Learning to Eat at the Trough

I am sitting in an industry meeting listening to people tell me all the opportunities, as a tourism-based business, to feed at the public trough and get government funding.  Example topic:  "How to turn your business slowdown into a natural disaster to get disaster-relief funds."  Yuk.  I feel dirty.

Also, my business gets taxed (via sales-tax-like lodging taxes) to support government tourism marketing (in this case, California).  Of course, I don't think any of it returns the money invested in it.  Also, the type of recreation I represent (camping) is totally unrepresented in the ads.  As is typical, these public-private tourism promotion tend to disproportionately benefit the politically connected businesses.


  1. LJK:

    I majored in recreation management as an undergraduate and found a government job as a Park Director. I eventually resigned in disgust, over the amount of funds the supposedly conservative elected officials wanted me to dump into the park, and went back to school. I’ve been at recreation/tourism seminars like this. You’ve only scratched the surface. The sheer amount of public money that parks and recreation departments waste is mind boggling. I’m not surprised to hear that this culture has infected the private side of the industry as well.

  2. Keith Casey:

    I work predominantly with Open Source technology and have been trying to fight similar battles with the gov-types. It's stunning the sheer amount of money they drop into proprietary systems that don't or barely work where there are free options out there. They could get many of the same solutions by cutting out the license funds, keeping the training funds, and then encouraging reuse by their sister agencies. Arg.