When it comes to acrimony, Scottsdale leads the pack. Certain surefire issues — development, parking, apartments, school vouchers, etc. — give some residents a platform to prove the power of their “passion.”
Show up at a City Council or Scottsdale Unified School District meeting and you’ll likely catch on quickly. Even more so if you attend neighborhood open houses on some of those issues where any semblance or protocol can quickly disappear.
It’s not just passion. Simply said, it’s rude behavior.
Now would be a good time to put a pause on all that and start acting, perhaps pretending, like we enjoy living together in the city. We don’t have to be one big happy family, but we could mind our Ps and Qs for a while.
Why? Because we are now just entering high-season for our tourism industry, a vital economic driver for the city, and rude behavior can have a negative economic impact.
A recent national survey of the 30 largest metro areas said the Phoenix region is one of the rudest. The Preply study last month asked residents in those markets to rate themselves in a way that could give potential tourists a preview of what to expect if they were to visit there. The Phoenix metro region was the 11th rudest in the country.
What it suggests is this: visitors to a city pay attention to the way people there treat each other, and they factor that in when they decide whether to return or recommend it to their friends.
This comes as the city gets ready for what tourism officials are promoting as “Scottsdale’s Super Season,” highlighted by the Super Bowl in just four short months. The game is played in Glendale but Scottsdale plays a leading role in just about everything else that week.
After struggling through COVID symptoms for the past few years, the city’s tourism industry is counting on this season as being a return to a full recovery.
When it was last here in 2015, the resorts in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley recorded their second highest daily occupancy rate ever the night before the game — 97.5%. In essence, the market was sold out.
Last year tourism delivered a $2.5 billion impact to the city, including $32.1 million in bed tax revenues — all of which eases the tax burden for all of us who live here. There’s every reason to think that this season’s numbers as we head into 2023 will be even better.
The Super Bowl is the main attraction but not the only one in the “Super Season”. The WM Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Parada del Sol and Western Week and the Arabian Horse show also draw visitors from around the world. And right after that comes the Cactus League, and this could be the first year since the pandemic that features a full slate of games with no interruptions.
As we put out the welcome mat for the world to come to Scottsdale this season, we should do all we can to ensure they’ll come back, bringing their dollars and perhaps even their business interests to the city. That formula has been part of the city’s growth and prosperity for decades.
What makes us rude, and leaves a negative impression on visitors? According to Preply, a language learning app and e-learning platform, here are five examples:
The survey took no notice of how we treat each other at public events. No need for that. We already know that score, and so does anyone else who pays attention to what happens in our city.
It’s time to put some smiles on our faces, treat each other with a little respect and welcome the world to Scottsdale in the months ahead. Who knows, maybe the smiles and the respect will last long after everyone leaves.
Editor’s Note: Don Henninger is a member of Independent Newsmedia’s Board of Directors.