Houseboat to be used for visitor center
PAGE — The Page-Lake Powell Tourism Board is dragging out an old chestnut in the hopes of grabbing the attention of people traveling on U.S. 89 and encouraging them to stay an extra day in Page.
In 2003, the city and the Page-Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce set up a houseboat on the highway next to Denny’s as a quasi-tourism bureau. At that time, there was not an independently operated tourism bureau, and the Chamber ran the one that existed. Page was still recovering from the drop in tourism spurred by the terrorist attacks in 2001, and the houseboat was seen as a way to catch people who might just be passing through and keep them here, even for just a meal.
Even though local tourism has long since recovered from those dark days, there is concern about visitor numbers dropping slightly this year in comparison with 2008, but the years after that are the greatest concern. The tourism board is hoping having the houseboat on the highway will stop some of the millions of people who travel the road but who had no firm plans to stop in Page.
Bill West, owner of Lake Time Houseboats, brought the issue to the board at its meeting last Wednesday and offered one of his boats for the bureau to utilize free of charge. He did this for the city and the Chamber in 2003, and he put up a boat in front of Bashas’ in later years to advertise his business. While he is hoping to draw attention to his own business, he sees the houseboat as a way to help local enterprise as a whole.