Tourism: Complaints about Hualapai skywalk

"When the Hualapai Indian Tribe opened the controversial Grand Canyon Skywalk one year ago, members of the tribe were optimistic that they would get 600,000 visitors a year by 2009.

The good news for the tribe is that after the first year of operation, the Hualapais are pretty close to meeting that 2009 goal, getting 2,000 guests a day, or a projected 730,000 annually. That's four times as many visitors as the area got before the Skywalk was built.

But the bad news for the tribe is that many of the people visiting say they felt ripped off when they went and vow never to return.

The Skywalk made quite a stir when it opened.

Conceived of by entrepreneur David Jin, designed by MRJ Architects and built by Lochsa Engineering, the Skywalk is a 70-foot horseshoe-shaped protrusion from the canyon rim at a location that is about as close to Las Vegas - 123 miles by road - as the Grand Canyon gets. The Skywalk has a glass walkway 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.

Before the attraction was developed, members of the tribe debated whether the economic benefit of the Skywalk would outweigh marring the natural beauty of the landscape. Grand Canyon West is one of the few public places along the rim that doesn't have so much as a fence or barrier railing to keep people from the ledge.

The Skywalk could be an economic turning point for the tribe but at the cost of turning a beautiful wilderness into a circus sideshow."

Get the Story:
Richard Velotta: Skywalk drawing big crowds, but they aren't happy campers (In Business Las Vegas 3/28)

Relevant Links:
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