Tourism efforts highlighted

PARSONS – Tucker County Commissioners received an update on efforts to market the county as a tourism destination


Bill Smith, executive director of the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said his organization relies on hotel/motel tax as well as other sources of money to market Tucker County as a premier destination for vacations, meetings and special events.

“We are ahead of the curve with regard to our advertising and operational ratio,” Smith said. “We spend 84 percent of our monies on direct marketing and advertising and 16 percent on operations and payroll. A lot of similar organizations are closer to a 40 to 50 percent split.”

Smith said he enjoys seeing Tucker County featured in magazines, noting the CVB placed many ads in print publications.

“In 2012, our print placements alone reached 8.7 million households,” Smith said. “These were mainly in our geographical area, contingent states and states in the mid Atlantic and South East Region.”

Smith said every year the CVB sends out a glossy super postcard to put the travel message into households that have already responded to something the CVB has done.

“We send out 20,000 to 30,000 of these, twice a year,” Smith said.

Another way the group markets the county is by attending consumer travel shows in major metropolitan areas.

“We go to a show in the metro D.C. area in February and into greater Columbus later in the year,” Smith said. “These are shows where travelers will come to see the speakers as well as to pick up travel information.”

Smith said 102,105 unique visitors came to the CVB’s website in 2012.

“Also in 2012, we developed a new and updated visitors guide,” Smith said.

Commissioners Diane Hinkle and Lowell Moore expressed their gratitude for all the CVB does to attract and support tourism in the Tucker County area.

Also Wednesday, Bruce Wilson, a member of the ArtSpring Festival, asked the Commission to help fund an AmeriCorps volunteer to help with the community engagement initiative.

“ArtSpring was created in 2011 and we have had three years of festivals,” Wilson said. “The purpose of creating ArtSpring was to promote the arts of Tucker County and also to make Tucker County an arts destination. We had the conviction that the arts are central to a vital community and if we work to promote the arts, it would help promote and improve the public appreciation of arts in our community and improve the economy.”

Wilson presented a budget with revenues and expenses, and asked the commission to allot $1,000 for the AmeriCorps volunteer. Commissioners voted unanimously to fund ArtSpring with $1,000.

Also during the meeting, Alpine Heritage Preservation/Cottrill’s Opera House representatives Elaine George and Robin McClintock updated the Commission about work on the opera house in Thomas.

“The unique architecture of Cottrill’s Opera House is why it is important to us,” George said. “There is 30 years of community effort in trying to restore the building. A number of people have given up and a number of people are newly


George said the building walls of the structure have been reinforced. She said the group has a federal grant to restore the store front to its original state.

“We would like to invite you to a tour of the Opera House,” George said.

McClintock shared architectural drawings for the renovation.

“It includes a 425-seat theater that is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant with an elevator,” McClintock said. “It retains the original important acoustical characteristics of the building. Part of what makes this building so extraordinary is that the balconies are suspended from the trusses with metal pipe. What that means is that every seat in the house is good.”

Commissioners voted to cancel their upcoming meeting slated for Nov. 27 because it is the evening before Thanksgiving. The next meeting will be 9 a.m.

Dec. 11.