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We had created an artificial Santa Fe to maintain what some people thought Santa Fe should be.
Adrian Bustamante

Our Programs: Livability


A community that uses tourism to protect the environment, preserve historic buildings, celebrate local heritage, and provide a healthy quality of life for everyone,


or a town that depends almost entirely on tourism dollars, creating a Main Street full of trinket shops that don’t serve residents.

Residents First!

  • Livable communities often become tourist destinations, and throughout CHG’s materials there’s a good deal of reference to tourism as an economic tool, especially if your town can attract "high-value visitors" – those who stay longer and spend more. Communities with a healthy sense of place tend to do just that.

  • On the other hand, we need to be sensitive to the ways tourism can impact communities. For one, the travel industry tends to measure success only in numbers, which can lead to a form of "drive-by" tourism that isn’t all that beneficial – economically or otherwise. Focus on quality, not quantity; and use tourism to manage growth, not exacerbate it.

  • "Tourism traps" (they’re called that for a reason) are little more than commercial caricatures of themselves. The community’s soul has been ripped out, replaced by a cartoon stereotype of what the place once was ("boutique towns"). This frequently results in inappropriate tourist attractions, the proliferation of T-shirt shops and souvenir stores, more signage and traffic, and the overall feeling that the town exists for outsiders instead of residents. Ultimately, that’s a strike against livability.

  • CHG promotes "sustainable tourism" – that is, where tourism contributes to the economy, but it’s not the sole or even the principal economic engine. Sustainable tourism enhances rather than detracts from the character of a community – a community that’s there to serve residents first. See more in Section 4.