Consultant: Kingman has great tourism potential

Kingman has great potential for tourism using a Route 66 theme, consultant Roger Brooks told an overflow crowd Tuesday night at the Kingman Police Department community room.

"Go for the old autos and a Route 66 theme," Brooks said.

"You will never get agreement on a theme.

Someone will have to take the leadership and move ahead."

Brooks said historic downtown Kingman could take on a themed-museum look and be a pedestrian friendly shopping area that would keep tourists in Kingman longer.

"You have to be better or be different to be successful," he said.

"The only place in Kingman for shopping and dining area in a pedestrian setting is downtown."

Brooks described some of the projects he has worked with in 160 towns and cities across the country, giving examples of successful projects.

"Kingman has greater potential than any place I have looked," he said.

He gave examples of Santa Monica, Calif., and Sisters, Ore., as successful tourist retail walking areas.

He said Sisters had very few cars stopping even though it is along a main route.

A tourist retail area with a theme now attracts shoppers and their money, Brooks said.

A critical mass of shops and dining or snack options oriented to pedestrians made the difference, he added.

He said St.

Maries, Idaho, has been considering a Corvette theme because local people have the collections of cars and memorabilia.

"I checked with 23 Corvette clubs and 19 said they would schedule car events in St.

Maries if the town carried out a Corvette theme," Brooks said.

"Imagine what Kingman could do with a car theme focused on Route 66 and many kinds of car clubs."

He said the baby boomer generation will be the large tourist market for the next 30 years and Route 66 is legendary for that group.

Those people also have the money to spend for tourism, including high-end attractions.

Brooks had two people plan trips to Northern Arizona using the Internet and any other information available to the individuals.

One focused on the Grand Canyon and expected to fly into Phoenix.

That individual did not find Kingman until Brooks suggested looking at Las Vegas as a point of entry.

"Kingman is located to take advantage of Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and Route 66 as the way to Grand Canyon," he said.

Brooks said he had difficulty finding things in Kingman.

He said signage was inadequate and difficult to follow, and that he found Mohave Community College and the Cerbat Cliffs pro shop almost by accident.

He outlined specific suggestions for improving Internet information, roadside signs and brochures to help tourists discover Kingman.

He suggested information kiosks at many locations with 24-hour access, mostly unmanned.

Brooks said he will leave a report with specific suggestions for the city business people, the downtown restoration committee and the city council to consider in efforts to improve tourism in Kingman.

"Tourism is the number one industry in Arizona, the U.S.

and around the world," he said.

"It is all about cash and keeping people in your town means more cash."

Brooks said he was impressed with the golf course, the Kingman Airport Industrial Park, the Stockton Hill Road business district, the potential of downtown and Kingman's location on a major transportation crossroads.

He said Kingman presents a poor image along U.S.

93 from Las Vegas.

He also spoke of the lack of focus on specific experiences for tourists.