Tourism benefits go beyond merchants

This is part four of a four-part series looking at tourism and its impacts on the community. In this series we look at the perceptions and realities surrounding those impacts and the community’s ability to change.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
As locals consider the tourism industry's role in Ojai's future, it may be helpful to look to the past, particularly as Ojai prepares to celebrate its centennial in Libbey Park April 8.
“(Edward Drummond Libbey) and his wife had been wintering in Pasadena for years before he discovered Ojai in 1908 and started wintering here instead,” said local writer and historian Mark Lewis. “But it's true that when they first came here they stayed at the Foothills Hotel, so in that sense they started out as tourists.”
Libbey, of course, became a part-time resident in Ojai and helped create the downtown locals hold dear — including the arcade, pergola and post office tower.
“I think it's fair to draw an analogy between Libbey and today's well-heeled newcomers who move here and sometimes start businesses that cater more to tourists and newcomers than to longtime locals. Consider that the Foothills Hotel, which attracted Libbey here in the first place, was aimed at rich visitors from far away — and Libbey, in turn, created the hotel that is now the Oaks, and also what is now the Ojai Valley Inn.”

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