Failure Leads to Success in Tourism



“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” Zig Ziglar


This is the third article in the Putting the “I” Back in Community tourism article series.
You can read the first article, Building Excellence in Tourism, here.
You can read the second article, Building a Destination with a Sense of Place, here.

As populations continue to increase in numbers, it is not really surprising that cities and towns keep changing and the plans that once worked eventually do not.  Mix this with vested interests that are mostly concerned with development and not so much planning, and you can expect some unwanted results. Fortunately, when likeminded, yet diverse groups get together with a strong purpose, great things can happen.

A good example is the coming together of the Quechan Indian Tribe, the City of Yuma, Arizona Game & Fish Department, local farmers and residents, and several non-profit organizations, to address the trash-strewn jungle of non-native vegetation and a landfill placed along the Colorado River, that had become unsafe and unsightly for Yuma residents.

In the 1980s there was interest in turning this wasteland of trash dumps, homeless camps and invasive plant species into a riverfront park. This project took years, lots of agencies and people working together, plus lots of fundraising. The project became one of the largest, most ambitious restoration projects in the Southwest.

Big Blend Radio interview with Richard Stamp and Espey Matlock, City of Yuma Parks & Recreation, about the West Wetlands Park in Yuma, Arizona.

Now, Yuma is home to a renewed ecological haven of wetlands, forests and waterways that provides exceptional habitat for over 330 species of birds and wildlife. The restored area also serves as a fun-filled destination for canoeing, fishing, bird-watching and outdoor recreation for the residents and visitors alike. With the help of local farmers who brought tilling, flood-irrigation and farming techniques to the table, the river channels that used to be the historic confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers have been restored.

Of course this was not a quick fix or overnight process, it took a lot of caring people to come together to make it happen. The community itself had to make their concerns known and be willing to stand firm in their desire to make all necessary changes.

Established almost two decades ago, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area takes in Yuma’s beautifully restored and historic riverfront area, and includes the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Colorado River State Historic Park, Pivot Point Plaza, the historic downtown district, Gateway Park, Yuma East Wetlands, and West Wetlands Park.

After years of working in the tourism and travel industry in five countries (USA, England, Kenya, South Africa and Mexico), Nancy & Lisa have seen that the benefits of this industry far outweigh any of the negative aspects, and that the negative aspects can be fixed or even avoided all together, if a smart strategy or plan is formulated, put in place, and then attended to with care. The plan should be Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Together, Nancy & Lisa have over 50 combined years of experience in travel, tourism and hospitality, sales and marketing, publishing and media.

The Peanut Patch

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