Last week, while most citizens' attention was focused on the Hagerstown city election, some Washington County Commissioners had second thoughts about restructuring the county's tourism operation. Their concern is too little, too late, and they should step aside and allow changes to take place.
Commissioner Ron Bowers questioned the wisdom of closing several of the county's information centers and directing funds away from some events the agency has traditionally funded, like the Miss Maryland pageant. We agree that if there's only going to be one information center, downtown Hagerstown may not be the best site, if only because there aren't any Winnebago-sized parking spaces within a block of Public Square.
But the idea that all these centers and activities should be funded because they promote "long-range tourism" is flawed.
Why is that? Because there's never been a tracking mechanism to establish a relationship between brochures handed out and sites visited. Nor has there been any serious study of how many visitors individual events like the Miss Maryland pageant bring to the area.