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Regioinal tourism efforts lauded

No man is an island, says a famous poem, which also applies to regional tourism efforts that have led to a local official becoming the co-recipient of an award for her collaboration with colleagues elsewhere.

“As a destination leadership organization we understand that tourists do not care about county lines or state lines when visiting areas and various attractions,” explained Executive Director Jessica Roberts of the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority and Tourism Partnership of Surry County.

“In our local tourism and county efforts we have always taken a regional approach to promote the area as a visitor destination,” Roberts added.

That approach resulted in the local tourism leader and Donna Carpenter, the president/CEO of Explore Cabarrus County, receiving a Collaborative Leaders of the Year award.

Roberts and Carpenter were recognized during a tourism summit of the Statesville Convention and Visitors Bureau in late July.

In all, 10 awards were presented to businesses and individuals for their efforts to promote tourism growth and economic development.

Roberts and Carpenter drew praise, along with other award winners, for their insights and passion that have benefited North Carolina tourism.

“From the very moment I had the opportunity to be introduced to them, Donna and Jessica have gone above and beyond, providing me with their time, years of expertise and sincere friendship,” Executive Director Cindy Sutton of the Statesville Convention and Visitors Bureau said during the awards ceremony.

Sutton called them “two outstanding individuals who have become not just colleagues but dear friends.”

Roberts says regional cooperation often pays dividends in the tourism industry.

One example she mentioned involved the heavily attended NASCAR all-star race held during May in North Wilkesboro.

“We must work together to find and fill lodging availability during large events,” Roberts observed in reference to the race.

“We have always tried to look at who and what locations we can work with that are nearby to us that have similar interests, like the Interstate 77 corridor that sends us wonderful visitor traffic to our destinations.”

Roberts also mentioned a signage project for the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor involving Wilkes, Yadkin, Caldwell and Surry counties.

“Whether the visitor is visiting wineries in Yadkin County and staying in Surry County or Mount Airy, it makes great sense to work together,” she emphasized.

“With communication and being collaborative with the Statesville Convention and Visitors Bureau and other destination marketing organizations we can come together to give the visitor the best experience and make sure they will want to return to the area.”



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