Comment of the Day: Houston Is Not Here For Your Entertainment

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON IS NOT HERE FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT Overhead Photo of 1968 Model of AstroWorld, Houston“I am glad that I do not live in a city where tourism is a focus. Tourism jobs tend to be low-wage/low-skill jobs. Tourism tends to be cyclical and creates a feast or famine phenomenon for local merchants and the local economy. We do not need that here. I prefer a city that focuses on real economic growth as well as quality of life issues like mobility, schools, parks and public safety. I do not want a bunch of lookie loos in my city. Come to live and work here, please, but go visit somewhere else.” [Jardineor1, commenting on Mayor Turner Wants a Theme Park in the Middle of Houston Again] Photo of 1967 model of AstroworldBill Davenport

19 Comment

  • Why is this the “comment of the day”? It is complete ignorance.

  • No Ma’am I don’t find Houston the least bit amusing.
    I don’t think Houston will never have a MAJORITY tourism sector anyway – like a city on an ocean, at the gateway to a National Park… But I can’t see that a strong tourism income could be a bad thing

  • Tourists spend money. Period. I don’t go to theme parks when I travel. I go to fabulous restaurants and bars. Fork out a decent amount of cash on a hotel room with a view. Yeah I check out the cheesy landmarks, but not all tourists are the Griswald’s going to Wally World. What are our current tourists doing? Going to the Galleria. We will never be a European Capital with hours long lines to get to the MFAH. Wake up.

  • Actually . . . if there’s a city that can deal with a cyclical industry, isn’t it this one?

  • What the city needs, within the 610 loop , are more housing and pedestrian areas , not for section 8 housing , but for a population that can sustain and maintain their neighborhoods and homes to lift up the city and attract more business and create a more dynamic city center. That , if anything will attract some segment of the tourism trade if coupled with a convention or special event or entertainment . We need to get Dallas Street built up and fill in the parking lots that still plague the south eastern end of down town . We need to connect downtown to midtown to the museum district to the medical center and create a real city ….not continue to harbor halfway houses, food giveaways to the homeless at the public library and Herman Park , allow homeless to congregate in massive clumps and basically fracture the potential of the areas of the city they populate. The amusement park? …. For our demographic of Houston trash and 3rd world over populators you mean? That’s what Astroworld became after all the middleclass population was run out of town.

  • @ John M.: The comment of the day is not ignorant in any way. It is very accurate. Go to any resort town and see what a tourism dependent looks like behind the scenes. A few owners making megabucks, a small layer of managers making middle class salaries, and vast majority making minimum wages plus tips.

    @ movocelot: Agreed. Houston lacks a distinctive waterfront or historic district that would bring in tourists. We simply are not well positioned to ever have a big tourism sector. I’m not sure the Mayor understands that.

  • Why can’t we have both?

    New York City, San Francisco, London, Paris, etc….etc…

    All of those cities have ‘real’ economic growth, and significant tourist income.

  • @Enginerd: Why we can’t have both: Heat. Humidity. Flatness. Refinery odor. Landfill odor. Toxic mold.

  • Like others have said, we should just cut our losses and devote time, money, and energy to developing other things besides a tourism industry. City government should focus on fixing the streets, policing, libraries, parks, and the pension problem rather than squander their energies on amusement parks.
    .
    As a long-time Houstonian, our city is a great place to live and work – but not to visit. Not a knock on us but simple reality.

  • Popular tourist cities tend to have some or all of these attributes:

    1. Decent weather
    2. Consistent/pretty architecture (with historical preservation)
    3. Interesting and/or deep history
    4. Prominent geographic features (river, mountains/hills, ocean, lake)
    5. Critical mass of interesting things to do

    Houston does not have enough of these attributes to be on the tourist radar. We can’t control #1, 3 or 4. We could control #2 by preserving stuff, but that’s also a pipe dream. The only feasible achievement would be #5. I would support any move in that direction, but do not ever expect Houston to really become anything other than a nice place to live and work, but go play elsewhere. Also, San Antonio tends to suck the life out of Houston’s tourist prospects. They have a lot going on there (#2-5), and are only a 3 hour drive away.

  • I don’t see what’s wrong with having another industry, cyclical or not. I mean, really, we shouldn’t have an industry because it’s cyclical? Hello, oil industry? That’s the epitome of a cyclical industry.
    .
    But I do agree with Memebag. Our climate absolutely sucks for an outdoor tourism industry, not to mention being the only city I’ve ever seen that had all the pollution of a deepwater port with none of the scenery.
    .
    If only we had a gigantic, air conditioned space that could hold an amusement park…

  • Houston has significant tourist income from Medical, oil/gas conventions, NASA, and Joel Olsteen (Not proud that i know this). People from all over the world travel to Houston for our Technical capabilities, not for the climate or some type of entertainment. Live here, play elsewhere.

  • The climate issue is overplayed; look at any of the tourism cities of the southern / southeastern U.S. and they have a similar summer climate to Houston, though the ones on the seafront might have more breezes. They just focus their appeal to non-summer months (2/3-3/4 the year).
    .
    That said, I’m not particularly interested in Houston becoming a “tourist” city in the manner of San Antonio. Though the imported tourist dollars are some nice gravy for the economy, as noted by others, the jobs tend to have low pay scales, especially if the tourist are predominately middle class. For example, look at Galveston…

  • Re Houston’s climate retarding our tourism industry: I just returned from visiting Italy. The high temperatures during my trip were in the low 90s F, and the humidity was 70-90% near the coast. The places I visited rank very low on the availability of both air conditioning and ice cubes. Nevertheless, everywhere I went was crammed full of tourists.
    .
    Conclusion: It isn’t the climate.
    Hypothesis: Perhaps we just need more gelato stands and 500-to-1900-year-old buildings.

  • I write from Savannnah, GA, where the climate is nearly identical with Houston’s. Even the flora is the same: Live oaks, azaleas, camellias, ligustrum (admittedly only one of these is native). Here the architecture preservation is well ahead of Houston’s, and though there have been plenty of mistakes, Savannah tries harder. I passed a new building proudly displaying a ‘Certificate of Appropriateness’ and the tour guides use terms like ‘sympathetic infill’. I think the historic buildings, churches and squares, and the biggest freakin’ live oaks you’re ever gonna see are great draws here, despite the climate.

  • All this belly-aching over the weather is always amazing to me. I hope at least you guys are from somewhere else less hot. Then at least you have an excuse. For those of you from here: GET OVER IT. I spent all of last week out and about, shopping and working outside my house and it was just fine. Maybe get out from under your 72 degree temperature blower at home and acclimatize yourself to a portion of the earth’s natural climate. IT IS OK TO SWEAT. What was that bit from Louis CK about humans must be from another planet because we’re so uncomfortable here (on earth)? That is you.

  • What is the oil industry, if not cyclical? I mean, really. Give me some tourism to bolster the economy in a weak spot. I am happy to hear that there are a lot of minimum wage jobs available in the tourist related industry. If even one person can use a minimum wage job to help ends meet, or better yet, use that minimum wage job as a launch point to go to an even better opportunity then it’s a success.

  • @OldPostCommenter, I can completely agree with you about getting used to the heat, but what’s the solution to the mosquitos!! I would love to spend more time on my patio. I spray the back yard and sit under ceiling fans and recently have still been driven into the house because of those nasty little critters.

  • I recently spent some time in a city nearby to a major national monument associated with a Hitchcock movie. It was 95 degrees. We don’t have a more sophisticated tourism economy because there really aren’t things to see or do — too far from the Gulf for fishing, no national parks or monuments, relatively few quaint or quirky historical districts. For many people from outside of Houston there is no “there” here. We do get significant medical tourism and we get some from the Galleria, although it hurts our hotel business because it splits the weekday/weekend traffic with downtown. I don’t mind some efforts to boost tourism here, but I recognize that people come to Houston because of our entrepreneurial spirit and generally libertarian attitude. They come here to succeed and then go visit other places.