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Tourist Advice for St. Louis
Commentary by: Elaine Viets
Aired April 09, 2008

Recently, I stayed at a hotel near the St. Louis Convention Center. It was good to be home, but the city has some changes to make before it becomes a major tourist destination.

I live in South Florida. We get tourists all year round. Here are some things our city needs to correct:

(1) St. Louis has too many people who speak English to the tourists. That wouldn’t happen in South Florida. It’s like the United Nations there – without the translators. If you don’t speak a foreign language, it’s your fault. You should have learned one.

(2) St. Louis drivers are too sane. St. Louis drivers do not cut you off, flip you the bird, or yell curses. Drivers are much calmer here than in South Florida, where almost everyone is from somewhere else – and driving like they’re trying to get back there. Even when St. Louisans are coping with Highway 40 construction, they’re still fairly calm. This cuts down on the city’s sense of adventure.

(3) St. Louis service is too polite. The hotel waiter delivered my breakfast fifteen minutes late – and apologized for another fifteen. It wasn’t her fault. The hotel was short-handed because of a storm. The convention center guard gave me detailed directions. The coat check person said thank you. That wouldn’t happen in Florida. A major tourist destination must be rude to tourists. They expect this.

If St. Louis can fix its attitude problem before summer, it will do much better.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets


Elaine Viets is a freelance writer.

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