City Government

Tourists Still Aimless In Boise

We are about to begin another tourist season and the Visitors Bureau crowed on TV Friday that we have 20% more hotel rooms than we had last year. We still don’t have any signs to direct tourists to local attractions.

A year ago the GUARDIAN posted a plea for some local agency to provide directional signs for tourists to make our town a “tourist friendly” destination.

We showed examples from Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. With few exceptions, motorists venturing off the traffic mess on Interstate-84 enter a twilight zone when it comes to getting to and from our local attractions.

At major intersections we need signs like the one in our recent photo from Washington, D.C. The secret is to have distinctive uniform information signs.

Folks could easily visit BSU, the Old Pen Museum, City Hall, Capitol Building, Fair Grounds (or Expo Idaho), Garden City, Eagle, Downtown, and the Airport with some well placed directional signs.

Once again the GUARDIAN asks the Visitors and Convention Bureau or the G-BAD (Greater Boise Auditorium District), the ACHD, Boise City, or the Chamber of Commerce to pony up some funds for signs.

Unfortunately all those politicos are too busy creating and then dealing with GROWTH. We know there are plenty of people in city hall reading this, how about some action?

Comments & Discussion

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  1. More attractions. Lucky Peak/Sandy Point, Bogus Basin, Foothills trailheads, and Greenbelt.

  2. Maybe the State Police could do it.
    It’d keep ’em out of the bikini bars, and be a lot more useful to their wage-payers (us) than hanging out watching the babes for six months or so.

  3. Aren’t you worried that signs like these will encourage tourists to become immigrants?

  4. Boise has innumerable great spots that any visitor /tourist would pay and then enjoy seeing and experiencing. Why the visitors bureau and Chamber of Commerce don’t make it easy for out of town folks to enjoy these spots is simple. Their thinking one thing – How can I play up the money angles that unfortunately take many naive tourists for a rip-off ride.

    Expensive hotels and luxurious bar restaurants along with the host of other tourist traps are not what Boise is all about. I’ve lived in innumerable American cities and have never seen a park system as beautiful as Boise’s. The triangle of Art and History museums with the library right in Julia Davis is a stroke of architectural genius. A drive up Harrison Ave . all the way to Bogus is a treat while the same along Warm Springs drive ,viewing the magnifico mansions is more than pleasant.

    The Greenbelt and Boise River as well as the old penitentiary and the ” birds of Prey” sactuary… there’s so many places. Boise needs a system of large signs, all uniform, pointing out to tourists which way to go, to be able to enjoy all the above. It’s just common sense ,Team Dave, plus it’s profitable, adds to the cities rep. and everybody,including the taxpayers wins( why not have a local option tax for bus transportation partially funded by tourism profits?)

  5. Naznarreb said: “Aren’t you worried that signs like these will encourage tourists to become immigrants?”

    Hmmm … might be. But I figured the reason we don’t have signs is the turistas will spend hours wandering around trying to find the few things they’ve heard about, then be hungry and tired, so they’ll eat in a local restaurant and spend the night in a hotel. Then maybe the next day or two, they’ll try again — more restaurant meals and another hotel stay or two. Then they’ll give up and go home.

    If everything were clearly posted, they could find the particular things they’re interested in, see them, then be several towns away by the time they got hungry and tired.

    Ya reckon?

  6. The local hotels collect MILLIONS of room tax dollars and then they hand it over to the state and local folks and we don’t even get simple road signs to lead people off the freeway to the attractions – maybe the Chamber of Commerce should spend all the money they make on the State of the City payoff event on doing a better job of helping tourists – not paying lobbists!

  7. Well I think this should be something paid for by the City of Boise. They could set up an RFP, and I’m sure all the local sign companies can then bid with their ideas and their cost proposals. My parent’s came to visit Boise, and well they were lucky to have a tour guide or two, but this isn’t always the case. And no they didn’t stay at one of the new hotels, instead they opted to stay at the Idaho Heritage Inn, which is akin to staying in a guest bedroom in a nice house.

  8. My point in making these comments is not to appear defensive but to clarify some misunderstandings.

    As the Exec of the Convention Bureau, I would say that “crowing” about new hotel rooms is a stretch. Channel 2 came to my office and asked if Boise has seen new hotel growth and my answer was “Yes, about 20% new inventory”. Just the answer to a question.

    As it relates to visitors – The Bureau’s job is to encourage visitors to come to Boise because it is good for so many local businesses and because it is a great place to visit. I have to agree that there is not great signing, but we do (courtesy of funding from the Greater Boise Auditorium District) run two visitor information centers. One on Vista Ave and one on the Grove downtown. There is signing downtown, on the freeway and on Vista leading visitors to these centers where 50 dedicated volunteers provide lots of information not only about attractions but whatever other information visitors request. We print and provide guides, museum and arts brochures, maps etc. More than 12,000 visitors came to the infomation centers last year.

    The Bureau does not generate any revenue from these visitors we are simply committed to seeing that people have the best possible experience while visiting Boise.

    Clancy says that the hotel room tax generates “millions” of dollars (about 2.8M annually) and I wonder if they understand that those dollars pay debt on Boise Centre on the Grove and fund the Convention Bureau marketing efforts. The Greater Boise Auditorium District is the one public entity that dedicates the revenue they collect directly back into the community. Its directors earn $5 per month so it is hard to call that a “Bureaucracy”
    We appreciate, Guardian, that you believe tourists deserve to be welcome in the city and provided with good information. We are doing everything we can to see that visitors are well served. Is anyone else stepping up?

    EDITOR NOTE–Bobbi, glad you read the posting. No one is faulting the efforts of your agency, they–and the GUARDIAN–are saying it is time to get some decent signage. As we mentioned, the ACHD, Boise City, Chamber, G-BAD all need to get together and make Boise a visitor-friendly place. We would also like to get you a spot at the Depot!

  9. Love the idea of the Depot. We have pursued it by there is one major problem–You can’t get into the depot if you are headed north coming off of the freeway. That has kept us from pursing use of that as a visitor information site.

  10. Bobbie–
    With the positive “get er done” attitude of the GUARDIAN and politicos falling all over themselves this election year to “do good,” you can just about plan on having a Visitor Center at the depot if you really want it–complete with directional signs to help visitors get in and out of the place.

  11. As there seems to be an overall expansion of Boise Hotels, as well as an annual increase in tourism during the summer months. The obvious next step is for the city to post signs correlating with the city’s tourist industry.

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