Cultural tourism: a thing of the past?

Some years back, cultural tourism was the on-trend catch phrase du jour for bureaucrats seeking ways to draw consumers to their fair cities. Predictably, Ventura glommed on to it, if for a brief moment, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was right around the time the San Buenaventura Conservancy was born and there was some great energy swirling around historic preservation.

At a time when Ventura was seeking identifying factors in order to brand itself for tourists (the beaches and weather weren’t quite enough) it seemed to make perfect sense to spotlight our other great resource: history and architecture. Unfortunately, the city’s vision began to plummet in tandem with a failing economy and all that sort of went poof!

Since then the city has reorganized and begun seeking new, creative ways to get people excited about visiting Ventura and doing business here, but cultural tourism seems to have gone the way of most trends, despite being a solid foundation to build something lasting upon.

An article in the L.A. Times about a neat event in Palm Springs, a city which knows what it is and how to market itself, made me nostalgic not only for mid-century whimsy and practicality (a personal interest) but also for the days when the folks working for the city of Ventura had some heart and vigor.

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