses relevant from one generation to the next, to those not typically considered a part of the industry. We also examine what our area advertising authorities are doing to attract tourists and the methods they and others are using to measure their effectiveness.
My biggest takeaway from pulling this issue together is that although the “how” we participate in tourism has changed somewhat, the reason tourism exists, or the “why,” hasn’t changed. You see, to me, whether it is 2018 or the early 1900s, the essence (aka the “why”) of tourism is a need to explore, relax and regroup. Whether we are shopping at the Tanger Outlets and laying in the Volusia County sun today or enjoying the hard sand and surf and a stroll through the Casements in the early 1900s, tourism is in the DNA of this beach paradise we are thankful to call home.
The lesson from our tourism story is this: one must stay relevant to the trends people crave, provide great service and throw in a good value. If we do this, people from all over the world will continue to enjoy all we have to offer. But I caution us all – in light of red tides and red sand, don’t take our golden goose, beach tourism, for granted.
John Guthrie Editor, EVOLVE