LETTER: Tourism provides for Prince Edward County’s economy

With due respect to Eric De Pauw (The Gazette, Aug.6: Tourism does nothing to benefit most ratepayers) , I suggest he is dead wrong in his assertion “tourism does nothing to benefit most ratepayers”.

I am both a ratepayer and local business that in addition to welcoming local residents to our establishment also enjoys the benefits of tourism.

Like many business owners in the County, I shop for groceries in our local stores, buy drugs at the drug store, have printing done at the local print shop, buy my car and have it serviced by a local dealer, enjoy wine, beer and other locally grown fruits & vegetables, honey and maple syrup  produced in the County.  I buy fencing and other farm supplies from the local farm supply store and all the hardware I need locally in this community.

I could go on about our relationship with the local vet, the doctor & dentist, the cleaning company, the plumbers and electricians, the propane suppliers, etc., the list is as long as there are providers in the community.  But the point is surely made here that:  When the writer asserts that “profits remain with the business owners” he is wrong!

Profits are generally re-invested in the business and/or spent within this community! By way of example, a tourist may not buy a car in the County – but undoubtably contributes to the revenue of those business owners who live and work in the county, who in turn buy the car, the machinery and all the other products and services offered in the County.

I am not alone in this pattern of spending. Particularly here in the County, where there is a strong sense of supporting each other, both as residents and businesses!  We currently have a mayor, council and staff at Shire Hall who DO understand the synergy between businesses and residents – responding to and developing plans that insure some balance is achieved.

The added burden of dealing with social distancing and COVID19 protocol this year has presented more than the usual issues surrounding the management of tourism, to which again the current administration has been steadfast in dealing with and communicating with both residents and businesses alike. While tourism impacts any community like ours – and can seem disruptive, it will continue to increase as the County is discovered. How the community deals with that impact is what is important, but to say that it “does nothing to benefit most ratepayers” is simply not true.

The delicate balance or “synergy” the writer speaks of between residents and businesses begins with understanding how the tourist does contribute and how we as residents can make that synergy the best it can be for both!

Ted Pickering