Last weekend, while waiting at Denver International Airport for my return flight to Prescott, I sat across the aisle from a “30-something” year-old Nebraska couple and a Colorado student whom I guessed to be about 20 years old.
The student was offering the couple information on what to see and do while in Prescott, saying he grew up here, and returns regularly. He suggested they visit Whiskey Row; and if they “were into hiking and biking,” the Granite Dells.
That’s when I chimed into the conversation, emphasizing a visit to Granite Dells and Watson Lake. A third Prescott-area resident joined in, and we talked more about the Granite Dells. The Nebraskans said while their plans included Whiskey Row and Square, they definitely would take time to hike the Dells.
This exchange between strangers at Denver’s Airport emphasizes how “word of mouth” influences traveler choices. Recreational areas such as Prescott’s Granite Dells are compelling places for residents to suggest to visitors. Once Arizona Eco-Development builds in the Dells, conversations like this will soon exclude the Dells as a prime spot to hike, bike and enjoy nature ... one less “word of mouth” reason for recreational tourists to visit. Save the Dells’ proposed 500-acre regional park must be taken seriously by the mayor and City Council in negotiations with AED, if recreational tourism is to be part of our city’s continued draw. Imagine how different our airport conversation would have been if three Prescott-area residents told the story of the Granite Dells destroyed by a hotel and housing development.