LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Problems and seeking possible solutions

Sat, 08/13/2022 - 11:45am

To the Editor,
The events over the summer and cumulating last weekend after the Reggae Festival with disruptive events, has resulted in unwelcome, yet justified publicity. Block Island has been on a quest to make itself a destination of choice to bolster its tourism income and has succeeded, to a certain extent.
The recent adverse events should not be judged as a failure to promote Block Island but as a wake-up call of what they want to promote for the island’s benefit. The lessons to be learned is why do we want visitors? Economics? What visitors contribute to the island’s economy? Can there be constraints on who visits? Visitors who come and spend money at restaurants, bars, shops and taxis, etc. contribute. Those who come for a day with their own coolers and food do not, which is not to say they shouldn’t be welcomed, but is to say they are not part of the economic engine that the promotions were hoping to generate.
The situation we have just experienced is not unique to beach destinations but unlike other places we are in a unique position to control the influx because we are an island. An issue worth exploring is that the B.I. Ferry regulates the issue of open day tickets. This would avoid the congestion, and subsequent discomfort for returning visitors, some of whom may not be compliant.
We have a problem, but it’s a good problem providing we address and solve it.
David Threlkeld
New Haven, Conn.