Jamestown 2007 could boost tourism for years to come. But will it prove to be the success that organizers are hoping for?
It will be built. It will be marketed. But will they come?
The planning that has gone into the Jamestown 2007 commemoration is less than a year from reality. In May 2006, the Godspeed ship will sail along the east coast to entice tourists to come to the 400th anniversary commemoration of America's first permanent English-speaking settlement.
The Godspeed trek will mark the first of 11 main events that will raise awareness about the magnitude of the commemoration planned for 2007. Tourism leaders throughout Virginia are planning to capitalize on what might be the single biggest tourism draw the state has ever seen.
Between construction at the Jamestown sites, roads and rest stops, Virginia taxpayers are investing more than $150 million in the commemoration. But the marketing budget is limited and relying heavily on the collateral buzz generated by "The New World," the feature film about the founding of Jamestown shot on the shores of the Chickahominy River in Charles City County.
And fundraising is $6 million behind, raising the possibility that the promotional events will be scaled back in some form. The success of the commemoration is vital to the entire Historic Triangle, where tourism has lagged and hotels are suffering.
The 350th anniversary of Jamestown led to the creation of the Jamestown Settlement site and boosted the popularity of Colonial Williamsburg. The question today is whether the regional historical tourism economy can use the 400th anniversary to launch a comeback.
WHAT'S THE FUSS ABOUT?
The region is preparing to celebrate the 400th anniversary of America's first English-speaking settlement.
Tourism leaders hope to match the success of the 350th anniversary, which transformed the historic area.
But fundraising is behind, and if more money isn't secured, some events could be scaled back.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times