Rich and I just returned from a one-week trip to Sayulita, Mexico, our fourth visit to this special little town north of Puerto Vallarta. When I was musing about what I would write for my marketing blog this week, it occurred to me that there are a lot of similarities between this town and South Whidbey Island that relate to drawing tourists that are major contributors to the economy.
In contrast to what are considered the major tourist destinations, with large corporate hotels, on-site restaurants, swimming pools, and orchestrated entertainment, these two communities cater to a different kind of tourist. Rich and I go to Sayulita (which was recommended to us by several Whidbey friends) because there are no big hotels, chain restaurants, big box stores, or amusement parks.
We spent our days…..relaxing. We slept in a quiet place, went shopping at the local small grocery stores, and chose special local restaurants for dinner. If we wanted to swim, we could go to the local beach that has no areas reserved just for tourists, but are open to everyone. In the evening, we wandered and listened to local musicians playing at some of the restaurants or just sat on a bench in the town square and watched the local world go by.
To anyone who knows Whidbey, this could also be description of our community. There are plenty of B & B’s and a few small motels for lodgings, lovely locally-owned restaurants, local grocery stores, farmer’s markets during the growing season (usually something from April through October), local musicians entertaining in the local bars and restaurants. We are a quiet place for a restful visit, but with many sites to explore (parks, trails, beaches, charming small towns), etc.
On South Whidbey, we pride ourselves on having no chain store businesses; everything is local. All of this happens to describe a great tourist destination, as well as a wonderful place to live.