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Thu, Dec. 05

Letter: In defense of Grand Canyon West

In defense of Grand Canyon West

The beauty of journalism is the ability and willingness to publish both sides. In reference to several articles that have been published about Grand Canyon West, I think it would be fair for someone to present the other side. I was born and raised in Kingman and am writing this letter personally and not on behalf of Grand Canyon West or the Hualapai Tribe.

I am privileged to be an employee with the Hualapai Tribe (Grand Canyon Resort Corporation) for approximately 10 years.

In 1998, Grand Canyon West operated with only 26 employees, of which 90 percent were Hualapai. Prior to the opening of the Skywalk, Grand Canyon West operated with approximately 46 employees. Fortunately, with the great marketing strategies that were implemented, business grew by six times overnight.

With this extreme growth came the opportunity for Mohave County residents to take advantage of the employment opportunities at Grand Canyon, and they did. As of May, Grand Canyon West had approximately 230 employees - only 40 percent were Hualapai. The 230 employees did not include the 70 that were employed by the Hualapai Ranch or the 140 that the Skywalk employed. Of the approximate 440 employees currently working, 35 percent are Hualapai and 65 percent are non-Hualapai from surrounding communities. This is in addition to the growth that local restaurants, hotels and gas stations have experienced.

I would like to comment about Grand Canyon West pricing. Have you ever tried to run a business in a remote area where generators are the only source of power, a place where all of the employees that cater to the visitor are traveling hours a day to and from work? Millions of dollars have been paid to the local businesses in order to build our destination and provide a great experience for our visitors. Pricing may be an issue to some, but our pricing is what pays for infrastructure, fuel, maintenance, water and trash removal, all of which we have to pay a premium for because of our remote location.

Last September I had the opportunity to take my family to the Mohave County Fair. We paid $1 for parking, $10 for two adults, and $12 for my 4 children to enter the fairgrounds. Unfortunately, the rides caught the attention of the children so we were unable to enjoy the exhibits. We paid $80 for the wristbands for the rides (children only). After the rides they became hungry. We spent an average of $10 per person, making a total expenditure of $163, which did not include the additional money spent trying to win stuffed animals.

The Hualapai are offering an experience rich in culture and beauty. Grand Canyon West has an authentic Indian village, Skywalk, ranch and not to mention some of the most beautiful vistas that the Grand Canyon has to offer.

Revenue generated by Grand Canyon West supports not only the community of Peach Springs, but Mohave County as well. In closing, I ask, please understand before you judge.

Sincerely,

Robert Bravo, Jr.

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