OK, I get it now. Convincing the public to help with economic recovery requires the promise of immediate gratification -- beyond the threat of imminent economic armageddon. This could be huge for worldwide tourism industry.
Seriously, this was inspired and embraces the obvious -- tourism can be a major economic stimulus and more significantly one that can be very quick and nimble. Why not take it further? Hardworking Germans, rather than just handing over your euros to Greece, take a vacation there, relax in the sun. (No sarcasm here about Greeks teaching Germans to relax.)
Or maybe you prefer Costa Brava in Spain? The EU could offer incentives for buying a vacation house in Spain if you are German or British. It's going to cost you anyway. Cruising on the Douro, sipping port, in Portugal is a fine vacation -- especially if coupled with government incentives.
For Italy, maybe papal indulgences can be discounted for anyone who promises to stay in the country for two weeks (or does it have to be Vatican City?). Every EU citizen who travels to Italy could take a tax deduction for the monies spent, right?
The U.S. could offer large tax incentives to U.S. tourists who visit states that are in dire economic straits. It's a win-win: California here we come. Nevada: How easy, the stimulus will be doubled by gambling revenues. Arizona: We will all be there this winter, and Alaska we'll see you in the summer. New Jersey Gov. Christie, could you help me here?
Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, as things hopefully settle down, we will get you tourists that will have an immediate impact on your GDP, thereby reducing needed U.S. aid.
What fun. Let's make it more fun. Since Twitter started Arab Spring, why not use it to inspire flash mobs that travel? Add in a little Groupon and you are set. For example, everyone meet at JFK at 5 p.m. on a set date, have $2,000 cash and you will have a wonderful vacation to [name that country] that your government supports financially and politically. Do you think it might work for the airlines?
We have gone about this recovery thing all wrong. It should have been much more personal and fun. "What's in it for me? Immediate gratification" through tourism will prove much more stimulating, politically palpable and expand all of our horizons. I have always wanted to spend a week on Santorini and I have never had a papal indulgence, though with the economic news of late, I am in need of both.
Just a thought.
Follow Jean Newman Glock on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jeannewmanglock