A proposal to keep RV visitors in town
Haines had done much to attract and accommodate cruise-ship visitors but there is little evidence of any effort to promote lasting and repeated visits from tourists on wheels. The goal seems to be to sell T-shirts to a few dozen transient passengers with the two hours they walk our streets rather than the RV visitor who may be tempted to linger and buy for several days, fishing and exploring the Chilkat Valley. Below is a simple outline for a two-part attraction, which would send the message that Haines welcomes out-of-town visitors.
Establish a free, municipal RV park within walking distance of downtown, on a first-come basis, with no reservations. Open slots only to persons who traveled at least as far as from Whitehorse, or another fixed distance. Provide no utility hook-ups. Overflow traffic could use the commercial parks. The area could be graveled and open only certain months per year. Costs would be paid by the additional sales tax generated by longer visits.
In addition, hold a drawing in the park for $100 worth of fuel or perhaps a fixed number of gallons. Drawing tickets would be issued by local businesses at the time of each purchase. Again, the person must prove with a driver’s license that they traveled to Haines from a prescribed distance.
These benefits of visiting Haines would be published in the Milepost and any other promotional material. They would promote a welcoming attitude toward visitors different from, "We just want you to visit to buy something."