A few days ago I was riding past the Provo Library when I saw a couple of guys taking pictures. I quickly pulled over and snapped a picture of them:
I don’t know who these people were or where they came from, but this happened a day after the Nu Skin event in downtown, so I think there’s a reasonable chance they’re tourists.
I took this picture because I think it shows how the Provo Library is actually a tourist attraction, even though it’s not really treated as one. Despite being a beautiful and unique building — and one that was restored at great expense — I think many of us conceive of it as a great community asset, rather than a destination for out of towners. Maybe I’m projecting my preconceptions onto the community, but ultimately there’s not much tourist-oriented infrastructure — things like signs and maps, as well as shops and surrounding retail — directing visitors to the library or catering to them upon arrival.
Despite that shortcoming, some tourists actually do find it, as this picture suggests. I propose that that makes it an underused tourist attraction; with better wayfinding and infrastructure, more people would find the library and walk away with a better impression of Provo, as well as having spent more money.
There are all sorts of historic landmarks, public art, and natural wonders in Provo that function similarly. These assets are used and loved by locals, but can be hard for tourists to find. For example, I recently went on a walking tour of historic homes and, days later, canoed down the Provo River. Both of those activities could be enjoyed by visitors, if visitors just knew about them.
The point is that Provo already has destinations that tourists could enjoy, it just lacks a tool to bring those destinations into a unified constellation.