Monday, February 9, 2015

Am I One Of Downtown Fort Worth's Imaginary 6.5 Million Annual Visitors?

No, that is not a headline from a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article from several years ago, back when there was a constant drumbeat over the need to expand Fort Worth's Convention Center, where few conventions take place, and add a Convention Center hotel.

I believe an actual rare Fort Worth public vote, of sorts, took place on that previous expand the convention center/build a hotel issue. After the vote the Convention Center was expanded and a hotel was built. I do not remember what the public part of the vote was, whether or not it was voting to approve charging a fee to use the Convention Center's restrooms, or what.


The headline above is from a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, titled, as you might guess, Fort Worth should expand convention center, add downtown hotel, travel expert says.

This is what is known as deja vu, all over again.

The article contains what seems to me to be some rather amusing jaw droppers. I'll copy part of the article below...

Expanding the Fort Worth Convention Center could be a “game changer” for the city, one of the nation’s top travel and tourism leaders said Wednesday.

“You’ve got such a unique thing. It’s just so special,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, told more than 300 people attending the second annual Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau meeting on Wednesday.

“To grow the convention center ... it will be a driver for business in this community,” Dow said. “It’s the biggest thing you have to do.”

The city is considering a consultant report from last summer that calls for tearing down the round arena on the north end of the 45-year-old convention center at Ninth and Commerce streets, and building a multistory structure to provide an additional 200,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space. The report also calls for a second convention center hotel, saying that as many as 1,400 hotel rooms are needed downtown to remain competitive.

Fort Worth had 6.5 million visitors last year, up 20 percent over the past five years, he said.

“I don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re doing something special,” Dow said. “I can’t think of a market that is better poised to take advantage of the growing leisure market than this whole area.”

Where do I start?

Okay, first off, Fort Worth has a perfectly nice downtown, for the most  part. I would never suggest otherwise.


There is nothing remotely special about downtown Fort Worth.


The only way anyone could think downtown Fort Worth is special is if they have never visited any other big city downtown in America. Or the world.

If by special one means Fort Worth is unique in that for years now it has allowed a park at the north end of its downtown, a park celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, titled, appropriately enough, Heritage Park, to be a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded, run-down eyesore, I agree, a big city allowing such an eyesore to fester for so long is pretty special.

Fort Worth had 6.5 million visitors last year? Are we talking all of Fort Worth? Or just the downtown?

Either way, 6.5 million visitors is a bit hard to believe. That works out, if my calculator is calculating correctly, to 17,808 visitors a day.

I have been to towns which attract out of town and out of state visitors. In those towns one sees many vehicles with out of state license plates. Visit Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, New York City, San Antonio, Miami, New Orleans, Boston, Phoenix, Orlando and many of America's other big cities and you will see towns where it is believable they attract 6.5 million, or more, visitors a year.

I am going to downtown Fort Worth today. Am I going to be counted as one of those 6.5 million visitors?

Years ago when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the rest of the Fort Worth Dunce Confederacy propaganda machine was in full hyperbole mode it was claimed that a sporting goods store, Cabela's, would draw between 5 and 8 million (the number varied depending on who the propagandist was) visitors, giving Fort Worth the #1 tourist attraction in Texas.

Are the same propagandizing reality distorters who came up with those numbers of predicted Cabela's visitors the same hyperbolizers who came up with Fort Worth having 6.5 million visitors?

Have you seen many of those downtown Fort Worth visitors? Have you seen a downtown with a lot of visitors? The downtowns of towns with a lot of visitors have streets teeming with people, including on the Day after Thanksgiving. Have you seen what happens in a town where cruise ships dock? Or a town where actual big conventions take place?

What is it those 6.5 million visitors to downtown Fort Worth are visiting? We have already eliminated the boarded up Heritage Park. Are they cramming into downtown Fort Worth's little square known a Sundance Square Plaza? Roaming around the Water Gardens?

We know Fort Worth's 6.5 million visitors are not shopping in any of downtown Fort Worth's vertical malls or department stores, because none exist.

What is this president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association talking about when he says Fort Worth is doing something special and that no market is better poised to take advantage of the growing leisure market?


Can anyone explain to me what downtown Fort Worth's leisure activities are that are not taking place in every big city downtown in America? Restaurants? A movie theater? A performance hall? Parking lots?


Downtown Rockin' the River Inner Tube Happy Hour Floats in a polluted river are about the only thing I can come up with that you can do in downtown Fort Worth that you can not do in any other big city in America....

1 comment:

Steve A said...

In addition to the Will Rogers expansion? How is expanding two different venues in Fort Worth cost effective compared to just one?