Vail Valley Voices: Double dip dread
Vail, CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report for September. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com
A worsening of the European sovereign debt crisis combined with a first ever downgrading of America’s financial rating sent the world equity market gyrating.
Public negativism and wavering confidence in government and financial institutions are being exacerbated by prolonged high unemployment and slow economic growth. The U.S. ratings drop is being blamed on the inability of national elected officials to forge a political consensus to reduce government spending and/or increase revenues.
Concerns over an uncertain future could cause a pull back in domestic consumer spending, increasing the probability of a double-dip recession. If these conditions persist, there are those predicting that the average American will be faced with a lower standard of living, like has occurred in Japan during the last 20 years.
Small and mid-size American companies, the largest producers of job growth, continue to have restricted access to financial capital. Large multinational corporations are experiencing healthy balance sheets because they are diversified into global emerging markets, but are not necessarily large job creators in the domestic U.S. economy.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Vail Resorts’ success in attracting international markets offers a clearer path for Vail to weather another potential recession. But that path is increasingly strewn with challenging economic obstacles.
A return of the recession could bring even slimmer profit margins and a potential decline in destination visits from some of Vail’s well established American markets and clientele.
The quest to open international markets is moving from a desirable goal to a necessary one. Unsettled national economic conditions could again make it tough sledding for small local businesses this coming winter.
Vail Resorts may do the heavy lifting of seasonal marketing, but the coattail effect for some small local businesses could be diminishing.
Summer Latin American business appears to be on the increase due to Vail Resorts and town of Vail efforts. There is increased complexity in serving foreign visitors, who, traveling farther to arrive in Vail, tend to spend more and stay longer. What happens if there is a large influx of new Spanish and other non-English-speaking guests this winter? How can the community attract and hold the loyalty of international guests, transforming them from visitors to property owners?
New sales are a necessity to bolster residential property values for existing owners. Can Vail adequately welcome international property owners into the community’s political and social affairs? It still has yet to fully include non-resident property owners from the United States. These are but a few of the challenges facing community leaders.
USA Pro Cycling Challenge: The first running of the near weeklong professional cycling road race through the mountains of Colorado drew a Fourth of July-sized crowd, estimated at 30,000 spectators, to the day long time trial in Vail.
Event promoters have marketed the race as the United States’ version of the Tour de France. Local officials hope that by hosting the event it will build Vail’s image as a global cycling tourism Mecca. Television coverage of the event was distributed internationally to well over a hundred nations.
Expanding Vail’s appeal to cyclers fits within Vail Resorts’ strategy to expand mountain biking trails on Vail Mountain as a significant theme for their summer business venue. Mountain biking is but one of the attractions that Vail Resorts would like to bring to Vail Mountain once they have congressional and Forest Service approval to expand their use permit to the summer months.
The short- and long-term cost benefit and return on investment to local businesses in hosting the time trial stage will be the focus of considerable analysis, as promoters would like to see the race become an annual event.
Vail was fortunate as the time trials keep spectators in the community for the entire day, while in the road race stages the communities that host the daily finish line celebrations are the primary economic beneficiaries.
Media analysts are saying that technical improvements need to be made to the mobile live television transmission system, as there were frequent interruptions in coverage because of dropped signals. Others point out that the town of Vail, if it desires to become a cycling center, needs to make what could amount to a multi-million dollar investment to upgrade and expand its popular community wide recreational paths.
Some critics say the paths are becoming increasingly hazardous due to their burgeoning popularity and the fact that they are shared by both pedestrians and cyclists.–