Beverley Garland Day

By | Category: Travel rumblings
LA decides to hold a Beverley Garland Day

The proclamation of Beverley Garland Day

To most readers in Europe, Beverley Garland Day will mean nothing. Who was she and why should she have a day named after her would be most people’s attitude

She was an American actress, in films and television from the 1950’s onwards who also owned a hotel called, unsurprisingly, The Garland which was in Los Angeles. She also served on the boards of both the California Tourism Corporation and The Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau and, for 35 years, she served as Honorary Mayor of North Hollywood.

The Los Angeles City Council decreed that January the 19th should be Beverly Garland Day to honour her work as an actress and for giving North Hollywood visitors a warm, inviting and fun place to stay at her hotel.

But why January 19th? It wasn’t the day on which she was born or died but maybe it was the day the hotel opened. Neither the hotel website or the tourist board says why this date was chosen. And that is my point. It probably doesn’t matter.

What does matter is that the smart tourist people in LA have taken a local figure, named a day after her and turned the day into a tourist event at a time of the year when there isn’t a lot going on.

Why don’t our tourist boards think along the same lines to drum up tourist potential? We could take fondly remembered people in the arts and have a day’s celebration. Brighton could have a Max Miller Day on the 21st of November, his birthday and a time of the year when there isn’t a lot of tourist events. In St Pancras on January 8th they could have William Hartnell (the first Dr Who) day and in Caerphilly on 19th of March it could be Tommy Cooper.

The person needn’t be as famous as the three I’ve mentioned but could have had an important role to play in our heritage be it cultural, popular, industrial or rural. Why not Mitchell Day in Stoke-on-Trent on the 20th of May in celebration of the aviation pioneer, R J Mitchell who designed the Spitfire and any number of seaplanes.  What about George Elliot a man who started as a boy in the pits who grew up to own them as well as being involved in acquiring rights to the Suez Canal for the UK, developing docks and railways in South Wales and was involved in the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable. Gateshead could celebrate Elliot Day on the 18th of March.

To repeat myself, what tourism needs sometimes is some ingenuity. British destinations should copy that ingenuity that Americans bring to the tourist industry.

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