Explore! The Big Shenanigans!

In today's Tribune, Butch Larcombe opines that the Lewis and Clark Event might have been a good thing:

Was it a boondoggle or a good long-term investment?

That question summarizes much of the debate over a deficit of more than $500,000 resulting from the Lewis and Clark signature event in Great Falls and Fort Benton this summer, a debt to be borne by the city of Great Falls.

Supporters say Great Falls and central Montana gained invaluable exposure through the 34-day event that will bring visitors back to the area for years to come.

Recent statistics from the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research in Missoula appear to favor that view.

The tourism institute reports that it surveyed more than 3,000 nonresident visitors early in 2005 and about 92 percent of those folks said they planned to return to the state within two years.

Vacation was the top reason for the visit, 47 percent of the travelers said. The least popular reason for visiting Montana? Shopping.

I'll give this to him, at least he tries to use some sort of reasonable analysis to come to his conclusion, rather than self-congratulatory statements of success. I would probably question his data, though, since it was apparently gathered before the event.


Anonymous said...

Last night, on KFBB, Lisa Ferguson showed the email Peggy Bourne sent out. She also confronted Peggy about it and interviewed several random folks, who all expressed dismay that so much money was lost. Since the Tribune lacks the ability to be objective on this issue, perhaps the TV stations will step in and give us the real story. It is really too bad that we can't get an in-depth newspaper story.

GeeGuy said...

That is great news. I will have to start watching local news again. What was Peggy's response?

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how the Tribune has not run a story about the letter to the editor campaign that was being spearheaded by Ms. Bourne. If that was a Republican doing that for their candidate, they'd jump all over it.