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War Won´t Damage Mother Lode Tourism

The Mother Lode region is heavily dependent on tourism to bring dollars into county and business coffers.

If and when a war with Iraq breaks out, Nanci Sikes with the Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau anticipates a sudden drop in tourist numbers – just like after the 9-11 attacks. But, she says, they will eventually bounce back.

“We are positioned as best we can be and I think we will be one of the survivors,” Sikes said.

“It is amazing,” she said. “Since 9-11, initially there was a major fall off in visitation, and then we saw more visitors coming.” She said that is due to a shift in marketing by visitor and tourism organizations, to focus on the in-state market of travelers. “Actually our numbers have been up ever since 9-11.”

Sikes predicts the number of domestic travelers — those from the western states, such as Oregon, Arizona and Nevada — will increase.

Governor Davis is not helping matters when it comes to tourism in the state. Sikes said the governor is planning, in his proposed new budget, to cut the state Division of Tourism office. €œWe have to convince our legislators that this is not a wise thing to do,” Sikes Said.

Sikes will be this week€™s guest on AM 1450 KVML´s Mother Lode Views. That program airs 9:30 a.m. Sunday.