Heritage is everything. Heritage is who we are; it makes everyone and everyplace unique.
But some heritage is not interesting to everyone. For instance, most people don’t go to New York due to its heritage; not Myrtle Beach nor Pigeon Forge.
So we must ask: Why is the city of Bristol relying so much on its heritage to draw tourists? Our area is ripe with land and room for economic growth, but focusing on the past is not the way to lead Bristol into the future.
Not everyone enjoys bluegrass music, nor does everyone enjoy NASCAR. We must find new ways to develop without only appealing to niche markets.
Bristol, Virginia, has the potential to become a tourist destination, but not the way it currently is being attempted. Those in charge must realize that younger people now require valid reasons to visit a certain place on a trip or vacation. Bristol, Tennessee, has realized this with The Pinnacle and other retail and commercial developments.
So, while Bristol, Tennessee, might appear to be a valid trip destination to those young travelers due to their many developments, Bristol, Virginia, has no such draw to it, due to a number of bad decisions, and due to such choices it shall decline in population and economic growth.
Bristol, Virginia, has such unique potential, but even with the proposed casino mall plan and possible return of passenger rail service, these alone are not enough to save the troubled city.
Twin cities, one on the verge of wealth and the other on the verge of bankruptcy — it is time to change, and it is time to look forward and keep looking forward.