Our Opinion: Welcome winter visitors

November 26, 2001

Anyone short of John Dillinger bringing money to a community is considered a welcome guest, so when a community gets an influx of people each year bringing money to the community who at the same time are really nice, it is doubly wonderful.

Every winter we are visited in the Imperial Valley by thousands of people from the north, from both Canada and the northern parts of our country, who stay for a few months in our mobile home parks and elsewhere, eat in our restaurants, use our recreational facilities, attend our community events and help in the community. And almost all of these visitors go everywhere with a smile.

Who can blame them, really? Most are retired, have enough money to get by, and when things start getting cold up north, they head for the sunshine here just as the orb is losing its burning powers in these parts. The weather the last few weeks, since the snowbirds started arriving, has been nearly perfect, save for a windy or damp day here or there just to break things up a bit.


Many area businesses are getting more and more tuned in to catering to our winter visitors. For example, here at the Press we try to include more news from the north and from Canada during our winter months. And — we hope this isn't stereotyping — we also include more hockey scores. Others businesses do other things to appeal to snowbirds.

Still, we wonder if we in the Imperial Valley could somehow work as one to bring more winter visitors here. If we are ever to even begin to think of approaching the numbers nearby Yuma draws in winter visitors, an organized Valleywide plan needs to be hatched.

As much as we like Yuma, we don't know that it has enough to attract at least 10 times the winter visitors that we do. Part of it is organization and unity. Officials in Yuma County work together to draw and service the snowbirds, and the economy there rakes in the bounty.

The only organized thing we offer, aside from maybe a golf tournament here or there, is our annual welcome breakfast for snowbirds. Maybe the idea of a more concerted and unified snowbird attraction effort and retention program could jump into the lap of the Imperial Valley Joint Chamber of Commerce.

Still, with our lovely winter weather, our nice people, our fine and often uncrowded golf courses our border culture and more, we already have a lot to offer winter visitors this and every other winter.

So welcome, Snowbirds.

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