Chamber of Commerce restructures

A restructured Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce will boost its ability to serve area businesses while also leading tourism and visitor marketing, chamber and tourism officials said.
In an overwhelming vote Thursday, August 25, the Chamber Board of Directors approved the reorganization and creation of the Tourism, Travel and Convention Division, formerly known as the Visitor & Convention Bureau.  Effective immediately, this division tackles tourism promotions, assists the hospitality industry in northern Beaufort County and operates the Visitors Center on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort.
“We are excited at the opportunities this brings and the efficiencies it will produce,” said Blakely Williams, president and CEO of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce. Despite a decision in March to split the tourism branch from the main chamber, the Visitor & Convention Bureau never operated on its own.
The Tourism, Travel and Convention Division currently employs a division executive, two marketing administrators and a small team to staff the Visitor Center, which is located in the historic Beaufort Arsenal.
“One of the first things we’ll be doing is taking nominations for the Tourism, Travel and Convention Division Advisory Committee,” Rembold said. The nine-member committee replaces the former Visitor & Convention Bureau Board and will continue to advise and audit the tourism mission priorities, he said. The majority of the seats will be representatives from the local resort and lodging industry.
“Our mission is to provide exceptional service to our business members and to create new economic strength through improved tourism marketing,” he said. “One area we are addressing is the overall marketing strategy, the execution and the results, so we can better leverage these precious public funds.  We take this responsibility very seriously.”
Since 1984 the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce has been the “Designated Marketing Organization” for northern Beaufort County. As such, it receives funding for tourism marketing and promotions from Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort, Town of Port Royal and the state. Those dollars are earmarked specifically for attracting visitors to the area.
“Over the years, we’ve seen a huge change in how we can most effectively attract tourists, visitors and future residents to our beautiful corner of the Lowcountry,” Williams said. “Our plan moving forward is to do an even better job, using multiple strategies to target our markets and better track our work.”
Under the new reorganization and bylaws adopted by the chamber, Bob Moquin, the first Division Executive of the Tourism, Travel, and Convention Division, is responsible for the creation of the marketing plans for northern Beaufort County as well as the budget creation and implementation. He serves alongside Williams as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Chamber’s Finance and Audit Committee.

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