A proposal to tailor tourism to fit our county | Letter

A proposal to tailor tourism to fit our county

I propose that tourism be better tailored to match our culture and ecology with a new generation of participating tourist facilities that are operated in a manner that attracts possibly fewer but thoughtful, ecologically oriented visitors in celebration and support of what our islands offer. Older such people tend to spend more, boosting our economy without harm.

1. A “participating tourist facility” means one owned by a locally owned and controlled B corporation. A B corporation is allowed to consider local, environmental and employee needs ahead of profits, provided that costs are covered. A B corporation would acquire tourist facilities whose owners were willing to sell, and after investigation, the B corporation was willing to buy. This creates a market for existing tourist facilities, many of which are family-owned and risk being sold to off-island interests. This is to “bring them home and keep them home.

2. Buyers of stock in a B corporation donate their shares (yes, there are such people) to the local island foundation, thereby making each major island’s foundation owner of a B corporation. This provides a double lock against reversion to practices inconsistent with our culture and ecology.

3. No governmental action is involved.

This is a long-term project. While there are numerous technical issues, none is insurmountable.

A last word: judgment, anger and sadness are common reactions of people who, themselves not born here, are blissfully unaware that many came and remained here to avoid them. A little humility goes a long way.

Bill Appel

Friday Harbor