An article from Forbes described Vancouver as the second-best place in America to visit during the pandemic.
When Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle read the article, though, something seemed off — aside from the fact that Clark County Public Health recommends forgoing travel to prevent the pandemic’s spread.
She counted six errors in the 141-word piece about Vancouver, including the population listed as 34,000 instead of 190,000 and Vancouver being located east of the Columbia River Gorge, not west.
“Was it Walla Walla instead?” she wrote in an email to The Columbian on Tuesday. “Any press is good press.”
She emailed the author, Peter Taylor, asking him to fix the errors. He corrected some but not all of them; Vancouver remained firmly ensconced in Eastern Washington as of Monday evening. Which could make the writer’s trip complicated after he accepted McEnerny-Ogle’s invitation to visit Vancouver himself.
“Vancouver USA is preparing for their arrival in June/July!,” she wrote. “We can get them out to bike, hike, and climb. And, yes, we have wine. That part is true!”
Regardless of the errors, the article shows that Vancouver is becoming a more appealing place to outsiders: We have access to mountains, rivers, the Gorge, the Pacific Ocean, all the sports that go along with them, and now the growing city center — featuring The Waterfront Vancouver’s winery scene.
“Vancouver is also the newest epicenter of Washington State’s thriving viticulture boom,” the article stated.
The amenities of Vancouver weren’t the only thing coming into play on the list. The article also ranked cities by COVID-19 case count, rate and death toll (At the time the article published, Vancouver had 7.9 cases per 100,000 people, 38.4 new cases in the respective week, 18,612 total cases and 224 deaths.)
The city to rank higher on the list was Carson City, Nev.
Cliff Myers, president and CEO of Visit Vancouver USA, the official destination marketing organization for Vancouver, said that these types of lists are sometimes objective but sometimes subjective and don’t make much sense.
For instance, MoveHub, a relocation-information service, listed Vancouver as the No. 1 “hipster” city in America in 2017. But Forbes is a more reliable source than other media companies making those types of lists, he said.
“The author wasn’t too far off in terms of this being a great place to visit during this crazy time,” Myers said.
Myers said he and Visit Vancouver USA are helping plan the itinerary for when Taylor visits in June or July, and that type of exposure might place Vancouver higher on the list for out-of-state people looking to relocate.
“The author’s initial intent was to do a feature story on our up-and-coming wine scene, and we’ve got him to expand his interest to include fishing, breweries, dog-friendly activities, etc.,” Myers wrote in an email to The Columbian. “The author loves the outdoors, so we’ll work with him on other options while he’s in the area.”
Regarding the safety of Vancouver residents seeing tourists coming to the city during this time in the pandemic, he said that with the case counts going down, it’s not much of a danger.
“If the article had come out last summer, I’d probably be concerned about that,” he said. “There’s a pent-up demand for people to get out with their families and travel and see as much as they can.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend traveling to any U.S. location and considers the COVID-19 risk in the U.S. to be very high, wrote Marissa Armstrong, spokesperson for Clark County Public Health.
“Any travel — even to destinations with lower or decreasing COVID-19 activity — puts you at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 to others,” she wrote. “While COVID-19 activity has been decreasing in Clark County, the virus that causes COVID-19 is still circulating in the community, as is the B.1.1.7 variant. We should all be taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while we wait for more people to get vaccinated.”