Thursday, February 28, 2013

Winter Travel Shows by John Dersham

I have just completed this year’s round of winter travel shows to promote tourism in DeKalb County. These shows are a fairly inexpensive way to talk to a lot of people in person about our area and basically try and sell them on planning their vacation to our area. This is done via conversation, travel guides, websites, social media and pictures. The primary objective is to educate our guests about us, i.e., what to see, where to go, how far away we are, how much it cost to visit our area. They want to know about lodging, attractions, food, entertainment, etc. Usually a discussion with visitors to our booth will last five to fifteen minutes based on the verbal level of detail they would like to talk about. We equip each guest with a bag of travel info from our area. This year I worked at the Columbus, Ohio AAA Great Vacations Expo, the Indianapolis Travel, Boat, and RV, fishing and Motorcycle Show and the Greenville, SC Southern Travel Show. We are represented by Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association and the State of Alabama Department of Travel and Tourism and other shows too, including; Cincinnati, Ohio and Louisville, KY. In the spring I will attend the Southern Women’s show in Nashville and others will attend the Memphis and Chattanooga Shows and they will help represent our area. These travel expos are a very personal way to connect to our potential visitor and it gives us a chance to invite them to come see us in person.  Many of these shows are a winter attraction in themselves. People come to these shows for entertainment on a cold winter weekend. Many of these expos have stars performing or appearing for autographs. There are lectures and give a ways. There is food and beverage and lots to see. Travel organizations from around the world attend many of these shows. It is also a place to look at and buy an RV, boat, motorcycle or camping and fishing equipment.
We have continued to grow tourism in DeKalb even in an economy that is not that strong. I feel these shows are just another way we get our name and location out to the public. Many of these travel shows have existed since the early 50’s and have become an annual event for residents in their locations.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Progress of Humanity by John Dersham

Yes, when you listen to the news of which there is plenty, especially with 24 hour news stations, all the news or most seems bad. Kidnappings, murders, hate crimes, robberies, war, greed, corruption, etc. It is my opinion that despite the bombardment of bad news that our world is getting better and better all the time. If you look back at our history we were quite barbaric people from our beginning. Technology, which I feel is also in perpetual improvement, is allowing us a voice we never had. Even in depressed dictator countries the voice of the people can no longer be silenced, thanks to smart phone technology, social media and the internet. No longer can people be isolated from the truth. I think this is why the time is coming when there will be no dictators. To be a dictator you must silence your people and this is no longer possible. Bad news aside let’s talk about how wonderful we are. When someone is in trouble we come to the rescue. When storms hit we come to help in masses. We provide physical labor and great amounts of financial support. We all remember April 27, 2011. Look how we came together to help. All around the world there have been disasters of the same magnitude and we the people have been there for those adversely affected. As we are able to communicate with everyone around the world, as we do via technology we find the vast majority of people all around the world are exactly like us. They want peace, they want to help their neighbors, they love their families and when we communicate with them they become our friends. No longer do we look at people we don’t know as the enemy. We, through growing and improving worldwide technology, are becoming friends. I feel step by step, year by year from the beginning of mankind we are inching our way to becoming that which God created us to be and that is the beautiful wonder individual God created in each of us. Yes, it is a journey and we have a long way to go but I am convinced the journey is always in the right direction despite the bad news along the way. It was not very long ago our leaders could be corrupt and the public never knew it. Now if you break the law or break the accepted morale code you will get caught and it will be publicized. Gradually we are figuring out what God put inside us to begin with and that is love, kindness and caring for fellow mankind and for all of Gods other creations. However you feel about Heaven or Hell or God and the Devil or if you don’t believe in either, there is Free Will. Free Will given to us by the creator lets us decide our choices, right or wrong, kind or hateful, greedy or sharing, egotistical or modest, war or peace, love or hate. These are our decisions everyday and have been from our beginning and now through our several thousand year journey we are gradually a fraction at a time learning our way.