By Submitted Story on August 21, 2020
We are connected more than ever of late to current headlines governing even our day-to-day actions. Here on the Outer Banks, the summer tourism season remains in full swing, and we attribute so much ongoing economic activity in part to the most recent COVID headlines making the Outer Banks more popular than ever.
While there is some strong anecdotal attribution to COVID impacting vacation decisions, sustainable local tourism remains a reflection not of a pandemic, but of an infrastructure long-game in which it’s much harder to link cause and effect across time. Because it is difficult, however, doesn’t mean we should neglect a deeper understanding of the “long-pole” in our economic tent. It is a deliberate story, not reactive, and well-considered as opposed to one in haste.
In short, the Outer Banks has always been resilient in the face of larger economic adversity because our elected officials, on behalf of our citizens, have made far-sighted strategic decisions with scarce resources to invest in the surest possible insulation against the ebbs and flows of economic turbulence — infrastructure. They took, in other words, an architectural perspective to our community.
First and foremost, the Outer Banks is popular because of what it was before COVID —
a truly remarkable natural environment that’s accessible to so much of America and beyond. Specifically, there are several local decisions over the years that have reaffirmed that environment:
Each of these items has been largely absent from much of the public discussion around travel and tourism locally and yet each item has played an integral role in the sustainability of our by-far largest industry in the face of the global question mark around COVID.
While we have become, as an information society, adept at blame for slow progress, we would do well to be equally adept at giving credit where it’s rightly due — the organizations, representatives, and most importantly taxpayers who invested many years ago in our success today. The late-night local planning meetings, crowded commissioner sessions and thankless statewide budget debates have made the Outer Banks vibrant not because of COVID but in spite of it.
Long after the COVID wave has passed, our economy will endure as a reflection not of the headlines but because of the vision of a relatively few public servants — some here, some already departed — dedicated to making this a great place to be for everyone. Their cause is our effect.
Clark Twiddy is president of Twiddy & Company.