By Selwyn Harris
Barring unforeseen problems, the Town of Pahrump is expected to unveil a new tourism website within the next week or so.
The project has been in the works for about seven months after the board approved funding roughly $30,000 for the project last December.
The task was awarded to Noble Studios, a full-service digital agency based in Reno.
Town Board Chair Vicky Parker said she is looking forward to finally seeing the final product once it is ready to go online.
“It’s going to be an awesome website. I don’t have all of the details but I know that there is a lot happening. The tourism board for the last two years has been working on putting a marketing plan. It is coming and they originally hoped to launch in concert with the town’s birthday party, but our Tourism Coordinator Arlette Ledbetter has been on vacation, so she postponed it. But it is coming up soon,” she said.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters said content on the website will include more than just simple information.
“What they are hoping to do is also have links in there because when somebody looks at the website, it brings them to Pahrump; it gives them maps on how to get here. They also hope to put the trails in there as well. That was one of the questions that I asked during the workshop we had last Tuesday. If somebody wants to rent a room and stay here, could they do that on the website? They are working on that as well. So if you want a restaurant, the restaurants are on the website as well,” he said.
Waters noted that residents of Pahrump did not have to pay anything for the website, which town officials hope will help to attract more tourists to town, thus boosting the local economy.
“The main thing is the money that we are using is room tax money. What they want to do is make sure that more people stay here to keep the room tax money going. That is a very important part because we can’t just use it and not have people come and spend money on the rooms,” he said.
Town Manager Bill Kohbarger said he recently got a sneak peek at the new website and was very impressed with what he saw.
“It shouldn’t take too much longer and I know a lot of people are waiting to see what it looks like. Once it’s released and up and rocking, it will be phenomenal. It looks pretty nice. I have seen it,” he said.
Board member Harley Kulkin, a fierce supporter of bringing more tourists to town, said the web portal is a great addition by virtue of there is not a lot of information for travelers about Pahrump as they tour the southwest.
He suggested that for some reason Pahrump is pretty much ignored in various travel publications.
“The town is incredibly behind, so to speak, in being involved with tourism throughout the state. We go to functions and they will have maps of Nevada to do things and we are not even included even though we are such a big place with so many things to do. We are really trying to get noticed in the tourism world,” he said.
Along with Noble Studios, local resident Brian Shoemake said he was also interested in getting the contract to design the town’s tourism website.
At present, Shoemake is responsible for maintaining the town’s official website, which he also designed.
He said he was quite surprised last December when the town chose to go with an outside agency rather than have a local agency design the tourism website.
He also said he wondered why the project took so long for Noble Studios to complete.
“It’s kind of incredible because they have been working on it for about seven months now and it shouldn’t take that long. When I built the town’s website, I gave them a time frame of 90 days and I had it done before 90 days. I launched it on July 4, 2010 and it has run flawlessly ever since. My time frame for the tourism website would have also been 90 days,” he said.
Shoemake noted that he still believes that he or some other agency in Pahrump would have been the better choice for the project.
“The decision not to keep it local was a real bone of contention for me. I met all of the qualifications and have a stellar track record. There were lots of townspeople supporting me as well as current clients. They went completely out of the box and sent the town’s money to Reno and nobody could figure out why they would do such a thing,” he said.