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Guest Column by Uzek Susol: Do year-round residents really need more tourism to survive?

  • Written by Uzek Susol

I'm pondering and looking to understand the push for more Tourism and the people that say we (year-round locals) need them to survive.

We (year-round locals) have no available/affordable rentals, most went to air b&b's, ferries are jammed/difficult for locals to travel for medical appointments off island/supplies/work related off island runs, town is getting to be like Disneyland in summer, jammed.

All of the above makes locals strain under the above weight. I understand that if you chose to make your business tourism geared then you need tourists. But if you as a tourist-geared business can't support yourself, need to start go fund me's to sustain a tourist-geared business, struggle to find employee housing, put your employees in tents and camp trailers littered about or have to bring transient employees from off island,  then I'm just not understanding why you would keep putting all your eggs in that basket then push for more tourism.

How do tourists effect you in a positive way if your a carpenter, plumber, contractor, electrician, roofer, concrete/foundation installer, septic installer, well driller, carpet/tile installer, teacher, daycare worker, auto mechanic, marine mechanic, airplane mechanic, equipment operator, garbageman, county employee, truck driver, hardware store employee, tree service, caretaker, medical professional, dentist, chiropractor, physical therapist, utilities employee, therapist, hair stylist, office worker, accountant, book keeper, police officer, fire fighter, doctor, nurse, paramedic, vet, massage therapist, the list goes on...

No hate for tourists, we are all tourists in some way shape or form somewhere and we do live in a beautiful place but is MORE tourists the answer and sustainable?

Curious to what peoples thoughts are.

1) What are the advantages of tourism to Orcas Island for the year-round locals?

2) What are the disadvantages of tourists for the year-round locals?

3) What do tourists do to make Orcas a better place or bring to Orcas?

4) What is the percentage of year round locals that benefit or rely on their income from tourists that don't reach out to their community for financial support due to lack of income from the tourism-based industry.

Uzek Susol

Orcas Island