Monday, June 2, 2014
Tourism's ticking bomb
ATVs are big in my neck of the woods. There's over 1000 miles of interconnected trails. Towns even have corridors where they can drive on public streets. That allows easy access to services and bridges gaps between trails.
In this economically depressed area, it's been a much needed boost. Businesses have sprung up just to service the ATV crowd. Existing businesses have also benefited. Even the local campground on my lake is full of pickups and trailers with ATVs.
I can't help but wonder how much of this new activity would go away if the price of gasoline suddenly doubled or tripled. My guess is that it would come to a screeching halt. High gas prices in the 70s and 80s decimated the RV industry. It took years and lower gas prices for it to recover.
Most tourist areas are heavily dependent on cheap fuels. Imagine what would happen to the recreational boating industry. RVs would disappear from our roads again. Campgrounds would empty and close. In fact, few tourism based activities would not be affected.
New Hampshire was a tourist destination long before everyone had cars. Back in the day trains would discharge tourist with massive piles of luggage every summer. Wealthy city people escaped the heat of the city for the grand hotels in the countryside. They stayed all summer. Being a tourist was an activity out of the reach of normal folk.
I wonder how much fuel costs can rise before tourism once again becomes the domain of the ultra rich.