Bath Supervisors Votes Unanimously to Reinstate Tourism Director Position
Last Tuesday at the Bath County Board of Supervisors meeting, the board reinstated a Tourism Director position for the county. This was position was once eliminated back in 2016, and since it was removed by a board vote, it had to have another board vote in order to be restored.
The Tourism Director will have the same job description it did when it was eliminated except that there will be no economic development responsibilities. The vote to reinstate this position in the county was unanimous at 5-0.
Each board member expressed their support for a new Tourism Director. Maggie Anderson used to hold this position until it was eliminated 4 years ago. The position of economic development director was added to Anderson’s job description a few years into her occupancy as Tourism Director, and since that position was eliminated, County Administrator Ashton Harrison has been handling both economic development and tourism.
A firm from Vinton VA called Mikula Harris has been operating the Bath County’s tourism marketing efforts since February of last year but has worked with the county since the beginning of the tourism program for the past 10 years.
Ashton Harrison said that interviews were recently conducted for a tourism coordinator position, but after conducting those interviews and follow-up, it became clear that a tourism director was needed rather than a coordinator to meet the expectations of the county and local tourism partners.
John Loeffler, owner of the Inn at Gristmill Square, and John Cowden of Fort Lewis spoke in favor of reinstating a new Tourism Director. They also were representing the county lodging committee. Loeffler said quote, “This will be a tremendous investment for our industry to have somebody to shout on behalf of our industry and to support the livelihoods associated with that industry.” Unquote. He also shared that the committee looks forward to a continued relationship with the tourism office.
Cowden shared that there needs to be a targeted public relations program and that social media produces results but can be difficult to know how to navigate. He also said that with a trend towards remote working, people who visit Bath County could maybe want to move to the county, and mentioned that a dedicated Tourism Director in this county will bring leadership.
The next Bath County Board of Supervisors meeting will be Tuesday on November 10th.
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour