Unique perspective on travel and tourism

Published 4:12 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

To the Editor:
March 10, 2010
To the Polk County Commissioners:
I have been reluctant to voice an opinion about the future of the Travel Advisory Board and the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce until more facts were available.
As someone who sits on both boards, it gives me a unique perspective.
As a taxpayer, given challenges of the economy, I would fully support a vote by the Commissioners to cut from the budget county monies currently going into the Travel & Tourism Department.
Obviously, this opens the topic of how to continue promoting tourism, which is a vital part of our local economy with just the accommodations tax.  The CFCC was approached to see if they were interested in taking on this task.
The CFCC board voted to look into the proposal further for additional facts before making a decision. Only at the recent meeting on March 9th, after careful consideration and discussion, did the board agree to formally submit their desire to take on this endeavor.
I abstained from the vote.
Unfounded and unfair statements have been lodged against the Chamber; questioning their abilities to take on this project. My experience with the CFCC has been an incredible one.
The volunteer board members are a positive, intelligent group of business owners committed to promoting the local economy and commerce. This includes tourism related industries.
Since the money involved is coming from Polk County tourism tax dollars, the Chamber is well aware of the restrictions that would be placed on funds and would use them accordingly.
The website and marketing would be for Polk County tourism efforts only. The Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce is more than capable of handling and building upon the foundation started by Travel and Tourism Department.
With that being said, whether it be placed under the Chamber auspices, Economic Development Commission or another entity, I believe the most important item for them to understand is the development of tourism as a whole and not just one element.
Attractions and events need places for people to stay and those coming to stay are looking for something to do.  The cycle feeds itself and, therefore, should be promoted as such.
Thank you for your consideration.
–– Laura Weicker

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