If there is one thing I’m sure of in the Hamptons, it’s that we have a tourist economy. Without tourism, our area would be a desperate place to live. Countless people would not have jobs, countless retailers would close, and our towns would have little incentive financially to maintain their beauty. In other words, it would be a really bad thing.
The Hamptons Visitors Council is a very small organization with a very small budget to begin with, but makes the most of that money by helping people decide to spend their vacations in the Hamptons. Now their yearly budget of $35,000 has been reduced to $20,000.
This might sound like a reasonable thing to do in this economy, but it isn’t for two reasons.
1. The reduction prevents the council from being able to apply for a matching grant of $30,000 from the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, which could essentially double their budget.
2. The Hamptons Visitors Council’s sole purpose is to bring in money into the Hamptons. They are an investment, not budget fat.
Awareness of the Hamptons needs to CONSTANTLY be beaten out at potential tourists. It’s why advertising is so important. People forget about you, and they forget about you quickly. The Hamptons is a hot place right now, even in one of the worst recessions that anybody I know can remember. If you think that other places competing for our tourist dollars aren’t doing everything they possibly can to take those tourists away from us, you’d be wrong.
Budget cuts in today’s world are a fact of life, often both often unavoidable and valuable. In the case of the Hamptons Visitors Council budget, however, it seems to be just plain dumb.