Streetalk November 16 2005

Will tourists soon flock to Atlanta?

Toby: In 10 years, if I had to bet, and even though the aquarium is great and we all love fish, people will say what a big mistake that was. Instead of long-term infrastructure, building an arts community, economically developing downtown, or developing green space, we always want a quick solution. Atlanta is L.A. with a couple of trees, songs, jingles, slogans — people are smarter than that.

Monica: Most definitely. I’m from Chicago. The Shedd Aquarium brings in a lot. The more interesting things you have, the better. When I first got here, I was a little disappointed in some of the tourist attractions and the culture, because you could go through them in a day. I am excited about all the things that I see happening.

Kenneth: Atlanta lost its ability to draw tourism when they took the time the bars were allowed to stay open from 4 [a.m.] to 2:30 a.m. It was the nightlife that brought the conventions here. That option is now gone. A big fish tank is not going to bring in conventions. They’re not coming to look at fish. They’re coming to look at exotic dancers and to party all night.