Vail Daily column: Public-private partnerships require private support
“Public-private partnership” is a hot buzzword and is all the rage as government at all levels struggle to find funding and as private enterprise recognizes the need to contribute to local projects that help drive the success of their communities.
One local example of a public-private partnership is the EGE Air Alliance. The EGE Air Alliance was created to improve air service to the Eagle County Regional Airport. Over the past several months the Alliance has developed a three-year strategic plan and has met with a variety of government entities in Eagle County. In the meetings, the Alliance has presented their strategic plan, service options and requested financial support to increase flights into the Vail/Eagle County Regional Airport.
The three-year plan includes air service options for the winter, summer and fall seasons. The plan focuses on markets that have the best opportunity for success with the least amount of risk. Future flight options include summer service from markets including Houston and Chicago; fall service from Dallas; and potential winter service from new markets including Washington, D.C., Toronto and San Francisco. The Alliance also works with Vail Resorts and Eagle County to maintain http://www.FlyVail.com as a resource for locals and destination guests.
The Eagle County Regional Airport is an economic driver and a great asset to our community as it creates over 250 jobs and generates $447 million annual output in addition to the local sales taxes paid by tenants. Don’t forget the convenience of having daily direct flights throughout the winter and additional service during the summer and fall to service the local community.
Sounds great, right? But who pays for this? Kudos to Vail Resorts for their leadership and support for the winter flights and kudos to Eagle County and our local municipalities for their support of the EGE Air Alliance to help support increased summer and fall flights. That’s the public part of “public/private partnership.” The “private” part, however, is lacking significant participation from the Vail Valley business community.
The Vail Valley Partnership has been a part of the EGE Air Alliance from the beginning and would encourage your business to also support the efforts of the EGE Air Alliance. Currently only about 30 private business entities support this effort, ranging from banks to resort hotels, rental car companies to ground transportation providers, property management companies to real estate companies. But the benefits of the airport are much broader and the impacts affect us all, from restaurants to retailers to galleries and more. If your business services second homeowners or destination guests, it’s highly likely that you benefit from the EGE airport and the efforts of the EGE Air Alliance.
Public-private partnerships such as the EGE Air Alliance are only successful with private contributions and the engagement and participation of the business community. The potential flights from the markets outlined above can only happen if enough money is raised from the private sector – if your business doesn’t participate, it’s incumbent on you to join the effort to increase our tourism and air service via the EGE Air Alliance. Increased participation and collaboration from the private sector is essential to the growth of the airport and increased air service from new markets to our community and resorts.
Please contact Kent Myers via email firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-390-7207 to join the program to help bring increased air service to EGE over the next three years and beyond.
As always, I encourage all member businesses to get engaged with the Partnership and to contact us with any suggestions you may have to help us better serve you. Call us at 970-476-1000 or stop by our offices in Avon at Traer Creek Plaza to share your feedback.
Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership