Food, Gas, and Lodging: Signs Can Drive Local Tourism

Pueblo Colorado sign paying tribute to the city’s four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients: William J. Crawford – Army, WWII; Carl L. Sitter – Marines, Korea; Raymond G. “Jerry” Murphy – Marines, Korea; and Drew D. Dix – Army, Vietnam .

In a recent article, a Pueblo, Colorado businesswoman discussed the importance of signage on tourism.  It appears that despite the charm of the city, that its two major highways are just corridors for travelers to other parts of the state.  The problem, according to the author of the Pueblo Chieftain article “Signage needed to pull in tourists”, is just that, a lack of signage that can encourage people to stop and take a look at Pueblo.

The Riverwalk Historic District had billboards from one side of town to the next and an attractions sign at a key exit, to draw people to the district.  The effect was clear: people stopped and shopped – and brought much needed revenue to the city.  Then, the magic stopped, when three years ago the signs were removed.  As the signs came down, so did the foot traffic to the area, and the associated revenues and sales tax that had been such a boon to Pueblo’s economy.

According to one business owner in the district, when the signs came down, that affected about 60 percent of their income, which came from travelers and the freeway signs they had to lure them.  According to the article, the signage funding was diverted to radio and television advertising.  So where should the money be going?  The Pueblo Chieftain contributor suggests the following:

  • Signage along interstate and highway signs
  • Keep these billboards up year round
  • Consolidate with others that are successfully using highway signage
  • Don’t cut corners by placing signs in obscure or obfuscated locations
  • Keep up the entrances and exits of major entry points to the town – and especially the historic district (by investing in proper upkeep, tourists will want to visit the town and explore its sights and landmarks) – first impressions count

In addition to signage, there were many other noteworthy suggestions offered in the article, but the author reasserted that first and foremost the city needed to get back to a practice that was tried and true: attractive, visible and well-maintained highway signage.


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