My destination consulting colleagues and I often remark that residents of a city often don’t see what’s right in front of us when it comes to their city’s hidden tourism strengths. Well, on this occasion I must confess my guilt. A few years ago, I worked on a small project for the Historical Society in Tualatin, the small city where I live outside of Portland, OR.
My assignment was to determine how the city can take advantage of the locally excavated remains of Ice Age animals such as mastodons and giant sloths, and promote how the great Ice Age Floods shaped the local landscape.
Despite having developed tourism strategies for nations, regions and cities, and even the Olympic Games, this is one of the most surprising and fascinating projects that I have ever worked on – and it’s right in my own backyard. And like much of the local population I had no clue about the Ice Age Floods.
The Floods were one of the most cataclysmic events ever to happen in North America. They flooded Tualatin to a depth of about 350 feet and resulted in several geological phenomena that are still visible today.
A four state trail named the Ice Age Floods Trail has been established by Congress and will be administered by the National Park Service. As the Trail is developed over the next decade, I’m sure that Ice Age tourism will be a term that we will add to our tourism dictionaries.
The lesson for me is that sometimes you have to dig deep to find a city’s tourism assets, other times they come as part of a trend or as in Tualatin’s case, a small group of passionate scientists, academics and residents who have a great idea whose time has come.
Produced by: Total Destination Marketing
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