Every time I manage to think it can’t get weirder, it gets weirder. But this time I think we jumped the shark. Time magazine named Park City one of the “World’s Greatest Places of 2022” in a list of 50 “Amazing Places to Explore”. It is absolutely remarkable. First of all, Time magazine still exist? But more importantly, ranking Park City among the top 50 destinations in the world, including the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, and several wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, seems a bit of a stretch. We’re not minced liver, but Park City among the top 50 places in the world? I do not think so.
The list is a bit odd. It’s eclectic, sure, but including places like Miami and Detroit raises questions about methodology. In a sidebar, Time said the list was compiled after “soliciting venue nominations from our international networks of correspondents and contributors, with an eye on those that offer new and exciting experiences”. Thus, a roller coaster in the United Arab Emirates was at the top of the list. Park City came second against this, followed by the Galapagos Islands. Other US destinations were Detroit, Miami, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. The International Space Station was also on the list, although none of us will ever get there. The list leans towards luxury hotels.
So as one of the greatest places in the world, what made Time focus on this floating city of Park City at the top of the list? Park City’s description begins with “‘If you build it, they’ll come’ seems to be Park City’s mantra.” This is of course the problem, not the solution. But apart from the unbridled growth, what has made Time find it so attractive? Well, there’s Sundance. And the Kimball Center for the Arts. “The city’s aspirations to be a creative hub beyond Sundance are on display in the new Arts and Culture District.” We are still looking for evidence.
I hate to break someone’s bubble, but if someone traveled halfway around the world to visit our arts and culture district, I think the experience might be a little less than expected. But I have to give credit to the city for reaping the benefits of all that art and culture without doing anything but taking out half a dozen successful businesses to create the weed-covered vacant lot. Who knows what other imaginary attractions we might market? Visit the Penguin Sanctuary at Richardson Flat and the Great Pyramids of Peoa.
Time also looked at the full range of summer activities, a few luxury hotel properties and high-end restaurants, giving the impression that their match naming Park City was all about high-thread count linens and food, and not perhaps had not ventured outside the hotel. Almost in passing they mentioned skiing. city park, Time reports, is “now emerging as a major winter and summer destination on par with Aspen.”
In other travel news, I recently came across an ad from the Nebraska State Travel Bureau. There was a really nice photo of a sunset in the prairies and a headline that said, “We’d put mountains up, but they’d just block the view. The official slogan of the Nebraska Travel Agency is “Nebraska.” Honestly, it’s not for everyone. I have to admit that I have never vacationed in Nebraska, although I have had great vacations in North and South Dakota. I’ve driven I-80 through Nebraska, and even at 80 miles per hour there seems to be more Nebraska than really needed. But with a marketing slogan like that, my interest is piqued and I might have to spend some time on it. The most appealing aspect of Nebraska is that it’s not on par with Aspen. And don’t want to be. There was a time when we didn’t want to be on par with Aspen either.
It is difficult to know what impact the Time ranking will have on local tourism. Among the remaining Time subscribers, if they are in the area, signing up would likely encourage at least one stopover. Maybe it will have a bigger impact, and people who can’t get a flight to Galapagos, or find the International Space Station is booked, might choose Park City instead. Or, we could encourage them to visit Nebraska. It’s not like we need more traffic. They could visit the world’s largest pair of overalls at Grand Island or the landlocked lighthouse at Gretna. There are many historical sites there. Their website shows a happy group floating down a river in a cattle trough. I have to admit it looks fun. Most of our rivers around here run too fast for that. This year, they are too superficial. In the plains, floating in a storage tank seems like a good time. Omaha also has a real arts and culture district, unlike some other places we know.
We should do our part and encourage people to visit Nebraska instead. Honestly, it’s not for everyone.