Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Point of hors d'oevre

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Attraction Free Tourist Attraction

Because the attraction is the problematic part
  [vote for,

Recently I was at a tourist attraction. Due to my minimum-effort approach when it comes to paying attention to weekend plans, I often find myself having agreed to visit some place or other*. Usually this involves driving for a bit, wandering around a place, a bit more driving before we call it a day and go to the pub.

Often these outings come with nice surprises, such as a large decommissioned military site, or place that sells ice cream. However, with similar frequency, there are frustrations: minimal/expensive/awkward parking & irritating people walking all over the place. This can be improved.

It seems to me, that the attraction itself causes all the problems. The typical attraction, often something old or a bit of nature, is inconveniently located. The problem is compounded by the inherent people-attracting qualities of the site. Now you have too many people in an unsuitable place, it's chaos. So let's get rid of the troublesome component... what are we left with?

Firstly, we are now free to choose any location. So, a nice flat bit of land, good transport access and low value. There are plenty of candidates if you avoid putting "Must have Roman Hill Fort" at the top of your priority list. On this ideal site, we build a first-rate car parking facility, a real gem. Clear signage with easy entrance/exit routes, smooth tarmac, wide numbered spaces, plenty of shade & covered walkways. There should be a full compliment of recycling & waste bins, great lighting for the evening, excellent drainage, everything you could ever want.

Next, we have a tourist-attraction staple, a visitor's center. This will have everything you need and expect. With no space restrictions, we can place the center immediately adjacent to the parking area, offering outstanding disabled access. The bathroom facilities will be excellent, and thanks to the low traffic, very clean. The helpful volunteer lady will staff a desk with a full supply of leaflets, brochures and useful maps of the site. There will be a medium-quality** cafe serving the usual fare. The remainder of the spacious center will be devoted to a variety of exhibits including:

A detailed scale model of the parking facilities and Visitor's center.

A photograph exhibition of the site before, during and, gloriously, after construction.

A full depth cutaway model of the car-park structure, next to a screen showing a looped behind-the-scenes mini- documentary on the site's excellent drainage features.

A useful "trail" map with color-coded routes such as the "Picnic-party loop!" which takes you from the visitor's center, around one side of the car-park to the picnic tables***, and back round the other side past the useful recycling area.

A bird life exhibit, featuring sparrows, starlings, seagulls or whatever other completely unremarkable species are around.

There, tourism with the pain removed & all the features of a visit to IKEA without the price tag.

*often DAYS in advance, which might as well be 9 months.

**this is optimal, we don't want it to become an attraction, if, inadvertently, the cafe gains genuine popularity, this can be offset by a wince-inducing price structure.

***the tables should be installed on an area of grass large enough to be mildly pleasant, but not so large that children could reasonably expect to run around in.

bs0u0155, Sep 08 2020

Prior Art Nothing_20To_20See_20Here
[pertinax, Sep 09 2020]

Tourist attraction categories http://www.followth...ns.com/brown-signs/
[bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020]

Unclassified attraction http://www.followth...l-bank-observatory/
[bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020]

White Nancy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Nancy
[bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020]


the porpoise, Sep 08 2020

       // call it a day and go to the pub. //   

       Any rational individual would simply make a day of going to the pub, shirley ?   

       // nice surprises, such as a large decommissioned military site //   

       ... or even nicer surprise, a large in-commission military site, to which your pass allows you access but excludes everyone else.   

       // all the features of a visit to IKEA without the price tag. //   

       Not just the price tag; also avoided are a number of unnecessary items of home decor which may even threaten the ejection of several old but still perfectly serviceable items that in fact operate perfectly well if you twist the switch slightly anticlockwise before you press it, then just flip the elastic band with the wine -cork tied in it up and over the base to keep it running by holding the button down, and remember never to try to change speeds while it's running because of the crackling noise and wisps of smoke.   

       Oh, and the inevitable row.   

       We also commend highly the content of the footnotes.   

8th of 7, Sep 08 2020

       //full compliment of recycling & waste bins//   

       "What lovely bins, sir!"
pertinax, Sep 09 2020

       So, a motorway service-station then, but with added brochures.

//the attraction itself causes all the problems.//
In my experience it's the people that cause all the problems. I like your idea but, as an improvement on your original plan, I would suggest removing all the accessability features & make sure that no part of the budget for the site is reserved for publicity, public relations or any other item likely to draw attention to the site.
DrBob, Sep 09 2020

       I just submitted a proposal for a major piece of public sculpture that has several common features with this, so I naturally approve.
xenzag, Sep 09 2020

       An attraction-free tourist attraction is by definition merely an agglomeration of tourists. If you also wish to get rid of all the people then it has neither an attraction nor tourists, and so calling it a tourist attraction is pushing it a bit.   

       Also I do think that this is widely known to exist - see various motorway service stations, country parks, etc.
pocmloc, Sep 09 2020

       No, because // various motorway service stations, country parks // all have actual reasons to go there; motorway service stations particularly.   

       The whole point of [bs]'s concept is that there is NO reason to go there; thus there will be a tendency for tourists to gravitate to actual attractions, not this place, effectively keeping them out of the way.
8th of 7, Sep 09 2020

       Really? What is the actual reason that any human would go to a motorway service e station?
pocmloc, Sep 09 2020

       To urinate in the telephone kiosks, of course.
8th of 7, Sep 09 2020

       It's only a matter of time before such a well designed site is used for something notable. [+]
sninctown, Sep 09 2020

       A spree killing would be favourite; guaranteed to bestow a permanent blight on the place. Even claiming that it's the site of a former mass war grave might attract the wrong sort of interest, i.e. some interest.   

       An alleged plague pit might put a lot of people off ...
8th of 7, Sep 09 2020

       "But honey, you said you were taking me to The Eiffel Tower". "I don't see any tower... honey". "Wait...If I close my eyes I can see The Vatican though."
blissmiss, Sep 09 2020

       <Family disembarks from car at Attractionless Attraction/>   

       <[bs] approaches them, wearing cowled brown robe/>   

       <[bs] makes discreet hand gesture, and speaks/>   

       "This isn't the day out you're looking for ... move along ..."   

       <Family choruses reply in dull, mechanical voices>   

       "This isn't the day out we're looking for ..."   

       <Family choruses reply in dull, mechanical voices/>   

       <Family re-boards car and drives away/>
8th of 7, Sep 09 2020

       Baked by amusement parks
Voice, Sep 10 2020

       Sp: "amusement" parks...
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 10 2020

       //this is widely known to exist - see various motorway service stations, country parks,//   

       No, it's not super convenient for the motorway, and it's not a country park. Sure, there's a little bit of grass around the picnic tables and such, but only enough to make you think "well, this isn't too bad".   

       //a matter of time before such a well designed site is used for something notable.//   

       Care and attention will be needed to prevent this. I think the best strategy is to choose a site that is adjacent to green belt or other such protected land. If that adjacent land is particularly picturesque, then a modest embankment and vision screen made of evergreen trees should be installed.   

       //Family re-boards car and drives away//   

       Ultimately, this is exactly what happens with every other site. The only difference is the amount of time between arrival and departure. Genuine attractions suffer greatly from patrons spending long periods admiring the attractiveness of the attraction. This means parking spaces are occupied for relatively long periods per visit. By removing the attraction, the "dwell time" of each group of patrons is greatly reduced. Consequently the same car parking area can serve a vastly increased number of visits throughout the day, making the whole concept remarkably efficient. An attraction-free attraction can serve a much larger population than a conventional attraction.   

       Importantly, this attraction-free attraction (AFA) should maintain all the features of an actual attraction to the casual observer. This means it gets road signs etc. One particularly important detail, is that before you see the sign for the attraction, you should see a sign for "*attraction* overflow parking", because all good attractions need overflow parking. In this case, of course, that overflow parking will not be needed, or indeed, built.   

       The tricky part is the name. You can't call the AFA "Cawthorne Manor" or something, because people will assume some sort of manor house will be provided. So one solution will be to go with "Cawthorne Place", because it is, after all, a place.   

       Internet reviews will need to be planted, 10-20 middling reviews mentioning the easy access/plentiful parking should get the ball rolling just enough to bring in a trickle of patrons destined to exist in a state of mild confusion, but, at least a state of mild confusion with excellent parking.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       //a trickle of patrons destined to exist in a state of mild confusion//   

       {Stops. Looks around HB.}
pertinax, Sep 10 2020

       Nothing to see here, [pert].
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       {Shuffles back to carpark}   

       {Remembers he didn't arrive by car}   

       {Sits down by carpark exit, starts to inflate a large prosthetic thumb on a stick}   

       {Realises what this looks like. Resumes inflating, regardless}
pertinax, Sep 10 2020

       A phone rings, is answered.   

       "Cawthorne CID"
pertinax, Sep 10 2020

       In the UK, like everything, tourist locations are carefully codified using the categories available in the brown sign system <link>. This creates a real problem for the AFA since brass-rubbing or a tram museum are conspicuously absent, so with what symbol should the AFA signs be adorned?   

       Fortunately, this problem has occurred before. The brown sign people, when writing their list, covered everything up to and including "Heavy horse centre" called it a day and sent the list off to the frankly overworked art department. They forgot, somehow, to include radio astronomy <link>. The symbol for which would at least give the art dept. an easy ride*. For that, they went with the symbol of a person having a bit of a walk about. This is defined as "Unique or unclassified" and is therefore totally suitable for the AFA. In addition, the "Light refreshment" and "information point" symbols would also have us covered.   

       *Besides, if you can't spot Jodrell Bank on a famously flat bit of England you should not be driving.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       // if you can't spot Jodrell Bank //   

       It's harder than you think, if you're trying to use it as a waypoint to Manchester Airport, or more importantly avoid the "Elephant Walk" of the MAN approach; the 05 stub runs just north of it ... the problem is, the sods turn it round so it never looks the same twice. It's fine if the face of the dish is turned towards you - or rather, you're approaching it from the front - but from the back it's just a bunch of grey latticework.   

       There's a light on the top at night, but that's not entirely helpful   

       // with what symbol should the AFA signs be adorned? //   

       They should be completely blank, shirley ?   

       Visitors should perhaps be warned in the Information Centre "If you die here, you die for real. And you can. Quite easily. Of boredom."
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       //use it as a waypoint to Manchester Airport,//   

       That's a solved problem, at least when it was Ringway. Fly due North, keep the pennines on your right and do a 45 degree left when you see White Nancy <link>. If getting down was all a bit of a rush, you've probably landed at Woodford and should apologize.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       That's fine if you're wearing something either (a) big and solid, like a C-130, or (b) small, fast and agile, like a Hawk. If you're puttering along in a frail puddle-jumper that struggles to attain 110 KIAS on the downhill bits, and has so much positive stability that you can't even spin it, then mixing it with a procession of A330's and 777's is somewhat ill advised, particularly because both pilots will have their noses stuck to their iPads playing Candy Crush Saga and waiting for the avionics to tell them it's time to open the doors and unload the cattle. And they get paid for that. Bastards.   

       Sadly, Woodford is all houses now. The nearest "safe" place for small fry is probably Barton.
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       //And they get paid for that.//   

       The flying bit most would do for free. The pay goes toward the 5am walkarounds in snowy Chicago, not screwing up the paperwork and occasionally dealing with the public.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       // The flying bit most would do for free //   

       Very likely, given that many are actually prepared to pay out quite large sums to pilot aircraft.   

       // the 5am walkarounds in snowy Chicago, //   

       5% or less if you like snow and have a decent coat.   

       // not screwing up the paperwork //   

       10% or less.   

       // and occasionally dealing with the public. //   

       85 % ... possibly a lot more.   

       Of course there's the once-every- five-years event where the pilot earns his entire year's salary in a few minutes (as far as the passengers are concerned) but even that is more of something to be bragged about in the bar rather than something to be actively avoided. Unless you die of course , but then it's irrelevant anyway.
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       //earns his entire year's salary in a few minutes//   

       See firefighters, bodyguards, nuclear power station controllers. You don't get paid for how difficult your job is, sadly, but for the responsibility, and a few other fudge factors like the size of the talent pool.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       Features like a very generous minimum-contribution health plan and excellent death-in-service/ spouse's pension arrangements are significant warning flags to the risk-averse potential applicant.   

       // you don't get paid for how difficult your job is //   

       Actually, you do if one of the difficulties is staying alive long enough to cash your paycheck.
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       //overflow parking//
Perhaps have the "real" carpark not visible from the road, and the (small) overflow more easily visible/accessible, but BEFORE (as the road flows) the main entrance.
Then, on random but frequent days, put a "carpark full" sign at the main entrance. People will see the "full" sign & think "must be interesting if it's full", but too late to go to the overflow, so they plan to come back some other time (hopefully a day that the carpark isn't "full"...).
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 10 2020

       //put a "carpark full" sign at the main entrance. People will see the "full" sign & think "must be interesting if it's full",//   

       There's a whole line of thinking in this that I like. A friend of mine worked in a popular burger restaurant as a teenager and would occasionally be told "It's getting busy, better rope off another area of seating", which has a similar kernel of logic at the core.   

       The problem with the "Car park full" sign is that some intrepid tourists will be a: driving the opposite way on the same road or b: simply turn around at the next roundabout. Both of which will lead to the discovery of the non-existence of the overflow parking.   

       While the overflow parking is important to the overall image of the AFA, I think it would be important to control construction and maintenance costs by not constructing or maintaining it*. The same overall effect might be had by instead closing the overflow car park for maintenance, or perhaps bad weather - many overflow car parks are just a grassy field, so that's believable.   

       If miraculously the main AFA car park starts to get reasonably full, then the "Car Park full" sign may be immediately deployed to the overflow car park instead. People will naturally assume that the main car park filled up first, then later, the overflow, and the main car park now has spaces because the early arrivals were also early leavers.   

       *Although it might be useful to leave that in the budget.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       // closing the overflow car park for maintenance, or perhaps bad weather - many overflow car parks are just a grassy field, so that's believable. //   

       To fit in with the "run by a public authority" theme, there should be two Overflow Car Parks; "Overflow Car Park 1" is always "Closed for Essential Maintenance", signified by the ubiquitous red-and-white striped pole being down across the entrance and a pile of tarmac just visible; "Overflow Car Park 2" is "Under Construction". There is no striped pole, only a row of cones and a sign saying "Contractor's vehicles ONLY"; making the access roadway of churned-up mud, and having some portion of a Big Yellow Machine just visible adds to the illusion.   

       In fact, the two entranceways can just be each end of a short length of track, with sharp curves at the ends, parallel to and screened from the main access road by a bank or shrubbery. No-one will be interested enough to investigate car parks you can't even park in.
8th of 7, Sep 10 2020

       //No-one will be interested enough to investigate car parks you can't even park in.//   

       Not when there's a lovely, mostly empty one right next to the visitors center.
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2020

       This is an excellent idea. Also it has something very conceptual about it - it has no ‘attraction’ and yet is an attraction. Very deep.

And what [pertinax] said (Sept 9th)
hippo, Sep 12 2020

       Baked by every tiny cafe on Route 66.
4and20, Sep 12 2020

       Save time, send a drone for a shufti first   

       // if you can't spot Jodrell Bank   

       They gave me my first overdraft yonks ago
not_morrison_rm, Sep 12 2020

       //Jodrell Bank... They gave me my first overdraft yonks ago//   

       You managed to get into debt with a radio astronomy installation? What did you borrow, interferometry? Or did you want to make absolutely bloody certain you'd pick up the FA cup final?
bs0u0155, Dec 14 2020

       // What did you borrow, interferometry? //   

       Energy, shirley ? Haven't you heard of the large-scale cosmological power deficit ? Well, it's all [n_m_rm]'s fault; he hasn't kept up the repayments.
8th of 7, Dec 14 2020

       A way to name it so that people feel completely neutral, not repelled, not attracted, is to use a genetic algorithm and crowdsource people online to look at images of it with different names prominently featured. Say, 100,000 people view it on Facebook, you get an opportunity to modify the images they see to have words and name signage that feeds a genetic algorithm. The versions that get rated complete center of the slider bar the most form the basis for the next genetic algorithm generation of names.   

       You could also do this with 3D rendered architectural CAD and the internet; find the ones that score perfectly in the middle, and crossover (sex) them to make new particularly neutral architectures.   

       Of course, I value the opposite of your idea. I think you should use the genetic algorithms, crowdsourcing, and CAD software to make architecture that people rate tops, crossover (Sex) it and do even better. Then build the stuff people really like!   

       Also, midway through reading your idea I thought about things I read about Dubai. I've never been there, but I feel like like it might be similar, if poshed-up.
beanangel, Dec 18 2020


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle