Economic Development Series: Davis as a Destination? Why Not?

Hunt-Boyer-2By Alan Humason

As executive director of the Yolo County Visitors Bureau, I was cheered to read Mayor Pro Tem Robb Davis’s thoughtful editorial that kicked off this series about economic development in Davis. What chiefly caught my eye was this statement: “We must act aggressively to capture the benefits of the many people who visit our community.  One of the most efficient means to secure revenue is in the hospitality industry and we are far underdeveloped in this domain.”

Before we explore what this observation means, let’s first take a closer look at where we are right now. Davis has 11 hotels with a total of 733 rooms. Davis has not had a new hotel built in more than a dozen years. The city-approved Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center would add a net 85 rooms (132 rooms new, replacing 47 old ones at the current—and functionally obsolete—University Park Inn & Suites), but this project is ensnared in ongoing litigation. There are two new extended-stay hotel proposals working their way through the system, and a possible expansion of an existing hotel; however, none of these are remotely close to breaking ground. It is almost unheard of for a city with a major university to not have an extended-stay property.

By contrast, the City of Woodland has opened two new hotels in the past year alone: the 66 room Comfort Suites and the 72 room Fairfield Inn & Suite Marriott, bringing Woodland’s total to 10 hotels and 719 rooms. Woodland has also approved a new hotel to be built across the street from the new County Courthouse—a five-story, 82-room Hilton Home-2 Suites, an upper-end extended-stay brand. That’s a lot of “new” in one short paragraph. Clearly that community has seized on something.

Tourism is a huge industry, especially for California, given our tremendous and diverse inventory of attractions from Disneyland to Yosemite. According to Visit California’s Travel Impacts report (published May 2016), direct travel spending statewide reached a record $122.6 billion in 2015, an increase of 3.4% over 2014 and the sixth straight year of growth. In Yolo County, direct travel spending hit $317 million, generating $25.5 million in state and local tax revenue (both figures also up 3.4%).

Those tax receipts help pay for roads, police, fire, and other essential infrastructure for the place we call home. Take those funds away, you’d have to raise $340 per household in Yolo County to make up the difference.

Perhaps more importantly, tourism accounted for 3,950 jobs for Yolo County in 2015, a 6.2% increase over 2014 and well above the state average. Those jobs generate millions of dollars of disposable income, incredibly important in a county that has struggled for years with employment and economic opportunity. (Current unemployment in the County is 6.1%; just two year ago it was 9%.)

How does tourism contribute to our economy and our community? Looking at hotels, it is chiefly through what is known as the Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT. In Davis, this is a charge of 10 percent of the total rent paid by the guest. That TOT—$1.3 million in the last fiscal year—goes to the City’s general fund. (There is an additional charge of 2 percent that is used to help fund the activities of the Yolo County Visitors Bureau, which is the one and only promotional organization for Davis that reaches a significant market and audience outside of Davis.)  It’s worth noting that on the June ballot, Measure B proposes to raise the TOT to 12%–a 2% increase. If approved, this would add roughly a quarter-million dollars per year to the City’s coffers (based on the current hotel room count).

Tourists are famous for shopping, buying tickets to events, exploring art galleries and historic sites, enjoying local resources like beer- and wine-tasting venues and, of course, restaurants among other pursuits, all of which generate sales (and sales taxes) and support a wide array of businesses. Tourism is essential for some businesses because not all can survive on just the local market alone. It’s also vital to have that initial face-to-face retail experience to help build a customer base beyond our borders, especially with online shopping so ubiquitous.

Think “agritourism” and you’re thinking Yolo County, with Davis as the logical gateway given the access along Interstate 80, the University’s obvious draw (the Mondavi Center, the Arboretum, the coming new Shrem Art Museum), the best-in-nation Davis Farmers Market, the vibrant downtown and burgeoning art scene, the bevy of events year-round, and access to some of the most productive, inviting, and genuine ag land in the world. It’s easy to get to the Old Sugar Mill (11 winery tasting rooms under one roof), Séka Hills, Full Belly Farm (and its annual Hoes Down festival), the beautifully restored Putah Creek, and other nearby attractions from Davis.

So imagine if you will a promotional campaign for Davis that has a satisfied visitor saying, “I shopped the Davis Farmer Market this morning, explored organic farms in Capay Valley this afternoon, and enjoyed farm-to-fork dining downtown before the concert this evening.” Or variations on this theme . . . heck yeah, Davis can be much more of a destination than it is today.

The tourism landscape is incredibly competitive, however, especially considering our neighbors. For example, Napa and Sonoma counties have multi-million-dollars promotional budgets (versus the YCVB’s few hundred thousand). Facilities make a big difference, too; the fact that Davis does not have a hotel conference and event center means big chunks of potential business (corporate events, social, fraternal, and military meeting or reunions, governmental conferences, and other segments) are lost. It’s painful to think that meeting and event planners at UC Davis have to place guests in hotels elsewhere, like West Sacramento or Natomas.

Another area of opportunity is team sports events. This spring, the Davis City Council commissioned a Sports Park Complex Task Force to look into the possibility of creating a major facility that would not only accommodate local clubs and teams, but also be able to host regional and even national tournaments and championship events. Such a facility could bring legions of visiting teams – participants and their families and friends – to Davis hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and movie theaters. To build it would take considerable creativity and effort, but it could ultimately pay for itself many times over and be a tremendous boon to Davis and Yolo County as a whole.

All things considered, Davis is in an enviable position. There are great hospitality proposals in the pipeline. The University, despite short-term challenges, will continue to thrive and grow, and the community as a whole continues to explore ways to deepen partnerships and collaborations. The Davis Arts Alliance is coming together in ways that will increase everyone’s visibility, and through more proactive marketing and cross-promotion, help sell more tickets to more visitors from outside of town. Virtually every day, there is something interesting to do, a compelling reason to visit Davis. And the man who about to become Mayor sees a way forward that embraces tourism as a vital component of our future prosperity.

Alan Humason is the Executive Director of the Yolo County Visitors Bureau


Editor’s note: following the decision by Mace Ranch Innovation Center to put its pending project on hold, the Vanguard decided to re-start a community discussion on the future of economic development in Davis.  As such, we are reaching out to a very diverse group of people and starting May 1 we are hoping to publish one op-ed a day on this subject.  We are pleased to announce that so far we have over 40 commitments and counting. Beginning today, we will publish one article per day for the month of May into June.  If you would like to add your voice – please submit your piece on the future of economic development in Davis (800 to 1000 words).

May 1: Robb Davis

May 2: Elaine Roberts Musser

May 3: Dan Carson

May 4: Matt Williams

May 6: Peter Bell

May 7: Bob Fung

May 9: Rob White

 

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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42 Comments

  1. Michael Harrington

    Ecotourism?

    Birds. Think birds.  Bird watching is the largest sport in the US in terms of participants.  The Pacific Flyway is directly overhead.

    Someone should talk to Jean Jackman about all this.

    The tourist dollars could be huge …

    Oh but wait … The entire city government and most of the business community have been working night and day for years to develop business parks from the Jurassic Age, including Nishi whose business model includes filling it with students from far away whose parents don’t know about the toxic soup in that little valley. Every building is going to be sealed with no operable windows … imagine that!

    1. Frankly

      Mike, thanks for thinking out of the box, but I think that idea is for the birds.

      All kidding aside, I think we already have about as much bird-watching tourism as we could expect.  We already have 5000 acres of preserved land in and around Davis.   The causeway will never be developed.   And there is a bit of competition for bird-watching as there exists plenty of open space for this all throughout California.

      However, none of these other places host the global #1 food and ag science university.

      What I would suggest instead, and have suggested, is that Davis pursue a vision of being a farm-to-fork agriculture destination.   To develop land for businesses that works with the agriculture industry.  Davis could be a destination for food and beverage tourism.

      One thing that sort of helps with this… I think… is that 75% of the row-crop land in this area is being converted to nut trees.   I made the joke to someone recently that this is appropriate given all the nuts within the city (Ha!)… but it will make for some nice scenery as these trees grow.  It will be a nice setting for more restaurants and drinking establishments.

      And while you are setting on the patio enjoying your high-quality food and beverages made with local sources organic products, you can bird watch too!

    2. ryankelly

      Good attempt at giving an idea to consider.  Thought you were really giving a positive suggestion until you used that term, “toxic soup” to describe our air.  Way to go, Mike.

    3. South of Davis

      Mike wrote:

      > Bird watching is the largest sport in the US in

      > terms of participants. 

      Get ready for David and others to complain that bird watching is also “less diverse” than the Sutter Club if this moves forward:

      “According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, 93 percent of American birders were white, 5 percent were Hispanic (which includes both blacks and whites), 4 percent were black, 1 percent were Asian American, and 2 percent were “other.””

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140923-bird-watching-diversity-environment-science/

        1. Ron

          (By the way, I just noticed that your both of your photos show “bird diversity”!)

          O.K. – that’s probably enough from me, today!  (Before I get myself in trouble.)

  2. The Pugilist

    I like the idea of Davis as a destination, I’m not sure we get there without better developing our Hotel-Conference Center, ironically Mr. Harrington is holding up the implementation of that.  He wants people to want to come here for birds, but where are they going to stay, Woodland?  Kind of defeats the purpose.

  3. Michael Harrington

    Tia:  when I was on the CC, there was a lot of conversation about someone in Davis developing a major “bird watching” festival.  I brought it up with staff, the DDBA, and the Yolo Tourism Office (or some such name), and no one was interested.

    There are many festivals around the country that attractive thousands of people to a certain city or town for a specific subject, bringing huge amounts of outside money to local jurisdictions.

    We have UCD right here, the Flyaway overhead, and zillions of local people who probably would get behind a major annual festival, and ongoing, year round events.

    It would be totally cool for Davis to do something like this …. and the owner of that festival would be rich.

    The problem is that the City has occupied most of its agenda time available for economic development with these three Hail Mary passes (the exterior parks), and not paid attention to more obvious and better ideas that fit Davis to a T.

    We wouldn’t have to build housing or public schools for these visitors, and there would be a very large ramp-up in the TOT dollars, and customers for local stores and restaurants.

    What’s not to like?

  4. Don Shor

    Nothing at all wrong with promoting bird watching. From people I know who are into that, Davis is perfectly located for that in a region noted for it. And it’s a reasonably well-to-do demographic, likely to visit some of our fancier restaurants and wineries while they’re in the area.

    I am concerned about the author’s focus on a sports complex. That is way out of the range of the city’s current budget situation, and simply shouldn’t even be on the radar until the long-term financial issues are resolved. The notion that  “it could ultimately pay for itself many times over” is probably false. I suggest the council candidates be asked about their positions on sports facilities for Davis.

    Meanwhile, here’s what TripAdvisor lists for activities in Davis: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g32283-Activities-Davis_California.html

    When you look at travel sites for other cities to see what draws people downtown and what they think the highlights are, it’s usually historic buildings, art galleries, and boutique shopping experiences.

    1. Ron

       

      Don:  “The notion that  “it (a sports park/facility) could ultimately pay for itself many times over” is probably false.  I suggest the council candidates be asked about their positions on sports facilities for Davis.

      Are you sure about that?  (I have no idea, really.)  I understand that cities charge teams to use such facilities (to help offset the cost, at least).  Perhaps individual residents would pay to use such facilities, as well (e.g., pools, etc.).  I understand that it’s a huge investment, but the city already owns one such site (adjacent to the “MRIC” site).  Perhaps it’s a good possible use for the MRIC site itself, as well. (I’m guessing that such an idea might meet with resistance from private gyms, though.)

      I like all of the other ideas, as well (e.g., promotion of bird watching, farm-to-fork, etc.).  Seems like Davis could be at the center of both of these ideas.

       

       

  5. Michael Harrington

    Also, if the City or the Visitors Bureau would just pay a staff member to follow John N. around and take notes of his arts ideas, then help implement them, there would be a significant ramp up of art and music and festival tourism.  I am 100% sure of this.

    I have two businesses to run, and it’s unfortunate that I have to spend precious volunteer time trying to head off these crazy development projects that are so boring and pedestrian.  Maybe if we knock down Nishi, we will all have the time and energy to actually spend it on healthy, Davis-type programs and businesses that don’t rely on building tons of new housing and building more sprawl on the valley floor.

    Remember:  the same department (Public Works) that screwed up the water rates and project so badly is trying to sell our local voters on the Nishi infrastructure development and traffic fixes that mostly don’t make any fiscal or engineering sense.  Between the badly designed water project, two sets of bad rates that had to be defeated by the voters, and now these three exterior sprawl projects whose design features remind me of the Jurassic Age, the city has not had enough time and energy and resources to actually try to improve the city government structure, and long term funding sources.

    I know many, many voters who are struggling with whom to vote for for CC, if they vote for anyone. The problem is all five current CC members love Nishi, and both candidates are strong supporters of Nishi. There is no plan to restructure city government, and no public discussions of long term fiscal fixes to the City’s budget.

    1. Michael Harrington

      If I were a lot younger, say 59, in that younger age strata that David Greenwald keeps pushing, I would do a combo program that brings people in for the wine and beer tasting, special programs over at UCD in those departments, and mix it all up with bird watching tourism.

      A sports complex for tourism?  Please …… I can see all those zillions of cars driving from all over to park at the huge parking lot.  Not a pretty sight, and definitely not Davis-like.

      Life goes by so fast …

      1. Barack Palin

        I would do a combo program that brings people in for the wine and beer tasting, special programs over at UCD in those departments, and mix it all up with bird watching tourism.

        So how would all these people get here, no cars just bike and walk?

  6. Alan Humason

    To Ron: Regarding a sports complex, I don’t think I had a particular “focus” as you put it; instead I wrote, “To build it would take considerable creativity and effort, but it could ultimately pay for itself many times over and be a tremendous boon to Davis and Yolo County as a whole” (emphasis mine). Note the opening qualifying phrase about the front end. The commission is taking testimony about a variety of funding models, all of which go well beyond just having the City be the prime mover, and as yet nothing has been decided or recommended by the commission and nothing presented to anyone on the Council. What the ultimate ROI is unknown of course, but these kinds of facilities have done well elsewhere and “could” do well here in Davis.

    1. Ron

      Alan:

      I think you’re confusing me with “Don”.  I didn’t make the comments that you attributed to me.

      I like the idea of exploring the possibility of a sports complex.

  7. Michael Harrington

    BP:  Remember the Field of Dreams movie, about 1985?  If you build it, they will come …. you have to set up electric shuttles, remote parking, packages that encourage discounts if they use public transportation or some other alternative.  It’s very important issue, but you deal with it when the programs are set up and then add transportation solutions.

     

    For example, I could see a massive, near global response if you have them come to Davis, get special tours and briefings on campus for birds, habitat, and wine and beer making, then take them in shuttles over to Napa with an overnight there, and back here.

    Or up to the habitat and special birds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, overnight or two, then back here. Then over to Napa.

    These packages obviously would involve these guest staying in Davis or Woodland hotels, and there would be plenty of business for all existing hotels, and any that are now being proposed. Bisch, Patel, Sah Group, and other local hoteliers could really make this thing work.

    So we have to get beyond wrecking our community by building nasty sprawl in a toxic dump, and think outside the box.  Vote NO on Nishi, and let’s all move on to a better plan.

    1. Ron

      Mike Harrington:  “Or up to the habitat and special birds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, overnight or two, then back here.”

      Perhaps Amtrak could play a role, here.

      1. Alan Humason

        Regarding Amtrak, check this out: http://visityolo.com/explore/activities/bak2sac-2016/

        The Bak2Sac program, now in year 3, encourages folks to bicycle to Davis from Sacramento, patronize one of the “participating businesses” and get a voucher for a free train ride back to Sac on the Capitol Corridor train from the Davis station. It was hatched by the City of Davis, Ken’s, Davis Bicycles, and the YCVB, and is run now primarily by the YCVB along with John and Diane Swann. We have exchanged hundreds of vouchers and brought lots of people to town stores and events. There’s also a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Bak2Sac-674294782641140/

         

         

    2. ryankelly

      nasty sprawl in a toxic dump

      You keep promoting our poor air quality.  Maybe people could bird watch from Sacramento or Woodland or Dixon, where the air is better.

  8. Mark West

    Don: “I am concerned about the author’s focus on a sports complex. That is way out of the range of the city’s current budget situation, and simply shouldn’t even be on the radar until the long-term financial issues are resolved.” The notion that  “it could ultimately pay for itself many times over” is probably false.”

    Sometimes you need to be willing to invest money in order to make it. Youth sports has become a very big business and there is no reason why Davis should not take advantage. To really do so, however, would require not just an investment in the sporting facilities, but also the growth of our hotel and restaurant businesses. Many of the large youth sports tournament are ‘play & stay’ events, where each team is required to reserve a specified number of hotel rooms for the event. That can easily become several hundred room stays per event, with the TOT going directly to the City. Legacy Soccer is already running these events, but unfortunately, most of their hotel stays are in other cities because we lack the local capacity.  Add a 50-meter swimming pool and a baseball/softball complex to the mix, and you now have sufficient demand for several more hotel rooms on a regular basis. Boost the TOT by a million or two each year and you have paid for the new facilities in short order on that basis alone, without taking into account other revenues such as the increased sales tax. More hotels and better restaurants by themselves also will help make the City a better destination site. Investing in our future helps make the City a better place. Sitting on our hands lamenting the poor financial position of the City doesn’t do anything of value.

  9. Tia Will

    Mark and Ron

     Investing in our future helps make the City a better place.”

    And suggesting that there might be some routes to make the city a better place without necessarily making it a bigger place. A conversation worth having.

     

    1. Mark West

      “make the city a better place without necessarily making it a bigger place.”

      The 50-meter pool can be constructed on the site of the current Community pool, but there is no place available within the existing City limits that is large enough to accommodate the proposed sports park. If this is going to be a City asset, it will require at least some expansion. The conversation is worth having, but not for the reason you suggest.

      1. Ron

        I guess that I don’t consider a sports complex (outside of city limits) an “expansion”, in the usual sense of that word.  (Or, not necessarily an expansion that I’m concerned about – for what that’s worth.)  The city already owns a potential site (which was previously considered for a sports park), adjacent to the site considered for the MRIC.  (Also, perhaps the site of the MRIC could be used, if the owner is willing to sell it.)

        It’s true that a lot of parking would be required, as Mike pointed out.  And, the complex itself would require a lot of space. But, those sites could accommodate it. And, I understand that a Residence Inn is already being considered nearby (on Second Street).

        Much better than a potential MRIC (with housing), as far as I’m concerned.

         

        1. Mark West

          “I guess that I don’t consider a sports complex (outside of city limits) an “expansion”, in the usual sense of that word.”

          Yes, you continue to equivocate over your position against paving over farmland. A paved parking lot at a sports park does just as much damage to farmland as does the same space filled with houses, just as does construction using the University’s concrete when compared with the City’s. I would have a great deal more respect for your position if you were consistent in your arguments.

        2. Ron

          Mark:

          The article above refers to economic development to support the current (financial) needs of our city.  Adding more housing does nothing to address this.

          I view a sports park as something similar to open space.  Perhaps there would be structures, but there’d also be a lot of publicly-owned (and accessible) open space.  A  sports complex doesn’t add population (with all of its need for services, as Tia alluded to), and can provide benefits (financial, and otherwise) for current residents.  Same thing with commercial uses (although such a use is more “industrial” in nature than a sports park.  Neither of these uses create a future “need” to pave over even more farmland (unless we “respond” by building even more housing, creating an unbalanced situation again).

          Frankly, I’d like to see the MRIC site used as a sports park, vs. the city-owned site.  For one thing, the MRIC site is closer to freeway access, compared to the city-owned site.  Perhaps more importantly, I wouldn’t mind seeing the MRIC site “off-the-table”, so that it doesn’t reappear as a commercial site (with housing).  (If it does, I’m prepared to devote time and energy to defeat it, to the best of my ability.)

          I’m not sure why you’re bringing up housing at the University, since it wasn’t part of this discussion or article (regarding economic development to meet the financial needs of the city).  However, I’ll briefly provide you with some of my reasons, at least.  Housing at the University (generally) ensures a shorter/easier “commute” for students (and perhaps for others who work at the University), compared to housing in the city.  Also, it’s publicly-owned, so that any potential “profit” (that might otherwise go to a private developer) might go to the University, instead.  (In theory at least, the University is also not out to “gouge” students, regarding rent.)  Then, there’s the fact that housing generally “costs” a city more money than it generates in taxes.  I’d rather see the University assume such problems, compared to the city.  (Before Matt jumps in again, I know that he’s proposing a solution to that problem.  However, I have doubts regarding anyone’s ability to permanently “solve” that problem.)

          Perhaps the two most important reasons are as follows. (Again, these are just my views.)

          1)  Unlike the city, the University has the space and capability to build housing, dedicated for students.  In contrast, anything added to the perihpery of the city is too far away from the University, and large-scale projects within the city will eventually “overdensify” the city.  (Not to mention the fierce resistance that either of those “solutions” would generate.)

          2) As some have noted, we cannot totally control what the University does.  We are not a true “partner”.  (The University will make its own plans regarding housing, regardless of what the city does.)  Another frequent Vanguard commenter (Misanthrop?) (who seems to have views similar to yours) stated that the University will eventually respond, by constructing a large amount of housing for its students.  I also believe that this is quite likely.  (However, unlike me, I suspect that Misanthrop views this as a “bad” thing.  Perhaps he/she will let us know.)

          Regarding “respect”, I’d suggest that it’s a reciprocal arrangement.  It’s difficult to care much about earning respect from someone, unless it’s also given when due.  Most of your communications with me (and others who have slow-growth views) have been quite angry and accusatory, which tends to make me not care much regarding your level of respect for me.  I’m open to changing this “online relationship”, and I initially thought we had a good start, today. Although I’m not likely to change my “slow-growth” views, I’m not asking you to change your “pro-development” views, either. (And, I don’t mind respectful challenges.)

  10. Tia Will

    I guess I should have been more specific. While more physical space might be needed for the facility, I do not see it as a a major driver in the endless cycle of more population, more jobs, more infrastructure, more schools…..oh wait, we overestimated….now we need more students to fill the schools we built, so now we need more families with children ……such as we have seen in the recent past.

    1. Frankly

      Tia – The problem here is the organic pressure to increase size.  There are a lot of places in the US that are not growing.  There are some small communties in CA that are also not growing.  Davis and the region are experiencing growth pressure that requires us to accept expansion.

    1. hpierce

      To quote a song, “it’s not the meat, it’s the motion” … ‘community’ is not based on size, nor population, but by interaction…

      I am neither pro-growth for the sake of “growth”, nor am I opposed to growth for fear of “growth”.

      If population growth is the issue, then, perhaps no-one should be allowed to have a child (they can get implants from Kaiser) until they get a ‘credit’ from someone who has passed… if footprint (vertical or horizontal) is the issue, no-one should be allowed to ‘immigrate’ until someone has ’emigrated’.

      As a “newbie” (first came to town in 1972), I’m not ready to build the Trumpian wall [or “moat”](and make the Sacramento region pay for it).  Had that been done in 1968 (when our first house was built, in tomato fields), I’d not be participating in this discussion… if Davis had stopped growing in 1972, rest assured there would be no presence of Kaiser in Davis.

      I mean this as an honest response… (except for the Trump & Kaiser references… will admit that could be seen as a bit of ‘snark’).

      We need to preserve/build “community” whatever our footprint, whatever our population.  I don’t believe “community” is at much risk from either, if it is “measured”… think Goldilocks… not too fast, not too slow… just right.

      Oh.. if you are thinking of the other “size matters” thing, absolutely not… and neither does my partner… things fit.

       

  11. Misanthrop

    Hilarious, tourism in Davis but not the type we could really benefit from, college scouting. People come here and stay in hotels to check out UCD with their kids or see them graduate or come here for events at the university. Maybe a few show up for duck days but Fairfield is going to build a $75 million bird watching facility plus we have pretty much wiped out our burrowing owls while we saved the coyotes. So we are at a competitive disadvantage.

    Is the author related to Milton Humason? That would be amazing since I believe Allan Sandage’s daughter lives in town. Sandage was Hubbles student. Humason and Hubble discovered the expansion of the universe. Now that is a tourist destination, the Cosmos.

  12. Richard McCann

    This article was on the right track, but it really missed the boat on the key issue–why aren’t there hotels here already? Why is the tourism market beating a path to this nirvana?

    The answer is that Davis doesn’t yet offer an experience that brings a full day of attention for a tourist. The Farmers Market is a great start, but then there’s little keep them here.

    In addition, unless there’s a strong historic point of interest, most tourism centers have a strong local entertainment and dining scene that residents also attend. Davis doesn’t have that. And now that Sacramento has boosted Midtown and the R Street corridor into vibrant local communities, Davis is going to be bypassed by Bay Area tourists looking for a Sacramento Valley experience.

    That’s why the answer to improving tourism here needs to be centered on attracting the businesses, and employees, that we think will be interested in what is most attractive here, and will bring the vibrancy in entertainment and dining that we need to be a true destination.

    Along with Anya, we wrote an article proposing one vision with 5 specific focuses that could accomplish these goals: https://www.davisvanguard.org/2018/10/guest-commentary-make-sustainable-food-economic-engine-downtown-davis/

    In addition, the recent FED report extends this vision. https://www.landandladle.com/davis-food-discussions

    All of this requires follow up from the City, and wrapping up the Downtown Plan can be the launch for that next step.

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