If you were to call people around the country and ask them their thoughts about Carson City, it's likely a good portion of them would recognize us as being close to Lake Tahoe and Reno. But they probably wouldn't know much more about Nevada's capital city.
Now is a good time to start changing that, according to a tourism specialist who visited town last week.
In light of all the positive developments happening in Carson City, we agree.
Carson City doesn't have to compete with Reno or Tahoe. It has an identity of its own in its history, something local tourism officials have been trying to promote.
And the future looks very bright, if the city takes a smart approach to promoting it.
Tourism already is an important source of revenue for the city. In summer, most motels are full of visitors. The city logs approximately 2 million stays at motel rooms each year, many of whom are tourists here for attractions such as museums, the Capitol and golf. That number is about 500,000 more than just five years ago.
When the Virginia & Truckee Railway becomes a reality by 2010, the numbers will be higher still. If organizers are able to find funding for a Chinese Workers Museum, the sky's the limit.
Following in their wake will be more and better hotel rooms and other amenities, including more things for visitors to do after dark.
It's an exciting future, but it will happen slowly.
For now, the key is to develop a strong, cohesive message, or brand, that potential visitors will recognize.
The Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau is considering seeking outside help in developing that message and a plan for getting it out. We think, if done wisely, that's an investment that could pay major dividends.